Cherokee Point in Tennessee has seen murder before, but nothing quite as gruesome as that which has claimed the life of playboy Jamie Upton. Indeed so much hatred for Jamie appears to have been involved in this murder, that the authorities are sure it must have been someone he knew who has killed him.
Jazzy Talbot, Jamie's former girlfriend, finds to her surprise that she is the number one suspect in the hunt for the killer. She knows she didn't kill Jamie but it doesn't help that she has publicly stated she would kill him prior to his death.
Jazzy finds herself running scared as she discovers that she is being stalked and fears for her life as the killer meanwhile strikes again and again, all with the same chilling signature. Yet Jazzy remains a suspect and with no one to believe her innocence except the enigmatic drifter Caleb McCord, she finds herself becoming involved in the town's secrets, buried long ago. As Jazzy makes a few discoveries, her life appears to be in imminent danger as there is a killer on the loose who has Jazzy on their list and who is determined to make her beg to die.
I had never read anything by Beverly Barton prior to being given this book to read from a friend, but Barton is the author of a number of novels and appearently some of the characters feature repeatedly in her books. I was informed however, that you do not need to read her books in a particular order for them to make sense and having read 'Beg To Die' I can confirm that I did not feel confused at all by the storyline or characters, nor feel that I should have read a previous book first. Indeed I found reading this book was like reading a 'stand alone' novel in my opinion. Beg To Die I found is a decent thriller, the story flowed well and I didn't have to think too much about what was happening.
From the start however, I found I couldn't take to the character of Jazzy very much. She is portrayed as this ultimate sex goddess who is beautiful and headstrong as well as being a successful business woman owning both a local restaurant 'Jasmine's' and a nightclub 'Jazzy's Joint' the name of which I thought was a bit naff. Jazzy has done well for herself with a lot of hard work as she hasn't came from a privileged background like her former boyfriend, Jamie Upton, but despite this, I found the emphasis on how stunning she is to be a little too much. She is portrayed as a woman no man can resist and it did become tiresome. She has one or two good qualities, but overall I found it difficult to warm to her character. I found I had little sympathy for her over her involvement with Jamie Upton when maybe I should have done. I did find however I understood her a little more as their past was revealed.
As already mentioned, I found this an easy book to read and it has a certain appeal which is down to the writing style and how the suspense builds, which leaves you dying to find out who the killer is. Indeed it is this which kept me turning the pages and holding my interest. I found I could look past the irritation of Jazzy's character and enjoy the other characters such as that of the killer, even though I had no idea who it was and other supporting characters such as Genny the psychic. The killer in particular is an excellent character and Barton has created great mystery and suspense here in developing this character. I found I was suspecting various other characters in the book of being the killer and was kept guessing until near the end which is just how I like a good thriller to be.
The parts written from the killer's point of view are amongst the best parts of this book in my opinion and quite chilling in places. The gruesome acts of murder are described in detail and are not for the faint hearted, but the hatred behind the killings meant that really they couldn't be any other way.
What spoiled it a little for me and actually made me laugh, was that on a couple of occasions I thought I was actually reading a Mills & Boon novel instead of a gruesome thriller! Indeed the parts featuring Jazzy and Caleb who you just know are going to get it together from the off, were often cringeworthy I felt. For example, lines such as "he moved with sleek pantherlike grace as he came toward her " actually made me laugh. It just didn't seem to sit right in a novel such as this in my opinion. Others may disagree of course, but it is something that I felt increasingly irritated about as the story went on. By the time I got to "he took her mouth with gentle authority" I'd had enough and rushed through these parts to get back to the suspense of what the killer will do next and when their identity will be revealed and how it was all going to end.
It may sound as if I didn't enjoy 'Beg To Die' very much, but actually I did enjoy it and found I could look past the annoying parts as the rest more than made up for it. It kept me guessing until the end and the actual story had plenty of suspense and a few twists which I enjoyed. If you like your murders gruesome and your romance Mills & Boon style, then this is the perfect book for you. Personally I could have done without the over-emphasis on how stunning Jazzy is and the panther-like grace of Caleb and then maybe their characters would have had more appeal to me, but as the actual plot was so good, I can overlook this somewhat and still give this book a 4 out of 5.