Lorie Hammonds has a past that she is not proud of her past. Ten years ago she was conviced by her then boyfriend to pose for Playboy and have a small role in a pornographic film. Lorie has done everything since then to remake her life, and forget her past, even if those people of the small town that she returned to will not. Lorie is extremely frighted when she receives a second letter that tells her that she may be next, may be dead by midnight. Lorie does not know why she has been contacted but she feels that the threats are real. She contacts the Powell Agency as she knows that the sheriff department will not believe her, as it is run by her high school sweetheart Mike Birkett, whose heart she broke by going to Hollywood to try to become an actor. But Lorie is forced to interact with Mike as the threat become very real, as another actor from the one film that Lorie made are murdered. With each new murder Lorie receives another letter and there is less and less people for the killer choose from, it is only a matter of time before they get around to Lorie.
.I was first attracted to this book because of the premise, I thought that it sounded interesting with a serial killer that became obsessed with the actors in the pornographic movie Midnight Masquerade and his quest to eliminate all those involved in the movie. However, I found as I read farther and farther into this book that the book became more about the relationship between Mike and Lorie than the mystery of the serial killer. I liked that at the beginning of the book there was a separation or two main couples that the book follows, one with Mike and Lorie and one with Maleah and Derek. This allowed Barton to explore the relationship with Mike and Laura but still keep the reader entertained with the hunt for the serial killer. But the book strays away from this format as you get closer to the end. This is where Barton lost me, I felt that this book became more about the relationships and not the hunt for the serial killer. Furthermore, due to the fact that Barton decides to focus more of the relationships, there were way too many sex scenes or sex references for me.
This is the first book that I have read by Barton and I thought that it was the first book in a series by her. However, as the book continues on, out of no where there was a back-story I feel like I missed. As this was the first book in this series, I felt like there was a book before this one that I had not read. This is mainly seen in the murder of one of the Powell agents that is looks like it is connected to a murder that had happened before. Then we get some additional back story about Griffin's past which may now be connected to these other two murders. Barton tried to do too much within this novel, too many sub plots, which distracts too much from the actual main plot and premise of the novel.
I did like that before the killer murdered his victim, the reader was able to get a glimpse into the victim's life now after the Midnight Masquerade. Many of the actors have changed and moved on with their life, while others have not, but this makes no difference to the killer. I also liked how with each of this episodes the reader was able to see how much of a chameleon that the killer was able to be.
I think that this book had great potential but it was not for me in the end. I felt that by the end of the book it was just dragging on and that Barton was trying to do too much and actually got away from the main plot/premise of the book to pursue relationship and other subplots. However, I think that individuals who like (or need) a the relationship story and romance in the mystery books they read I think that you may enjoy Barton.