Burgess Varley is a detective. A good one. He’s also uptight, entirely too neat and fixed in his ways, and downright grumpy. Early one dreary morning, he’s called to the scene where a woman’s body is found. She’s naked, and the killer has left a little something in her mouth…something that is a huge issue for Burgess…something he fears more than anything.
Shaw Peters is Burgess’ partner. He’s in love with Burgess and has been for a long time, and he absolutely will not back down, even if Burgess claims he can’t be what Shaw needs. He’s the yin to Burgess’ yang…irreverent, sloppy, and always ready with a laugh. Shaw’s always been there for Burgess, and with this case, Burgess is going to need him more than ever.
This new case, and everything that goes along with it, is going to test Burgess and his relationship with his Shaw, his family, and his happy memories.
Oh my goodness guys! This was an incredible book! I love cop novels, especially ones with a well written mystery and some pretty gruesome murders. Empathy for a Killer fits this description to a T. Add a hardheaded hero trying his best to not be in love with the man who loves him back, and you have, in my opinion, the perfect book. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t want to leave Burgess and Shaw, even if it meant I only got two hours of sleep. So worth the exhaustion!
Let me start with Burgess. He’s one of the best cop/detective characters I’ve ever read. He’s tough as nails, but that only his public persona. He’s really a scared boy who never recovered from losing his father and is afraid anyone he loves will leave him. This is why he’s afraid to admit he’s just as in love with Shaw as Shaw is with him. It was (excuse me if this sounds like purple prose) sublime agony watching what Burgess had to go through in Empathy for a Killer. He feels every emotion deeply, from fear, to anger, to love, to bitterness. I loved him through it all, and wanted to reach through the Kindle to just hold and comfort him.
Shaw made me smile. Perpetually rumpled and late, he is looking to get any sort of attention from Burgess. The two men had given into passion once, and Burgess backed away and tried to pretend it didn’t happen, so Shaw wanted to torture him a bit. Still, he had a deep love for his partner and was willing to wait for him. He was always there, providing support for Burgess, even if Burgess didn’t really realize it.
Burgess and Shaw have a fantastic chemistry. They work well together. They know each other’s styles and skills and compliment each other. On top of that, their sexual chemistry is off the charts. There was only one sex scene in this book, but oh what a scene it was. There was just enough detail to make it…graphic, but what really got me was the kissing. Oh, the kissing. They kissed for what felt like hours, and it was so hot. It was after this scene when Burgess admitted he couldn’t fight Shaw anymore, and he was head over heels, hopelessly in love with him. I loved this so much, I read the scene aloud to my husband. I can’t do that very often because this isn’t his particular cup of tea, but even he agreed Sarah Masters nailed the perfect balance of passion and pure love.
Normally, I’m not crazy about books with POVs that go back and forth, but I made an exception for this one. Chapters came from Burgess, Shaw, and the killer. I’m not kidding you here when I say this man is evil to the core, and absolutely insane. He was frightening to read, and I loved every single second of it. The story was compelling, and it was fascinating to read what made this murderer become the monster he was.
I have to stop here. I can’t tell you any more of the story. I wish I could because it is just so brilliant. I’ve never read anything like it. I will say I figured out the direction it was heading at about 46%, but I was in no way disappointed by that. Suffice to say, it’s quite the twist. The ending was completely satisfying, and when the story was over, I actually applauded (even though I wasn’t thrilled with having to leave Burgess and Shaw).
Empathy for a Killer was a pleasure to read. If you enjoy a good murder mystery with flawed but loving main characters full of passion for their jobs and each other, this is definitely for you. I’d give it a hundred stars if I could.