Before the Dawn

Cynthia Eden
Before the Dawn
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HQN Books
Release Date
July 2017
Book 2 of Killer Instinct
Romantic Suspense/Mystery

The Killer Instinct series from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden continues as an FBI profiler tracks a case that resurrects ghosts from his past

Ex-SEAL Tucker Frost knows that the world is full of evil. He saw it in the face of his own brother, Jason Frost, a cold, methodical, sadistic killer. A killer Tucker put down with his own hands in order to save Jason's final victim—Dawn Alexander, the only girl who got away from the infamous "Iceman."

It's Tucker's up close and personal experience with evil that's made him perfect for Samantha Dark's experimental profiling division in the FBI. And when women start turning up murdered with the same MO used by the Iceman, Tucker is sent back to Louisiana to investigate.

Ten full years have passed since the night that Tucker faced down his brother…and since he last saw Dawn, his one-time lover. But as Tucker and Dawn grapple with a desire that never died, they must also face the shared shadow from their pasts. Both have the same question—has Jason Frost come back from the dead to hunt again? And this time, will he succeed in killing the victim who got away?

Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Jul 30, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
146 people found the following review helpful
BEFORE THE DAWN is just as riveting as the first book in the series, After the Dark. We first see Tucker Frost in the first book and when I saw that he has his own book here, I just had to pick it up. The Killer Instinct series is about agents who are up close and personal with the villains, in this case, it's Tucker's brother who's the villain--well, someone who's using his MO anyway. This raises the stakes for our MC's and ups the suspense factor for us readers, too. And I like that its concept is a bit different from other suspense books, thus freshening up a tired genre.

I love Tucker, especially the way he took care of Dawn (it just dawned [pun intended] on me regarding the title) and loved her. It just...hit me where it counted. Dawn for me is a strong heroine who's a good match for Tucker. Their romantic development was believable and angsty (love it!) and their chemistry sizzling.

The plot has lots of twists and turns, making for a compelling read. I love it when authors make me go "oh!" and my mind blanks out for a moment at the revelation of the twist. The pace was just right, as is the mix of romance and suspense.
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Book Review by BookAddict (reviewer)
Aug 28, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
136 people found the following review helpful
Originally posted at Reading Alley:

This is the second book in the series. Full disclosure, I read this book out of order. This book can be read as a standalone. I have read Ms. Eden's books before. Mostly, I tried her paranormal romance and enjoyed it. I tried her contemporary years ago and it fell flat. Not sure what to expect, I picked this book up. I am so glad I did. The growth in Ms. Eden's writing voice and plot development is impressive. From the very first page of this story, I'm hooked in.

This is a page turner as we learn about a Tucker Frost and his past. Tucker's intimate experience with a serial killer drives him in both his personal and work life. They say there are life changing events in a person's life who defines them. Tucker is lucky enough to have many; unfortunately most were horrifically abusive. Tucker is a complex character with questionable motivations when viewed from an outside perspective. When he is reunited with the one woman he loves, Dawn, it is due to a past he seems not to be able to escape. The chemistry between the two characters is unstable for me. This is because Tucker is a trigger for Dawn in several ways. Yet Dawn loves Tucker and wants to be able to reconnect with him. This conflict is poignant and depressing. I personally do not see how to overcome the trauma. The two of them still try.

There are several twists and turns in this story which make it more interesting. Ms. Eden does a nice job at dropping hints which allowed me to figure out the villain and how he ties into Tucker and Dawn well before the big reveal. This sad history filled with heavy baggage is turned around and gives Tucker and Dawn a second chance. This romantic suspense is recommended to romance lovers who love their happily ever afters.
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Book Review by Pip (reviewer)
Sep 08, 2017
126 people found the following review helpful
‘Before the Dawn' is a bit more predictable than Cynthia Eden's first book in her Killer Instinct series, with a copycat serial killer (with a specific MO) that is typically a trusted ally. But it's also a second-chance story, where a couple separates for more traumatic reasons than usual—in this case, where neither really didn't seem to be in a good place to be together—only to be brought back together when a copycat killer emerges.

Romantic suspense—of the thriller kind—and I have a certain relationship: the story unravels as the clues go out while I do the guessing whodunnit game. It's always fun and entertaining and the stranger and more shocking the twists, the more memorable it is for me. Despite this, the predictability factor, or at least how far into the book I get before guessing who the perpetrator really is, isn't the only criterion for my rating and/or review of the book. In this case, I had my suspicions but Eden does throw out red herrings that do cause you to doubt your own conclusions.

What frustrated me however, was the push-pull that always comes when both Dawn and Tucker try to rationalise their own feelings away from each other and that sex came rather inconveniently before several truths were brought to light. Such delay tactics simply added to the layer of unrevealed secrets that tainted the relationship before when all they had to do was to sit down and put things out in the open before letting more bodily needs come into play.

‘Before the Dawn' is an absorbing read nonetheless, even if Eden's heroes and heroines in all her series do inevitably meld together, bound by the similarities in their tortured backgrounds and hidden pasts. And this probably makes this book less of a standout than it really is because it's not easy to differentiate between her plots and characters after a while. I'd love to continue this series however, as much as I'd love to have Eden's protagonists who are somehow more memorably unique in their own ways.
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