This is another one of those romantic suspense novels where the lead characters spend as much time thinking lustful thoughts about each other as they do hunting a serial killer. The culprits this time around are Sheriff Bernadette "Bernie" Granger and her new deputy Jim Norton, who was once a big-time football player. She had a big crush on him when she was a teenager, so she tries to keep her feelings in check whenever he's around. As for him, he's taken the job to be closer to his son, whose mother has spent a lot of energy on keeping the two apart. Although a lot of effort is spent on establishing that Bernie is a plain woman, Jim slowly develops feelings of attraction toward her (despite taking a couple of cracks at her sister first - what a guy!)
Oh yeah, and they're hunting a serial killer. He's called The Secret Admirer, as he first seduces his prey with innocent notes and gifts. Then he proceeds to send them kinky S&M sketches, before kidnapping, raping, torturing and murdering them. Quite a few women become victims, and the finger points at all the handsome, eligible bachelors in the town. I figured the killer the moment he was introduced. I kept thinking: "Oh come on, it really can't be that obvious! I'm not THAT clever!" Seriously, the killer's identity was meant to be a surprise?
"Close Enough To Kill" works fine on a trashy level. There's lots of sex, rape and death to keep you occupied, all delivered with a complete lack of class. The writer has a curiously blunt approach to her descriptions. My favourites were: "After raping her in the anus with a wooden phallus..." and "Damn, what a pair of tits!", the latter being Jim's internal response when he finally gets Bernie out of her bra. But to be fair, Barton generates at least a little suspense in the sequences where the women are being initially stalked - one woman's car breaks down, and another woman is nabbed despite having police protection.
Fairly indistinguishable from much of the genre's output, and I doubt romance readers are going to appreciate Barton's unimaginative, crass descriptions of rape and murder.