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In a Stalker’s Sights…unless they can stop him.

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He’s already lost one woman he loved…he’s not about to lose another.

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Mary Burton | The Setting As A Character

The Seventh Victim
Mary Burton




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Texas Rangers #1

February 2013
On Sale: January 29, 2013
Featuring: James Beck; Lara Church
416 pages
ISBN: 1420125052
EAN: 9781420125054
Kindle: B009AY43IW
Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Mary Burton:
The House Beyond the Dunes, September 2023
The Shark, July 2023
The Lies I Told, August 2022
I'll Never Let You Go, February 2022


I've often said that a story's setting is a character unto itself. When I first imagined my latest romantic suspense series for Kensington, I put a great deal of thought into setting. My first six romantic suspense novels were set in Virginia and I loved working in details about my native state. But with this news series I wanted to venture farther afield. I researched all regions of the country and found so many great areas. Boston tempted. Seattle beckoned. San Francisco held great interest.

But in the end I settled on Austin, Texas. Not only did I like the weather extremes, but I loved the location. Austin has so much to offer with a university, diverse neighborhoods, and a thriving arts community all in the heart of Texas. Toss in the fact that Austin is home to the headquarters of the Department of Safety's Texas Rangers ...and well I knew I had my new location.

THE SEVENTH VICTIM follows heroine Lara Church, a photographer who specializes in glass plate photography, a technique that originated over 150 years ago. Lara is the lone survivor of the Seattle Strangler. She's spent the last seven years running from her fears but now she's returned to her hometown of Austin to rebuild her life. What she doesn't realize is that her attacker is now killing again and knows she's in Austin.  Enter Texas Ranger James Beck who is on the trail of this killer, known for strangling his victims, dressing them in white and leaving them in the open to be found.

On a recent trip to Texas I had the chance to visit many of the settings in THE SEVENTH VICTIM. I not only drove down I-35 to visit my ‘murder scene' but also visited Congress Avenue, the University of Texas and the Hyde Park neighborhood. I thought I'd share some of the pictures I took with you and perhaps you can imagine Lara and Beck there.

i-35 1: Along I-35 heading north into Austin. hyde park 2: The Hyde Park neighborhood. food
trucks 3. Food trucks on Congress Avenue.




15 comments posted.

Re: Mary Burton | The Setting As A Character

Setting is an extra character in a book. Great cover!
(Kathy Sullivan 11:26am December 30, 2012)

Of course the setting is a character - and influences the character of the book! How much time do people spend indoors or outdoors? What influences them... weather, bears in the woods, city muggers? Are they steeped in history or covering vast distances? Read Nevada Barr's books about a National Parks Ranger in various parks to see the difference it makes.
(Clare O'Beara 11:45am December 30, 2012)

Setting creates a character as well as the outside forces that influence them. Thanks for the pics and exploring TX.
(Carla Carlson 4:19pm December 30, 2012)

Oh yes - the setting is SO important - that can make or break the story!
(Felicia Ciaudelli 7:28pm December 30, 2012)

I can see why you chose Austin for your setting. The book sounds so exciting, and I can't wait to read it!! It's just the perfect book to curl up with this Winter, with a good cup of hot chocolate, and find out how the story unfolds!! It was also exciting to find out the background on the story!! Have a very Happy and Healthy New Year!!
(Peggy Roberson 8:42pm December 30, 2012)

Thank you all for your comments!
(Mary Burton 9:38pm December 30, 2012)

I never considered the setting as a character, but after reading your comments, I absolutely agree. Thank you for your insight.
(Robin McKay 7:59am December 31, 2012)

Austin in a lovely city----sure wish I was there now instead of in cold Minnesota.
(Sue Farrell 10:42am December 31, 2012)

I think setting as character is why so many writers invent their own
town/area and set a series in it. And we all love them. :)
(Penny Mettert 4:44pm December 31, 2012)

I have never been to Austin, Texas and through the book, I will learn about the city. I love the title of the book.
(Kai Wong 7:51pm December 31, 2012)

setting to me creates the atmosphere and the characters in the novel
(Danielle McDonald 8:24pm December 31, 2012)

My sister lived in Austin for 20+ years... I'll have to buy this book for her so she can read about all the places she's been to.
(Donna Holmberg 10:34pm December 31, 2012)

The content written in too are great. Informative and the data is accurate. Very helpful. I am inspired by your hard work and obviously this blog is perfect. Thanks!! I'm wearing my funny geek t-shirts, just saying.
(Jazon Tare 10:51pm January 7, 2013)

I've read books written with the setting in St. Louis, and you can definitely
tell if the author has ever lived here. I hate to read one where you can tell
they don't.
(Susan Falkler 12:01pm January 9, 2013)

I agree that the setting is a character with dimensions and personality. It gives a mantle on which action takes place and offers a landscape for escape or for chase scenes.
(Alyson Widen 2:08pm January 24, 2013)

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