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To Die For is an American novel by Linda Howard. It was published in 2004 by Random House Publishing. It made the New York York Times Best Seller list. It is the first book in the Blair Mallory Series, followed by Drop Dead Gorgeous.[1]

To Die For
Author Linda Howard
Country United States
Language English
Series Blair Mallory Series
Genre Romance/Suspense
Publisher Random House Publishing
Publication date
December 28, 2004
Media type Print (hardcover, paperback)
Pages 384
Followed by Drop Dead Goregous


Plot Summary[edit]

Blair Mallory is the owner of a fitness center named Great Bods. She got the money to open the fitness club from the divorce of her first husband Jason Carson. Blair caught Jason kissing her younger and underage sister Jenni at a family get together. Blair knew he wanted to run for congressman, so for the ultimate revenge she snapped a picture of the two kissing. Jason, knowing the picture would ruin him, paid her a bundle in the divorce. She then used it to buy aMercedes convertible and Great Bods. She wanted to own a gym because she had been a cheerleader all her life and was very good at being in shape. However she begins to notice that one of her members,Nicole, has been copying everything she has done. She begins to wear her hair like Blair, dressing like Blair, and even buys the same style car as Blair. Blair isn't he only one who has a problem with Nicole almost all the women in the gym do not like Nicole, as she hogs the machines, is mean to other members, and openly flirts with the married men in the gym. After many complaints Blair sits her down and tells her that her membership will no longer be renewed for another year. Nicole becomes furious and threatens to sue Blair. Blair is always the last one to leave the gym so as she is about to walk out the door to her car she notices Nicole waiting for her in the parking lot. Blair becomes scared and makes a run for the car, but has her phone ready to dial 911. She heard a gun shot and instinctively hits the ground, dropping her cellphone underneath the car so that Blair is unable to call for help. She tries to stay quiet incase Nicole realizes that she didn't hit Blair, but after awhile thinks maybe Nicole left and makes a run for the door to the gym. She makes into the gym safely where she goes to her office and dials 911. The police arrive and Blair tells the officers the story, where they inform her that Nicole didn't kill her because Nicole was murdered. Blair realizing that they probably consider her suspect number one tells them to perform a gun powder test. She is cleared as a suspect, and begins to relax until she hears the voice of her ex, Wyatt Bloodsworth. He is a police lieutenant and came after hearing the case over the radio. Blair is immediately brought back to the memories of the three dates they went on two years ago. Everything had been going good until on their third date he acted very uninterested and never called her again. She is still mad about this and upon seeing him pretends to not recognize him. This angers him and Blair gets pleasure in this. He begins to question Blair and lets her know she is no longer a suspect. Blair is relieved and wants to call her mother to let her know what had happened. He won't let her and also tells her she is not allowed to go anywhere. She gets mad and begins to become sarcastic to him. This makes Wyatt mad and eventually leads to Blair being dragged into the police station. She is dragged to his office where she gets a pen and paper and begins to make a list of his indiscretions. Blair sits in his chair also to make him mad. When he comes in seeing she is in his chair gets mad and makes her move. They wrestle around for a second, but he eventually gets the chair. He then begins to flirt with her and talk about "us", which Blair points out that there was no "us." Wyatt realizes she is still upset over the past and offers an explanation. Blair says she in uninterested and asks to be taken home. Wyatt takes her home and Blair realizes that she wants to go the beach. She decides to go in the morning. When she wakes up she calls Wyatt about her car because they wouldn't let her move it from the crime scene and he lets her know it may be awhile. Blair not letting that effect her beach plans decides to rent a car. She rents a truck and drives to the beach. She rents a condo and spends the first day relaxing on the beach and avoiding her cellphone knowing that Wyatt probably called furious she left. The second day she does the same thing and falls asleep on the beach. She wakes up to someone carrying her. Blair begins to freak out until she realizes that it is Wyatt. He carries her back to her condo. She is very frustrated when he tells her that he found her by looking at her credit card transactions. He then kisses her and all her feelings for him come rushing back. She agrees that they can start over and try their relationship again. The next day they head home and Wyatt takes her back to her car which was still at the gym. As she is about to get in her car she feels a piercing pain in her arm and she falls to the ground she sees another car driving away. She realizes she has been shot. Wyatt calls the station and reports the crime and calls an ambulance. Blair is taken to the hospital where they tell her she is going to be okay it was just a flesh wound. Her family and Wyatt show up at the hospital. Wyatt and Blair's mom begin to fight over where she is going to stay. Wyatt eventually convinces them that Blair would be safer at his house. That night Blair goes to Wyatt's. The next morning he takes her to his mother's house since he doesn't want her to stay at his house alone while he is at work. She has a good time at her house, and goes back the next day as well. They figure out that a man named Dwyane Bailey is the killer behind Nicole's murder. They bring him into the station for questioning. He admits to the killing of Nicole but not the attacks on Blair. On the third day Blair convinces Wyatt to let her go home. She packs up her things and puts them in her car. Wyatt is behind her on his way to the precinct. She is approaching the traffic light, and when she tries to hit the breaks it goes all the way to the floor. She then realizes that her breaks don't work and is going full speed into the intersection. Wyatt behind her sees the whole thing and thinks she is dead. However Blair crawls out of the car pretty banged up, but okay. She begins to think that she is going to be arrested and worries if she injured the other driver. Wyatt comes over and tells her it's not her fault that her break line had been cut. She goes to the hospital where they tell her she's going to be okay just sore. After being released Blair and Wyatt go to her parents house as they had made plans earlier to go over there. They see her and are freaked out but then start pampering her to stop the bruises from looking so bad. Her and Wyatt go back to his house. Where he gets a call that Dwayne's alibi checks out for the times of her attacks. They begin to think of her who could be the killer. The next day Wyatt decides Blair will be safest at his house while he is gone at work. She spends the day lounging around and looking through his stuff till he gets home. She is pretty swore but expected to be. The next day she comes down stairs feeling better and Wyatt tosses her something. It is a small velvet box. She immediately knows what it is. He gets on one knee and asks him to marry her. She says yes. They begin to get ready because she is going to the precinct with Wyatt. She arrives and sits in his office for the day making a list of potential suspects. However he comes rushing in saying that all the decitves have been called out to a location but couldn't give any details. She is alone in Wyatt's office when she sees a familiar face Jason. She is immediately alarmed and begins talking to her. He then pulls out a gun and tells her to be quiet. She points out that he won't get away with it because he paced some police officers at the front desk. He then begins to get worried and tells her he will figure something out. Blair isn't that scared because she doesn't think he will able to actually go through with it. She decides to distract him by asking him why he is trying to kill her. Jason tells her because his new wife Debra was the one who shot at her that day in the parking lot. She came home and told him and he got worried that she would get caught and ruin his chance at being a congressmen. So he decided to kill her himself by cutting her break line. However since that didn't work he called in a fake report of the a crime being committed to get the police out of the station so he could kill Blair. Just then his wife Debra walks in because she followed Jason here. She is still convinced that they are having an affair until Blair tells her that Jason came here to kill her. Suprisingly this shows Debra that Jason really loves her and becomes happy. Blair decides that this is the perfect time to get the gun from Jason and she kicks it out of his hands. Just as Blair is kicking the gun out of Jason's hands the S.W.A.T team arrives arresting Jason and Debra. Jason and Debra are arrested and Blair and Wyatt begin to really be together for the first time.[3]


Blair Mallory is the main character. She owns a fitness club and is described as fit, blonde, popular, and pretty. She was married once before to Jason Carson an aspiring Congressmen. However once she caught him kissing her sister she divorced and got a big settlement opening a gym with it. However one of the members,Nicole, begins to have an obsession with her and begins to start dressing and looking like her. So once Nicole is found outside the gym dead Blair and the police begin to realize that Blair was the intended killer.

Wyatt Bloodsworth is a police lieutenant, and local hometown hero. He went to play in the NFL after college to get money for his family who had run through their "old money." Wyatt's football income enabled his mother to keep her house and put money aside for her other children's education. Upon saving a couple million, Wyatt returns home and pursues a career in law enforcement. He rose through the ranks fast and became police lietenant to the dismay of some of the other older officers. His mother set him up with Blair two years ago and after three dates he feared commitment and walked out on her. Upon hearing that there was a murder at her gym and the description sounding like Blair, Wyatt wonders if he made the wrong decision walking out on her.

Jason Carson is Blair's first husband. They met in college. He fooled around on Blair, and she eventually caught him kisisng her younger sister Jenni at a family get together. Once Blair takes the picture of him in the act he pays her off so that the picture won't affect his aspirations of being a congressmen one day. He eventually remarries a woman named Debra. However he often compares her to Blair which makes her angry, angry enough to take the oppotunity of Blair witnessing the murder to kill Blair for revenge. Debra tells Jason that she tried to kill Blair by shooting at her and he freaks out thinking this will ruin his future career as a congressmen so he decides to kill Blair himself.

Jenni Mallory is the younger sister of Blair. She had been jealous of Blair because Blair was so pretty and the cheerleader. She thought Blair had it all. So when Jason was coming on to her it made Jenni feel good that he was choosing her over Blair.

Nicole is the woman at the gym who begins to copy every move Blair does. She is hated by the women in the gym,but the men love her because she oftens flirts with them. She especially like married men and was seen hooking up with one in the men's bathroom. However her obsession with married men leads to her death. She is seeing a married man from the gym named Dwayne Bailey. She eventually threatens to tell Dwayne's wife all about their affair. He freaks out and kills her in the parking lot at Great Bods. The police eventually find out it is him and begin to think he is behind the attacks against Blair. However his alibi checks out and the police realize they are dealing with two separate crimes.

Dwayne Bailey is the married man that Nicole is seeing. They met at the gym. She eventually threatens to tell his wife about their affair, he freaks out and decides to kill her. He shoots her at Great Bods in the parking lot. He eventually becomes the suspect in the attacks on Blair as well. However his wife alibies him at the time of the attacks, and since she has no reason to lie for him he is cleared.

Debra Carson is Jason's new wife. She is jealous of Blair because she thinks that Blair and Jason are having an affair. Upon reading in the newspaper that Blair witnessed a murder she decides to kill Blair herself thinking that everyone will just assume it's the same person that killed Nicole.

Siena Mallory Blair's older sister. She is a lawyer. Her and Blair get a long very well and are alike in many ways.

Mrs. Bloodsworth is Wyatt's mom. She is a member of Great Bod's. She introduces Blair and Wyatt. Blair stays with her while Wyatt is aat work.

Critical Reception[edit]

Publishers Weekly says that Linda Howard "brings her usual high level of intelligence and flair to her latest tale of romantic suspense." However they did note that the plot by the middle begins "to stall" because the suspense dies for a few chapters and reading Blair and Wyatt's bickering get's old. One Amazon customer wrote in a review that "this novel has plenty of romance, but is overflowing with suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat."[4] One user on the website The Best Reviews wrote that although she liked the book she found the "first person writing to be redundant." However she does like the book and calls Howard's writing "classy."[5]


  1. ^ To Die For (Blair Mallory Series #1), Blair Mallory Series, Linda Howard, (9780345476258) Mass Market Paperback - Barnes & Noble." Barnes & Barnes & Web. 04 Feb. 2011. <>.
  2. ^ Howard, Linda. " To Die For: A Novel (9780345476258): Linda Howard: Books." Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & More. Web. 04 Feb. 2011.>
  3. ^ Howard, Linda. To Die For. Toranto: Random House, 2005. Print.
  4. ^ To Die For: A Novel (9780345476258): Linda Howard: Books." Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & More. Amazon. Web. 18 Feb. 2011. <>.
  5. ^ "The Best Reviews: Linda Howard, To Die For Review." The Best Reviews: Home. Writers Space. Web. 18 Feb. 2011. <>.