2018 Critiques: Book Critique – Hot Blooded (New Orleans #1)

For all books in this series: Go here

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: Bone-chilling thriller with the touches of romance, lust and twisted minds - a perfect medley to enjoy the read despite the shivers it leaves in the reader's spine.

Hot Blooded is a 2001 crime thriller by Lisa Jackson and first in her New Orleans Series with Detectives Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya. A while ago I had read the second book in the series, Cold Blooded. (My review of that book here). I liked it enough to pick up the first book where it all began for Detectives Bentz and Montoya. Quite a few gaps or distant past on the characters were answered for me with this first book.

Detective Rick Bentz and Rueben Montaya are in the midst of a serial killer case when Bentz is handed a stalker case – someone threatening the life of New Orleans famous talk show host of Midnight Confessions – Dr. Samantha Leeds. Montoya is eager on making a name while Bentz is carrying a lot of baggage that he tries not to weigh him down. Despite the disparate backgrounds Bentz and Montoya quickly form a common bond that helps them in unraveling the clues in both the cases. But many may die at the hands of the killer who calls himself Father John before either Father John reaches his ultimate sacrifice or the Detective identify him. In the midst of all these Bentz tries to resolve his personal issues.

Sounds such a simple and basic plot. However author Lisa Jackson creates a tornado around Dr. Samantha Leeds and the Detectives in this intense thriller plot. Through the killer’s mind, author makes the reader suspect everyone as a potential killer just like the Detectives. She almost makes the killer lead those Detectives by hook to where he wants. Being my imagination vast, I could literally feel the killer right beside me while I was reading the book. Definite goosebumps you would get if you are reading this.

Relationships are strained, Personal demons are fought, Suspicions are raised and Everyone is a killer – a plot going in this direction will not only keep you hooked to it but also will make your heart race at the same speed as Dr. Samantha Leeds making you wonder if you are not the one who is next on the list of Father John. **Shudders** Giving such a feeling to reader speaks to the efficient writing manner of the author Lisa Jackson. Lisa’s characters are very strong and with lot of depth, even her villain. However some places I felt that she repeated a lot of context. Sometimes she made Dr. Samantha Leeds look a bit stupid. Other than that the whole plot is a chilling read.

Again author Lisa gives away the final motive of the killer early on, but she makes the road leading up to it very treacherous and filled with terror. A bone chilling thriller with a touch of romance, love and human emotions that a killer normally doesn’t understand. Not a read for faint hearts but for those brave ones who can read it while sitting in a corner in a darkened basement too. If you are one, I would say go for it.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Plot Reveals:

a. Jennifer Bentz - Rick's ex-wife – appears first in this book, but has more story about her in the second book Cold Blooded. I had assumed she would have more to tell in the first book, but I am afraid I was wrong. Her story perhaps is told in all ways the author could in Cold Blooded itself.

b. Dr. Samantha Leeds brother Peter Williams disappears from their lives more than ten years ago. Detectives couldn’t find anything about him either. Will Lisa Jackson bring him back in a future book?

c. Norm Stowell – an FBI profiler – and Andre Navarrone – ex-cop at Houston PD - appear briefly. However they left me with an impression that they might come back as major ones in a future book. Have to wait and see if Lisa would resurrect them.

d. Author Lisa also reveals another serial killer in New Orleans area for her Detectives to be kept busy. This is a clear segue to her plot in her next book Cold Blooded.

e. Although the case is closed, author Lisa Jackson leaves a big door open with regards to Father John’s character. Was he truly vanquished by the Detectives or will he re-appear in a future plot by Lisa is something we have to wait and see.

2) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character / Geographical Errors:

a. On pg. 241, author Lisa mentions a character – a street girl picked by the Father John – reminiscing that she had put those scratches on him. However, on pg. 335, author mentions another character, Sonja Tucker, who had scratched him while Father John was trying to drag her away. A clear error by the author.

3) Dr. Samantha Leeds while discussing the case with her beau and ex-cop Ty Wheeler, reminisces that it sounds right out of Peyton Place. I wondered what it was and sure enough it is a 1956 novel by Grace Metalious and has characters similar to what were revolving around Samantha. (More about the book here). The novel was made into a movie in 1957 (More about the movie here) And as a TV Series in the 60s. (More about the TV Series here). All three had the same title.

4) Sub – Plots:

a. In Cold Blooded, Detective Montaya's girlfriend Marta Vasquez goes missing and doesn’t get solved at the end of the plot. Perhaps it is for another book in the series.

b. What will the fate of Sarah Restin and her no-good husband Leo Restin be? These characters appeared in Cold Blooded.

c. Unanswered questions about Bernadette and Reggie from Cold Blooded also perhaps will be answered in a future book.

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