Book Critique - Shiver (New Orleans # 3)

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.

Shiver is the third book in the New Orleans series with Detectives Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya by Lisa Jackson published in March of 2007. The plot for this book is set a few years after the second book Cold Blooded (My review of the book is here) is set.

Detective Reuben Montoya is called to a case involving a pair in what looks like a murder-homicide. Pretty soon he is pulled into similar cases all pointing to another serial killer who is making New Orleans his hunting ground again, this time he is killing in pairs. Abby Chastain, the ex-wife of one of the victims gets into Detective Montoya’s sights first as a suspect and later as a person of interest, in more ways than he would like to. But all Abby is looking to do is try to come to reason with her past so she can move on. However, Montoya is convinced that Abby is the key to unlock the secrets behind why these murders are being done, about what happened two decades ago in Our Lady of Virtues Asylum. As Montoya and Abby race the clock pursuing the killer, trying to solve, they come into cross-hairs of the killer’s eyes. Danger lurking on their backs, romance blossoming between them, past trying to forge forward in vengeance and present willing to sacrifice them to hide the past, Abby and Montoya continue to travel through the rest of the plot Lisa Jackson weaves. A plot that leaves a shiver in your back.

While Lisa Jackson was closing the plot for her second book Cold Blooded, she leaves an unsolved case - Detective Montaya's girlfriend Marta Vasquez goes. I was hoping that Lisa would spin a tale for Detective Montoya involving either rescuing of Marta or investigating her murder. Instead she pairs him with a totally new person and mentions about Marta’s case as a flashback in Montoya’s thoughts. I always wonder why authors change their course or characters or line of thought. This is another example that makes me wonder the same – why she didn’t write as expected or hoped by reader.

For most part of the plot the case is handled by Detective Montoya along with another detective while Detective Rick Bentz is vacationing with his wife Olivia Bentz. We don’t see Rick Bentz until half the book is finished. This shift in the plot allows Lisa Jackson to portray the dynamics of the police and how they handle situations where they are not paired with their regular partners. Even though they may not tolerate their new partner, in the end for the greater good they stick it out and work on the case. Gives a whole new respect to these boys in blue.

If we put aside the romance and comradeship of the detectives, the entire plot is very sinister being driven by the psychopath who has his beliefs twisted. Lisa portrays the antagonist as powerful as the protagonists and equally intelligent. So it takes everything the detectives have within them to outsmart him. Swinging between past and present, traversing around moral and religious beliefs, Lisa Jackson pens a chiller that will leave the reader with shivers and shudders.

As always the language is impeccable, description of the scenes and sceneries are spot on. 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. Just as her previous books, Lisa leaves another door open for the next book to pick it up – the antagonist claiming that “Tonight is just the beginning….”. Adds intrigue as to who else would be more psychopathic than this one and how much more havoc will he reek on New Orleans.

b. Another segue the author leaves is a possibility of a step-sibling for Abby and Zoey Chastain as a result of their mother, Faith Chastain’s, abuse while she had resided at the Our Lady of Virtues Mental Hospital.

2) Interesting to see that the author had Abby Chastain use a film roll for her camera even though she has a digital camera. If my memory serves right, the onset of a slew of digital cameras was high during the year this book was printed.

3) A crack about Donald Trump is written by the author Lisa in the book.

4) Sub – Plots:

a. In Hot Blooded, 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?

b. Although the case is closed, author Lisa Jackson leaves a big door open with regards to Father John’s character from Hot Blooded. 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.

c. Norm Stowell – an FBI profiler – and Andre Navarrone – ex-cop at Houston PD - appear briefly in Hot Blooded. 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. What will the fate of Sarah Restin and her no-good husband Leo Restin be? These characters appeared in Cold Blooded.

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

f. Jennifer Bentz - Rick's ex-wife - has been murdered. Her character background is shown in both the first book Hot Blooded and second book Cold Blooded. But there is enough left off to make me feel that Lisa Jackson would bring her back in some book in future.

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