Book Critique - Malice (New Orleans # 6)

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.

Malice is the sixth book in the New Orleans series by Lisa Jackson with Detectives Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya published in January of 2009. This plot is set three months after the events in Lost Souls and the author brings back her focus on Rick Bentz with Rueben Montoya at his side, who aids him at every step.

At the end of Lost Souls, Detective Rick Bentz is hit by lightning and injured, leaving him in a coma for two weeks from which he awakens with his own visions coming to life, especially around Jennifer Bentz, Rick's ex-wife, being alive, at least in the form of spirit. The current story in Malice picks up three months after this incident. 

Detective Rick Bentz keep seeing visions of Jennifer while he is recuperating from his accident, despite the fact that she was killed in an accident twelve years ago. And now he goes back to Los Angeles, where he had lost his ex-wife, his career and to the unsolved cases. Now once for all Rick is bent on solving two and redeeming one. But, will it come at the ultimate cost for him?

We have been seeing bits and pieces about Jennifer Bentz and how she had impacted the lives of Rick and Kristi from the very first book, Hot Blooded, mostly giving the negative side of her role to the readers. Now finally Lisa brings her character to a closure with this plot, and also answering a lot of questions raised along in the series.

The book still references Hurricane Katrina and the events surrounding it, considering that the story is set just three months after the previous book. As before, we see references to Alfred Hitchcock movies and other thrillers. 

Lisa has set her series in New Orleans, obviously the name says it all. I had read all of Heather Graham books in her Krewe of Hunter series and many of her books in that series are set in New Orleans as well. So I find that I am visiting the same places in Lisa's books that I already had seen through Heather's lines. Although both authors have different view point. 

Normally it is hard to guess who the antagonist(s) is/are in Lisa's plots. However, in this plot, I figured out who might that be, or at least possible suspects, around the end of Chapter 13. Yet, I couldn't zero in on "the one" until Lisa reveals it in the climax. 

She has multiple sub-plots going along-side her main plot just like her previous books, and she keeps the readers on track efficiently. However, for one of the sub-plot I felt the closure was rather quick. The way it dragged through the book I thought it might become a main plot for another book. A little disappointment there, but again as always the language is impeccable, description of the scenes and scenarios are spot on.

Lisa takes the reader into the life of Rick Bentz, his past and the reasons he had left LA in the first place. She has neatly tied up together towards the end, all of the different inconsequential details that she had thrown at the readers all along in the series, except for one piece - how did the antagonist manage to be there at the exact same time as Rick woke up from his coma in Lost Souls. That I couldn’t follow. 

I must say though that this book kept me on edge, so much so that I finished it in a short span of time than my other books that normally I do. I couldn’t keep it down, and was literally figuring out the next scenes in my dreams.

Another 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. Kristi Bentz, Rick's daughter, is planning for her wedding, with her fiancée Jay McKnight.

b. Olivia Bentz is pregnant as of this plot. 

c. Seems to be that Lisa's characters after going through horrendous experiences and wake up from their coma or hospital stay, they come out with a psychic powers or enhanced psychic abilities. In this lot, Olivia Bentz wakes up to find a spirit hovering over her, although she doesn’t know who it was. 

2) 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 in 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. He appears briefly, mostly as a reference, in the book Lost Souls. Still waiting for him to crop up any time. 

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, whom we met in Cold Blooded?

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

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

a. On Pg. 185, Line 8, it should be "…look-alike do not make a case…"


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