Book Critique - Devious (New Orleans # 7)
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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.
Devious is the seventh book in the New Orleans series by Lisa Jackson with Detectives Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya published in April of 2011. This time around the author sets her plot revealing shades of Montoya's past, in essential centering around him, even though Bentz and Montoya are working on solving a string of murders.
It is a routine call about an accident for Detectives Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya, only this time, the victim, Camille Renard, happens to be someone Montoya knew in the past. And suddenly everyone around him, and all the suspects somehow are connected to his past life. To top it a string of murders are happening that Montoya needs to investigate and keep his head in the game, despite the past. Question is, will he or will he not?
The plot is set approx a year and half after the events in Malice. However, Lisa Jackson has several references to plots from books in distant past in the series thus continuing the story-lines. And some characters from those books, along with the families of the lead detectives, also surface in here - Dr. Samantha Leeds Wheeler, a late-night radio psychologist whom we met in the very first book Hot Blooded - which made me wonder if the antagonist(s) will also return.
The book still references Hurricane Katrina and the events surrounding it, even though this plot is set a good many years after that. Guess such disasters leave a long road of aftermath.
The story-line takes the readers into the dark undergrounds of the secrets in a church and parishes, the scandals that they are frequently plagued, and no matter how devout one wants to be, how their human soul and mind are tempted and faces the consequences in the end. I felt this plot a shade darker than the other books Lisa had based around the churches and the orphanages and hospitals tied to them. Yet there lied a subtle thread of fear woven through raising the readers' hairs.
She has multiple sub-plots going along-side her main plot just like her previous books, and she keeps the reader on track efficiently. However, she still carries on her one sub-plot that had been going since her first book. I was so thrilled for that sub-plot to continue only to be disappointed that it wasn’t completed. Oh well, more meat for more books in future I suppose. And a smart way to keep the readers hook to her books.
One thing irritated me, which always bugs me time and again in many books I have read, when the heroines go off on their own to face the killer(s), even though they would have help close-by or they could just wait a few seconds. But oh no, they have to go and be smack in the middle of the killer's web. Why oh! why, you authors make the heroines so foolish!
Contrast to her previous books though, Lisa has a lot of repeat paraphrasing going on in this book. Those that were being told by different person's view point, I was good. But one person repeating the same again and again was redundant.
Despite that one small disappointment, Lisa has given us 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.
1) Plot Reveals:
a. We get to see more of Rueben Montoya's family - his 3-month old son Benjamin, his brother Cruz connected to the suspects. Cruz and Lucia Costa had been high school sweethearts before a tragedy separated them. Now that they meet again, I was hoping Lisa would give them a love story. But Lucia runs in the opposite direction. Will we see more around that in the next book?
b. Lisa Jackson has one of the character - Slade Houston, residing in Bad Luck, TX. I thought it was a joke on the character by the author. However, there is a place in Texas that is called Bad Luck Creek, after some unfortunate incidents that happened there. Interesting.
c. Rick and Olivia Bentz have an eight month old baby girl, Ginny.
d. Kristi Bentz, Rick's daughter from his first marriage, is married to Jay McKnight, whom we met in Lost Souls.
e. Father John's character had appeared in the very first book in the series, Hot Blooded. Lisa had given an open ending to the character letting readers know that he would come back soon. He appears briefly, mostly as a reference, in the fifth book Lost Souls. And we see him in action now in this plot, making a comeback after 10 years when the first plot was set. Yet Lisa doesn’t close his case in this book. Perhaps the next book she might.
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. 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.
c. What will the fate of Sarah Restin and her no-good husband Leo Restin be? These characters appeared in Cold Blooded.
d. 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. 293, Lisa while outlining the scene of the second murder, mentions that the victim was covered with altar cloth just like the first victim. However, on Pg. 301, while having Detective Montoya compare the scenes, she has the altar cloth only on the first victim but not on the second.
b. On Pg. 361, Lisa has Dr. Sam, the radio psychologist, as Dr. Samantha Leeds Wheeler. However On Pg. 32, she is named Dr. Samantha Walker and On Pg. 479 she is again named as Dr. Samantha Leeds Walker. When in fact, Dr. Samantha Leeds marries Ty Wheeler after the first book, Hot Blooded concludes.