Book Critique - Never Die Alone (New Orleans # 8)
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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.
Never Die Alone is the eighth book in the New Orleans series by Lisa Jackson with Detectives Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya published in August of 2015. The plot is set immediately after the events that occur in the previous book, Devious.
After going through a lot of hard work, Detectives Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya, although apprehend the killer of the novice nuns, they fail to get any closer to Father John, the one person who had been eluding them since the events in the first book, Hot Blooded. And now Brianna Hayward wants to prove that her cousin was wrongly convicted of a crime he hadn't committed, a case that Rick Bentz had left 12 years ago in Los Angeles and moved to New Orleans, a case that had haunted him ever since. Was Brianna true? What of Father John? With twisted and mind-numbing killings, Bentz and Montoya are once again on the trail of a serial killer, trying to capture him once and for all.
Remember, in my review of Malice, I had voiced that one of the sub-plots that was following along in the story had ended abruptly and how I thought it could have been more than that and carry on to another book. Guess what, Lisa has indeed carried it into this book. I was right, that sub-plot needed a different closure than projected then. I am guessing Lisa felt the same too and brought it back here to have a proper ending to it.
After reading the previous book, I was expecting Lisa to have had written the next one the following year. However, looks like she doesn’t write it until four years later. I wonder why.
She has references to Hurricane Katrina which happened in 2005 still continuing in this book. But no references to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident. I remember her mentioning in one of the previous books that she wanted to wait it out and see what the outcome would be. Perhaps she is still waiting for its after effects to conclude, sadly they aren't ending yet.
I have seen quite a few authors mentioning their female characters enjoying a mint julep under a shady tree or in a canopy or on a porch. Why does an author always pick up mint julep as the go to drink for the female characters while a beer for the male characters? That bugged me always, although I never had a mint julep. May be I should try it to understand the reasoning behind.
She has multiple sub-plots going along-side her main plot just like her previous books, and she keeps the reader on track efficiently. She marvels at exposing the human psychology, how something ticks a person, how one is so focused on one track that they don’t see anything else, and how in their psycho brain they cause harm to others. Every time I read her books, my hairs rise along my arms and neck, creating shivers up my spine.
I assumed that this was the last book in the series. However it doesn’t seem so. She again left one sub-plot open-ended with a notion that it will return soon with a vengeance. However, in 4 years Lisa hasn’t written a Rick Bentz / Rueben Montoya novel. Will she be springing one more in the series for the readers?
Eagerly waiting for the next in the series, 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. In Devious we had seen that one of the heroines, Valerie Houston and her husband Slade Houston were from a town called Bad Luck in Texas. Well, in this plot again we see that Brianna Hayward had been raised in Bad Luck, Texas. Do the Houstons and Haywards have a connection somewhere? I wonder if Lisa will have this exploited further if she ever continues this series.
b. 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 again in the seventh book Devious and now in this plot as well, making a comeback after 10 years when the first plot was set. Yet Lisa doesn’t close his case in this book.
c. Jason "Jase" Bridges, the lead hero of this book, had a love affair with Arianna Hayward, Brianna's twin, when they were young adults. But Arianna was raped by a friend of Jase's father, and although Jase had rescued her, and beaten that person, in the plot Lisa never gives a closure to that assailant. Where is that assailant?
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.
e. In Devious we had seen that Montoya's brother Cruz was the high school sweet heart to Lucia Costa aka Sister Lucy, the primary witness of the case in that plot. And at the end of the book, Lucia runs away with Cruz's bike. Now in this plot, we see that Cruz is also AWOL going after Lucia to find her. Another sub-plot I wonder if Lisa will elaborate further.
3) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character / Geographical Errors:
a. At the end of Devious, the previous book, we see that in the epilogue, Father John kills the antagonist, Sister Devota, in prison. But he does that five months after her arrest. So when this book opened, you expect the plot to move five months ahead. Yet it seems that the plot starts immediately after the events of Devious. Clearly seen from the fact that Rick and Olivia Bentz's daughter is still eight months old, just like in Devious.
b. On Pg. 115, Line 1, shouldn’t it be "…for the creep to appear…"?