Book Critique - Chosen To Die (To Die #2)

Note: This would be the last book for 2019. More to come in 2020.

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

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

Chosen To Die is the second book in the To Die Series by Lisa Jackson, published in January of 2009. The plot is set immediately the day after where the first book, Left To Die, ends.

In Left To Die, we had seen two things. One that Detective Regan Pescoli had become the latest victim of the "Star-Crossed Killer" as dubbed by the press, and is missing. And Second that Lisa Jackson had not given closure to at least one of the antagonist she had introduced. So I had a feeling Lisa would focus her next plot on these two items. And that is exactly what Lisa had done.

Detective Regan Pescoli becomes the latest victim of the Star-Crossed Killer. She is kidnapped, bound and kept in a hidden place for the killer to deal out her fate when he was ready to. Nate Santana, Pescoli's on and off lover, and Detective Serena Avarez, Pescoli's partner, are running a race against time to find her and if possible the killer before the killer makes his decision. In the meanwhile more bodies are piling up, keeping the law enforcement busy and stretched thin.

Interestingly enough in the preface of the first book, Lisa had titled that passage as "Chosen To Die" revealing the title for her second book. That actually was a smart move by the author, since the plot flows from one book to the other seamlessly.

In Left To Die, I had my suspicions pn one particular character, Thomas Cohen, who had raised suspicions in Pescoli's mind as well, as the supposed Star-Crossed Killer. But a quarter into this book, I realized that it is not Thomas, but another person. Half-way into the book, I realized I was right. But when the actual killer was revealed, I was flummoxed at the complexity of the character and who that person turned out to be.

Lisa gives the readers how dysfunctional a family does Regan Pescoli has, bringing into the reader's mind that how common it is in reality to have such a dysfunctional family, especially if it involved ex-spouses, their new spouses, kids (his, hers, theirs, kind of) from so many inter-linked marriages. By doing so Lisa thoroughly shatters the rosy glasses that a reader would wear while reading a fiction that involves romance.

Oh she gives us romance alright, that is not lost. Yet, she keeps the reader's vision as close to reality as possible, without making the people as good and holy as we see in a Hallmark Holiday movie. That reality that she pursues through every page, is what I find to be causing more chills up the reader's spine than one would expect. Her books remind me of the TV show Criminal Minds, which also leaves me with the same effect, if not more.

Although in this series, she does include a slight paranormal aspect with the so-called loony folks living in the Pinewood County. A little veering off her regular path compared to some of her other books. And you also get to see everyone, almost everyone, from the first book, again in here.  

In Left To Die, the killer, happening to be a different one from the serial killer, who was after Jillian White Rivers, our heroine, was killed at the end by Jillian herself. Author Lisa makes it more clear in the epilogue that the woman was dead indeed.

However, all through this book, Lisa Jackson keeps referring to that woman being alive and in holding at Spokane where she had attacked Jillian. How did a character that was dead in one book, surfaced alive without anything connecting between the discrepancy? Why did Lisa make her alive when she had clearly made her dead in the previous book? A question I would definitely like to ask her if I ever get a chance to meet.

The psychology behind the killer's mind spins your head again. Lisa has masterfully spun her story around a plot that keeps the readers not only on their toes, but constantly guessing who is the killer and what would happen at each turn of the next page. Although I have a feeling that some of her future books will get linked to people / persons from these books, just like her New Orleans Series

Again, Lisa gave us a chilling thriller that delves into the darker shades of human mind, what ticks a person and causes him / her to kill, what mind-boggling conclusions the killer's minds make for their actions and justify them, all the while giving readers some shivers up their spines. Cant wait to pick the next book.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Brady Long, Nate's employer, gets killed in this plot. His father, Hubert Elmore Long, living in an assisted facility also passes away.

b. The only surviving heir of the Long estate is Padgett Renee Long, the daughter of Hubert, who had been faking insanity and living in an institution, Mountain View Hospital, in Seattle since past fifteen years. Prior to coming to Mountain View, Padgett had given birth to a son and given up for adoption, while at the institution, Cahill House, in San Francisco. Now checking out from Mountain View, Padgett goes to San Francisco in search of her son. She had a brief affair with Billy Hicks, but he was not the one who fathered her son. Who was it? Nate? Simms? Or Brady himself? Padgett is growing up to be another antagonist which I suspect that Lisa would evolve her in the future books.

c. Brady's staff in Montana included - Clementine DeGrazio, housekeeper, & her son Ross whose father happens to be jailer Schwartz; Barten Tinneman, his father's attorney; 

d. It is still unclear how the Star-Crossed Killer could have guessed that Pescoli would be driving that hill exactly at that moment, when she herself hadnt planned that drive a few minutes prior to being shot by the killer, in Left To Die?

e. Billy Hicks aka Liam Kress, who is finally identified as the Star-Crossed Killer, is injured fatally by Regan Pescoli, when he escapes him at the end of the plot, although his body is not found. Another similarity that Lisa has with New Orleans series where her Father John character still is not dead.

f. Lisa however gives closure to what or who Scorpion was and what it refers to.

g. Nate and Pescoli decide to move in together with her kids at the end of the plot. 

2. Sub-Plots:

a. Police in Grizzly Falls  - Sheriff Daniel "Dan" Grayson & his dog, Sturgis; Deputy Pete Watershed; Undersheriff Cort Brewster; Detective Brett Gage, the chief criminal deputy; Joelle Fisher (Secretary and Receptionist); Peggy Florence (Dispatch); Trilby Van Droz, a road deputy; Sage Zoller, a junior detective; Deputy Connors; Deputy Jan Spitzer; Deputy Kayan Rule; Alvin Schwartz, the jailer; Scott Earhardt, a junior detective; 

b. Others tied to the law enforcement - Virginia Johnson & Mikhail Slatkin (From the County Crime Lab); Randy & Gary Goodwin (from the Fire Department); Bellasario, the Deputy Coroner; Seymore, janitor at the police station; 

c. Detective Regan Elizabeth Pescoli's family includes - Jeremy from her first dead husband, Joe Strand; Bianca Pescoli, daughter from her second ex-husband, Luke "Lucky" Pescoli; Dog named Cisco; her boyfriend Nate Santana; Nakita, Nate's dog; Heidi, Jeremy's girl friend and Cort's daughter; Chris, Bianca's boy friend.

d. Detective Selena Alvarez's family includes - mother Juanita; Five brothers (Estevan, Eduardo, Pablo, , , ) & two sisters (Lidya & ); She shows interest towards Sheriff Grayson. In Left To Die, author shows that she had a son from when she got pregnant at seventeen and had given up for adoption immediately after birth. Is he going to surface back as an evil person sometime in future. Like one of them from Lisa's New Orleans series. 

e. Pescoli's son Jeremy was involved in a murder as a child, and she had get him away with it, per Left To Die. 

f. Others we meet: Grace Perchant (who talks to spirits and found Jillian's car); Ivor Hicks (claims to be abducted by the aliens in the seventies, found the body of Wendy Ito); Henry Johansen (claims to hear others thoughts); Bob Simms (who finds Wendy's car); Sandi (owner & waitress at Wild Wills); Gordon Hobbs, an unconventional materials artist; Rod Larimer (owner of Bull and Bear inn); Manny Douglas (wrier for Montana Reporter); Bob Simms (a resident hunter); Dr. Jalicia Ramsby, Padgett's psychologist; Eleanor Mackey (a palm reader); a computer hacker, Tydeus Melville Chilcoate

3. Grammatical / Character / Location / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a. On Pg. 78, Lisa describes Pescoli's nipples as dark, while on Pg. 215, she describes them as pink. 

b. On Pg. 416, Line 6, Kayan is mis-spelled as "Kyan".


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