Book Critique - Born To Die (To Die # 3)
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.
Born to Die is the third book in the To Die Series by Lisa Jackson, published in January of 2011. The plot is set a few months after the events from the second book, Chosen to Die ends.
Dr. Acacia "Kacey" Collins Lambert moves back to the small town of Grizzly Falls, Montana, to start fresh, forget her past. However, women who have resemblance to her are falling to death, accidental deaths as police all it, around her. She begins her own investigation with help of Trace O'Halleran, her romantic interest. But the women dying also have a sort of connection with Trace. As Kacey is getting closer and closer to unraveling the mystery, she is being ever closer to be in the sights of the killer.
The first two books gives the readers a view into the very dysfunctional family that Detective Regan Pescoli has and how her life is all so mixed up and complicated. In this book, Lisa gives us more insight into Pescoli's partner, Detective Selena Alvarez.
At the end of the second book, Chosen to Die, Nate Santana and Pescoli decide to move in together with her kids. However, in this plot, Lisa doesn’t do that, instead keeps them living separate. Interesting! I wonder how long will Nate wait for Pescoli to come around.
Compared to her other books, Lisa toned down the sinister-ness in this plot. It was still deadly, but not as much scary that I had to check underneath my bed for monsters. :) There is still romance stringed through with murder and mystery; and the black side of a human mind.
She also gives a normal family for her antagonist, and infact makes her protagonists to look like the ones with a suspicious nature. However, she shows the readers that it is not nurture that always trumps, sometimes there is something innately wrong inside one's nature that makes them murderers or thieves or stepping on the wrong side of the law, even if they come from well-established family life.
The central plot though distinctly reminded me of one of Mary Higgins Clark's books, the 1999 thriller We'll Meet Again. With so many books being published, it is bound to have plots being crossed by authors once in a while.
Lisa also stays on the edge of the paranormal world in this book, as her previous ones. Although she doesn’t yet delve into that world. She has again masterfully spun her story around a plot that keeps the readers on the edge. However, this time around I had one or two guesses about who the killer would be, almost when I was finished with 2/3rds of the book and one of my guess was right. I do 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.
1. Plot Reveals:
a. Kacey's family, friends and staff - Heather Ramsey, the receptionist; Rosie Alsgaard, ER nurse; Maribelle Collins, her mother; Randy Yates, nurse;
b. Trace's family and friends - Eli, his adopted son; Sarge, their dog; Ed and Matilda "Tilly" Zukov, their neighbors;
c. Outside Law Enforcement - Detective Jonas Hayes and Gail Harding from LAPD;
d. Kacey moves in with Trace and his son Eli at the end of the plot.
e. Again the plot ends on a cliff hanger with Judd Johnson, one of the sons of Gerald Johnson, who could be the primary orchestrator of all the killings ad instigated his brother Cameron to do the murders.
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; Leona Randolph, junior detective.
b. Others tied to the law enforcement - Virginia Johnson, Bart & Mikhail Slatkin (From the County Crime Lab); Randy & Gary Goodwin (from the Fire Department); Bellasario, the Deputy Coroner; Seymore, janitor at the police station; Ashley Tang, assistant at Crime Lab; Rudy & Eileen (Tech crew);
c. Others who reappear: Grace Perchant (who talks to spirits); Ivor Hicks (claims to be abducted by the aliens in the seventies); Henry Johansen (claims to hear others thoughts); Eleanor Mackey (a palm reader); Bob Simms; Sandi (owner & waitress at Wild Wills); Gordon Hobbs, an unconventional materials artist; Rod Larimer (owner of Bull and Bear inn); Manny Douglas (writer for Montana Reporter); Tydeas Melville Chilcoate, a computer hacker; Jordan Eagle, local vet;
d. Detective Regan Elizabeth Pescoli's family - Jeremy from her first dead husband; Bianca Pescoli, daughter from her second ex-husband, Luke "Lucky" Pescoli; Dog Cisco; her boyfriend Nate Santana; Nakita, Nate's dog; Heidi, Jeremy's girl friend and Cort's daughter; Chris Schultz, Bianca's boy friend.
e. Detective Selena Alvarez's family - 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?
f. Pescoli's son Jeremy was involved in a murder as a child, and she had get him away with it, per Left To Die.
g. At the end of Chosen to Die, Padgett Renee Long, surviving heir of the Long Estate, gets out of the mental asylum, Mountain View Hospital, in Seattle.. She had given birth to a son and had put for adoption prior to being put in asylum 15 yrs ago. She goes to San Francisco in search of her son. Who was the father of her son? 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. In this book, we see that Brady Long had left his estate to Nate.
h. Billy Hicks aka Liam Kress, who is finally identified as the Star-Crossed Killer, is injured by Regan Pescoli, while escaping at the end Chosen to Die, but his body is not found. Another similarity that Lisa has with New Orleans series where her Father John character still is not dead.
i. In Left to Die, one of the killers was killed by the protagonist Jillian White Rivers; and the epilogue also mentions that the woman was killed. (Infact both killers are killed). However in Chosen to Die, Lisa refers 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.
3. Grammatical / Character / Location / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:
a. The antagonist calls his victims as "Pretenders" in the beginning of the book. But as we get to Chapter 19 and after, Lisa has her antagonist call them as "the Unknowings". Does it mean she has two antagonists in parallel going through the plot? Or the same antagonist but two sets of victims for his crimes?
b. On Pg. 417, Line 16, it should be "her" at the end of the line.