A BINGO Review
Publish Date:Apr 2009
For those who are new to Lisa Jackson’s writing, the name Rick Bentz means nothing but to fans of Ms. Jackson, the reader knows they are in for a terrific treat as the New Orleans detective is featured in MALICE. In this newest Jackson mystery, readers are swept away with the well developed characters, flawless narrative elements, and a setting that almost literally transports you there. All these wonderful parts come together so that it is nearly impossible to put this book down once you get started.
Rick Bentz is back as the talented while also vulnerable man who is still haunted by his first wife who died after Bentz filed for divorce. Meanwhile Rick is suffering still from an injury he incurred at the end of Jackson’s LOST SOULS. While lying in the hospital following the accident, Bentz wakes up after smelling the same gardenia scented perfume his wife wore, to see her, Jennifer, standing there. She blows him a kiss but as quickly as she came, she disappears. Bentz shakes himself. It couldn’t have been Jennifer as she died twelve years ago!
Upon being discharged, however, Bentz continues to see Jennifer almost everywhere. He begins to ask himself, as will the reader, can she still be alive? Did he identify the wrong body after the terrible car wreck? No, he thinks to himself as he shakes his head, that WAS her behind the wheel in that car! Why she had the same clothes, the wedding ring—but now he begins to doubt himself. Bentz wants to tell his wife, Olivia, about this but he realizes she will think he is out of his mind. What he doesn’t know is that Olivia is also hiding a secret from him. Readers will get swept up in Rick Bentz’s mental state and begin to question if he is indeed suffering from some mental disorder.
Things get even worse when a copy of Jennifer’s death certificate arrives and it has a red question mark inscribed across it. The death certificate has a postmark of Los Angeles and so Rick Bentz makes his way there. Rick did not leave L. A. on good terms with anyone and it is a tough thing to go back to. By returning to L. A., Rick is playing right into the hands of a serial killer set on making Rick look like the perpetrator. This patient fiend has waited, knowing that Bentz would eventually take the bait and when he does, he hooks Bentz while Jackson hooks the reader.
The Twenty-One Killer was the last unsolved case of Rick’s before leaving L.A. and it looks like he is up to his old tricks again when Rick arrives. Pictures of someone in L. A. who looks like Jennifer are sent to Rick and that also adds to the confusion he is feeling. The serial killer, Jennifer—alive or dead?...and what he doesn’t know is that his current wife Olivia is the next target of this madman. The Twenty-One Killer, as he was named, has the morbid trait of strangling identical twins on their 21st birthday thus giving him his “nickname”. At this point not only does Rick Bentz and everyone around him wonder if he is going crazy, but so will the reader.
As the story goes into the sordid, tragic, and sad details of Rick’s past, it seems only natural that he just can’t seem to get a break. The main story line is well done and includes many twists and turns. Jackson uses different points of view to tell the story from depending on the characters and that adds to the realism that makes you feel like you are right in the middle of this murderous mess. There are a few rough places where it is hard to follow but it all adds to the reader trying to figure out the mystery. The ending will be a shock to Bentz AND to the reader. Fans of Jackson will like the book. Is it my favorite of hers? I don’t think so but it still is a crazy ride and fun read!
Submitted to Curled Up with a Good Book by Karen Haney, 2009