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Monday, April 18, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Devious by Lisa Jackson

Devious (New Orleans #7)
Lisa Jackson

Page Count:
Release Date: 29 March, 2011
Publisher: Kensington
Source: Complimentary ARC provided by publisher, via SOS Aloha, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you both!!)

Detectives Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya return in Devious. The crime scene at St. Marguerite's cathedral in New Orleans is shocking. A novice nun has been found dressed in a yellowed bridal gown and viciously garroted, her body covered with an alter cloth.

For Montoya, the brutal crime scene is disturbingly familiar—his aunt, also a nun, was murdered. And the connections don't end there. Montoya knew this victim in high school. But the deeper the investigation goes, the more twisted the case becomes. St. Marguerite's is far from the tranquil retreat many believe, and everyone, from handsome Father Frank O'Toole to the mysterious Mother Superior, has their own agenda...

What Stephanie Thought:
Being a Lisa Jackson fan, I was more than happy to get to review her newest Bentz and Montoya novel. True, I haven't read the first six books in the series, but like most good books should, Devious makes a fine stand-alone novel. Actually, it's better than a fine stand-alone novel; it's the kind of sequel that makes me want to go back and read all the previous titles too.

Camille Renard is your typical party girl: gorgeous, smart, a little deceptive... okay, make that a lot deceptive. Notorious for getting around and stealing husbands (specifically, her sister, Val's), it's to everyone's shock that she decides to enter a convent and become a nun. But this is not her story. Devious is not Camille's story, because she is brutally murdered within the first chapter—ironically, right in the church.

No one else is more devastated than her sister, Valerie Renard. Though the two have been on edge with each other for the past few months (I mean, that is what will happen if you try to sleep with your sister's husband), Val's ready to forgive and forget
after all, her divorce with Slade is now nearly final. But of course, that can't happen now, because well, Camille's dead. Beautiful, vivacious, rambunctious Camille is dead.

Which is the perfect time for Val's soon-to-be-ex to show up at her doorstep, right? Slade Houston is in New Orleans, hotter and feistier than ever, and Val's not sure she can handle his company. But it turns out, she just might not be completely over him... and him over her, for that matter.

The story gets weirder, though. One of the detectives assigned to the murder case, Reuben Montoya, happens to be Camille's high school boyfriend; her first, in fact. It's probably not best for him to deal with the issue since it's so personal, but he can't help but desire to solve this deranged murder mystery.

Even worse? An autopsy reveals Camille was pregnant
and suspicions arise that Father Frank O'Toole, the charming but suspect priest at St. Marguerite's, is the dead baby's father.

The case gets more and more screwed up as the book goes on, to the point where some things are utterly shocking
others, entirely inconceivable.

Lisa Jackson never fails with the suspense. I didn't have to sift through Devious, wondering when I'd be finished with it, at all; the pages seemed to turn themselves. Even better, romance (read: steamy love scenes!) is incorporated into the story's cutting tension, making it all the better, and entertaining, of a read.

No question goes unanswered in Devious, which says a lot, because it begins raw, millions of questions sprouting out to know what's going on at St. Marguerite's. I enjoyed the relationship developments, specifically the romances, between the various characters: Camille and Reuben; Reuben and his wife, Abby; Camille and Father Frank; Camille and her murderer; Val and Slade; and other minor relationships throughout.

Though Jackson's writing is easy to follow and well-written, it isn't without flaw. Her similes are painfully cliché ("Outside, it was as dark as night") and her details, annoyingly repetitive. Maybe she was just trying to give reader cues throughout the novel to keep confusion to a minimum, but I feel there were too many scenes that were repeated unnecessarily. Her ideas however, are completely genius. The plot she comes up with gets better and better by the sentence, and the story she creates is one not any reader will be able to predict or even possibly imagine.

Devious will thrill your senses, and keep your eyes wide and spine tingling throughout the night. It will make you tremble in fear at times, but also keep you eagerly reading on, awaiting the fate of the murder case, as well as the vindication of Camille Renard. 

Stephanie Loves: "'Hey, boy,' Val said, her heart melting as she squatted down to pet the dog's sleek head and receive exuberant licks on her face and hands. 'Yeah, I missed you, too.' The hound couldn't get close enough to her, and for a second she remembered bringing him home from the pound, a small black and tan puppy with bright eyes and ears that nearly hung to the ground.
'And me? You miss me, too?' Slade asked as he slammed the truck's door shut ...
'You're kidding, right? Miss you?' She almost laughed, except nothing about their meeting was funny. 'Like I miss the plague.'"

Radical Rating: 
9 hearts: Loved it! This book has a spot on my favorites shelf. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥