Author: Lisa Jackson
Hardcover: 432 pagesSynopsis
Kristi Bentz wants to write true crime. All she needs is that one case that will take her to the top. She finds it when she enrolls at All Saints College after learning that three troubled girls have disappeared in one term. When the bodies are found, all blood drained from their bodies, rumors abound that vampires are on the loose. Are they? Or is there a new serial killer in New Orleans - one more cunning than any that her father, Detective Rick Bentz, and his partner, Detective Reuben Montoya, have gone up against before?
Now, as Kristi gets deeper into her investigation, she crosses paths with a killer who has selected her for membership in a cult of death from which there is no escape . . .
There’s no doubt about it – Lisa Jackson is par master at crafting suspense. And not just creating it, but maintaining it up until the very end. Lost Souls features one of the most creepy and suspenseful plot lines I’ve read in a long while. This is no paranormal story, but an out and out contemporary suspense, and yet vampires and vampirism is the dominant factor here. That’s just one of the clever twists this plot is riddled with.
Jackson cleverly reveals that central character Kristi Bentz has survived multiple attacks on her life and is now on her way to becoming a true crime writer. This leads me to believe this character has probably featured in previous Jackson novels and now is finally getting to star in her own story. Thanks to Jackson’s clever hints and insinuations, I’m now eager to read those previous novels as well!
Like Agatha Christie, Lisa Jackson also casts a wide net of potential suspects with which to intrigue the readers and befuddle the protagonist. The suspect could be anyone – a new professor who teaches vampirism, a priest with a guilty conscience, students who have their own agendas, mysterious landlords – there’s no dearth of suspects and Jackson is in her element describing the ways and means in which they come under suspicion.
The Vampiric element is ably propagated through means of appropriately gloomy swamps, gothic mansions, eerie atmospheric conditions etc. And more than anything, it’s Kristi’s own mysterious ability developed post-accident that allows her see something that’s not yet happened, which sends the supernatural factor through the roof and adds an ominous prophetic element to the story.
There’s a romance angle in there as well which begins late but develops so speedily that it left me unconvinced. Repeat characters from previous novels put in small but important appearances and while this will undoubtedly delight Jackson’s fans, it does tend to leave a new reader feeling like they’re missing something crucial. However the slick plotting together with a stellar cast of characters ensures that these remain just minor inconveniences that don’t distract from the overall story.
Despite the leaps of intuition and sometimes over-dramatization, this is a well-written, well-developed, intriguing story that will leave (and does leave) the readers craving more.
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