Shiver -- Lisa Jackson
Abby Chastain had returned to New Orleans to try and rebuild her failing marriage, only to be devastated once again by her cheating husband. Now divorced, Abby's looking once again to move on with her life and hopefully that will include selling her little cottage and moving to California. New Orleans, and Our Lady of Virtues Hospital, holds a lot of memories, most of them not good. As a young girl, she'd witnessed her mother's death from a jump out the window at Our Lady of Virtues Hospital, a mental institution. She should've known better than to return to New Orleans and the nightmares that are still there.
Detective Reuben Montoya is a scoundrel, but good at his job. He's picked up the latest case of a freaky murder that involved the possible murder-suicide of an unlikely couple, a girl who was about to join a convent and a local shock jock who both titillates and disgusts his listening fans. Spouses, even ex-spouses, are usually the best suspects in foul play, but Montoya is having a hard time believing that Abby Chastain shot her husband in cold murder and staged the scene to look like Mary, an innocent victim, had done him and then turned the gun on herself.
As the case unfolds and more unlikely couples are kidnapped and later gruesomely killed, it becomes quite obvious that someone's deadset on terrorizing New Orleans. There's a method to this madman's ways, and the clock's ticking. In Montoya's gut, he knows that Abby Chastain is at the heart of this all, but it'll be up to him to prove it and keep her safe at the same time. While she may not have had anything to do with the increasing number of murders, her memories that lay dormant may hold the key to solving the case. Unless she becomes a victim herself...
I love freaky, and I love spooky, and setting the story in New Orleans (haunted, itself)is genius. But at the heart of SHIVER is Our Lady of Virtues Hospital, and that sends chills right down my spine. Through Lisa Jackson's backstory and glimpses into the condemned hospital back during its heyday, we find that old school techniques may have been the soup du jour for treating their patients. And trust me, that didn't include Prozac, an apple a day, and rest and relaxation.
Lisa Jackson is my go-to gal for fright, and she delivers with SHIVER. (I'm a poet and dinna even know it!) The baddie at the heart of this is evil incarnate, and only he knows the reasons for which he commits these heinous crimes. But gore and gruesome details do not overshadow or detract from the juicy suspense and mystery. The mental hospital is at the heart of it all and holds her own secrets. And that's just plain scary.
Montoya and his hotness almost stole the show for me. Testosterone, virility and good ol' sex appeal fairly waft from the pages, and he almost -- almost -- became my new favorite romance book hero (I still *heart* you, Dane Hollister!). It might've been the goatee and gold hoop studding Reuben's ear that did it. *thud* I think I'd add him to my own personal list of DIK dudes who I'd love to feel up...er, spend time with, though. Quality time.
Lisa's "New Orleans series" seems to be her lengthiest, but the ones I've read always seem to stand on their own. In order, they are:
THE NIGHT BEFORE