Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Absolute Fear by Lisa Jackson

In the turbo-charged follow-up to Shiver (2006), photographer Abby Chastain, who played a major role in Shiver, finds she may have a half-sister in Eve Renner, the adopted daughter of Dr. Terrence Renner, former head psychiatrist at Our Lady of Virtues Mental Hospital, a shuttered asylum near (pre-Katrina) New Orleans. When "the Reviver," a tattoo-loving psychopath intent on revenge, almost kills Eve, the amnesia-plagued Eve fears Cole Dennis, her lawyer boyfriend, might be the monster, since she saw him at the scene of her assault (and a friend's murder), though Cole is released for lack of evidence. The body count mounts through many unexpected twists and turns as a grim Det. Reuben Montoya, Abby's fiancé, and his partner, Rick Bentz, try to puzzle out the killer's cryptic clues before he strikes again.

I read Shiver last year, and liked it, but thought it could have used some thinning out. For a what should have been a quick, fun read it took me over a week to finish. It seemed like there were a lot of details that could have been omitted. Absolute Fear could have used the same thinning out. It seemed to take an awful long time for the action to get moving and then it would kind of fizzle out for a bit. I also found that Absolute Fear would bring in some story elements to try to keep the action moving, but then they seemed to just drift off without ever really being developed. Sorry for not being a little more complete in my thoughts here, but I hate spoilers...

My biggest gripe about this book, though, was the ending. I understand authors want to keep their series characters coming back, but when something is introduced in the epilogue, and it's only purpose is to set up another book, it just kind of turns me off. If the characters don't have enough happening to warrant another book, just let them go! 2.5 stars

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