Almost Dead – Lisa Jackson


Pros: Very exciting story, lots of little mysteries.

Cons: Some very annoying characters.

Almost Dead by Lisa Jackson was a very captivating thriller.  It held my interest throughout and I turned pages very quickly to try to figure out what was really happening, and why.  But that’s not to say the book was perfect; far from it.  Some of the characters were just too annoying. Still, it’s a fairly solid thriller.

Cissy’s life is really spinning out of control!  While in the midst of divorcing her husband, her wacko mother escapes from jail.  What else could go wrong?  How about her grandmother dying, followed by the death of her uncle.  In fact, Cissy’s family members all start dying one by one, and it looks like Cissy and her young child might be next on the hit list.  But who is eliminating these family members?  Is it Cissy’s mother, on some vengeful rampage?  Or is something far more sinister going on?

That’s the basic premise of Almost Dead.  Cissy and her estranged husband Jack collaborate to try to piece the puzzle together, and to try to keep themselves and their child safe.  It was nice to see a husband and wife stop bickering and work together for an important goal such as a child’s safety.

Along the way, we are treated to many little mysteries.  Like just who is lying in the hospital bed, paralyzed?  We are privy to that person’s thoughts, and we know that he or she must be tied the rest of the story in some fashion, but it’s a long time until we find out all of the details.

Another mystery is figuring out exactly who “Elyse” is.  We know “Elyse” is causing some of the mayhem in Cissy’s life.  But we also know that this is a false identity.  We are given little clues that tell us that “Elyse” is really one of the other characters in the story, but, again, the details are slow to come.

All of this sounds very exciting, right?  So why do I say Almost Dead is far from perfect?  Because some of the characters were just horribly annoying, and too stupid for words.  First, there’s Cissy.  We’re supposed to like her and sympathize with her.  But she is so whiny, it’s hard to care about her.  At the beginning of the story, she’s furious with her soon-to-be-ex husband, but any time he tries to discuss the situation with her, she cuts him off and doesn’t let him speak.  It’s like she enjoys being angry, and letting him continually grovel, rather than have a real conversation with him and try to work things out.

Then there was her insensitivity to her housekeeper.  I couldn’t believe how rude Cissy was to her.  The poor woman is allergic to dogs so what does Cissy do?  Brings home a dog, and basically tells the housekeeper to ‘get over it’ when she complains.  I’m not saying Cissy shouldn’t get a dog, but how about showing just a little compassion, and seeing if there’s a compromise that would make the situation livable for all… and if not, at least give the housekeeper some severance!

Then there’s Cissy’s husband, Jack.  He’s another one that we’re supposed to like.  But his immaturity and lack of ability to stand up to his father causes him to make an extremely careless move, one that could have hurt his own child.  All because Jack couldn’t tell his father “No”.

So, in the end, the story was interesting, and I enjoyed following the clues trying to figure out exactly what was going on.  But the characters were a bit difficult to care about.  Thus Almost Dead gets only 3 stars from me.  Too bad, as it had potential.

Also by Lisa Jackson:

Never Die Alone
The Night Before
Wicked Game
Wicked Ways

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