Malice by Lisa Jackson


Pros: The snippets from the antagonist’s point of view were refreshing.

Cons: But this book dragged, with too many words, and a lame plot.

Lisa Jackson’s Malice is listed as a thriller, but it didn’t really thrill.  In fact, the whole story was kind of lame.

Rick Bentz is seeing his ex-wife everywhere he goes.  But, since she supposedly died twelve years earlier, this is a bit of mystery.  Of course, these sightings happen when no one else is around, and anytime Rick gets close to “Jennifer”, she eludes his grasp.  Is it a ghost?  Is Jennifer somehow still alive, even though Rick identified her body all those years ago?  Or is a Jennifer-look-alike playing with Rick’s head?

That’s what Rick is determined to find out.  So he leaves his current wife, and chases after his late wife.  From one side of the country to the other, Rick follows “Jennifer’s” trail, trying to figure out exactly what is going on.  Along the way, people close to him will start dying.  And, eventually, even his own family will end up in harm’s way.  But why?  That’s the question.

The main problem with this book is that I never felt much sympathy for Rick.  I didn’t understand his decision to trek across the country.  I didn’t understand the way he just up and left his wife.  The whole time, he’s pretty well convinced that someone is just playing a nasty trick on him.  So, if that’s the case, why take the bait and follow the person all over the place?  Why not just let the person have their little fun, until they get bored?  Everyone knows you should leave trouble-makers alone.  By playing right into the person’s hands, he risked his marriage, and brought danger to many people.  It just never rang true to me, that he would traipse all over the country to pursue this story.

Then we meet a bunch of people from Jennifer’s past life.  And none of them has one iota of respect or kindness for Rick.  They all seem to hate him.  Even Rick’s ex-co-workers seem to hold grudges against him.  Since none of these people can stand Rick, it further made me question his motives.  It was just very hard to feel any kind of sympathy for a “protagonist” whom no one else can stand.

Further, the writing style was very annoying.  This book is over 500 pages, and could have easily been 100 pages shorter.  All Ms. Jackson had to do, was stop repeating herself over and over.  For instance, Rick had an accident recently, and as a result, has some trouble with his legs.  This fact is mentioned each and every time he walks somewhere.  Every time Rick walks across the street, or gets into a car, or even if he’s just sitting around, we have to hear just how much his leg is bothering him that day.  There was just no reason to mention it time and time again.  Similarly, overly long descriptions of scenery and driving routes really bogged down the middle portion of the book.

Was it all bad?  No.  In fact, I liked the chapters written from the point of view of the “bad guy”.  Without revealing exactly who he/she is, we get a glimpse into the mindset of a very twisted personality.  These chapters were quite eerie, and added a very unique and fascinating perspective to what was otherwise a fairly dry story.

However, finally, when all is revealed at the end, I felt disappointed.  When we finally discover who did what, and why, I was left with a “That’s it???” feeling.  The motivations were simply not strong enough, or believable enough to be considered a satisfying ending.

So, I don’t recommend this book.  The protagonist is not sympathetic, and the entire story makes little sense.  Skip it.

Also by Lisa Jackson:

Almost Dead
Never Die Alone
The Night Before
Wicked Game
Wicked Ways

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