Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Crime & Beyond Book Club Reads Lisa Jackson

Kerry Hammond returns with an update on the latest meeting of her Denver-based mystery book club, Crime & Beyond. 

This month at Crime & Beyond, we mixed things up a bit. We had trouble getting enough copies of the book we had scheduled, so we rolled with it. Rather than reading the same book and discussing what we thought, we chose an author and each member was free to read any book that author wrote.

We chose Lisa Jackson partly due to the fact that she is quite a prolific writer. She has about 10 different series, a medieval trilogy, and another 10 stand-alones to her name. Our club covered 5 of her series, or is it series’? (I never know how to make that plural.) We read from New Orleans, Wicked, Savannah, To Die, and West Coast. 

New Orleans
The New Orleans series contains seven books, and members read Lost Souls, Devious, and Absolute Fear. The characters featured are Detectives Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya. We had a range of scores for each, with Lost Souls getting the highest rating. We agreed that you could read each book in the series without feeling like you were missing something by reading out of order.

To Die
The To Die series contains five books and takes place in Montana, featuring Detectives Regan Pescoli and Selena Alvarez. I think this was one of the most controversial series, mostly because one member gave an extremely high score to Afraid to Die and another an extremely low score for Born to Die. Like I always say, different books appeal to different people.

The Wicked series features The Colony and is written with Nancy Bush. This is a very interesting group of books (three total) and Ms. Jackson adds a bit of woo-woo into the stories. The books contain psychic activity and members of a cult (The Colony). Wicked Lies and Something Wicked got pretty high scores from club members and were really enjoyed.

West Coast
Only one person chose a book from the West Coast series, and it was Deep Freeze. It received a high score, which makes it a bit surprising that the most recent book in this two book grouping was published in 2007. Maybe the author prefers her other characters (or the publishers are finicky). The two books feature Travis Settler and his daughter Dani, who live in Falls Creek, Oregon.

The Savannah series contains three books and features Detectives Pierce Reed and Sylvie Morrisette. The library must have had a lot of copies of Tell Me, because everyone who read this series seemed to have read the same book. All scores were above average and the book had a good mystery for a plot, rather than just a suspense story.

Rather than mention it in each series summary, I think it’s important to note that most, if not all, of Ms. Jackson’s books contain quite a bit of sexual content. The stories seemed to focus a lot on the characters and their relationships, and many could be deemed romantic suspense novels. We all had a lot of fun reporting on the books we read and comparing the different series and the author’s writing style.

Next month is The Phantom by Jo Nesbo.

Kerry Hammond


  1. I have to say that I am not a huge fan of the Pierce Reed/Nikki Gillette books, and I never read the ones written with Nancy Bush (who I THINK is Lisa Jackson's sister, or sister-in-law or something), but I like all the other series a LOT. And I'd consider all of them romantic suspense! How many people are in your reading group?

  2. We read Jo Nesbo in my mystery book club and really enjoyed him!

  3. I love Lisa's New Orleans series but I didn't know about some of the other ones.