A serial killer is turning New Orleans into his personal playground. The victims are killed in pairs - no connection, no apparent motive, no real clues. It's a very sick game, and it's only just begun.
Abby Chastain left New Orleans long ago and for good reason. Now she's back where she feels watched, as if the devil himself is scraping a fingernail along her spine. It doesn't help that Detective Reuben Montoya is convinced she's somehow the key to unlocking the murders - a mystery that has something to do with Our Lady of Virtues Mental Hospital, a decaying old asylum where unspeakable crimes were once committed and a human predator may still wait.
As more bodies are found in gruesome, staged scenarios, Montoya and Abby are in a desperate race to stop a killer whose terrifying crimes are bringing them ever nearer to a shocking revelation.
For the past is never completely gone. Its sins must be avenged . . .
Set in pre-Katrina New Orleans, the new romantic thriller by bestseller Jackson, her first to be published in hardcover, fits all the usual pieces into all the usual holes. A psycho sexual serial killer stalks victims connected to an insane asylum, shut down 20 years earlier but still standing in all its creepy abandonment. Abby Chastain, a portrait photographer on the rebound from a bad divorce, is trying to wean herself off men. Det. Reuben Montoya, the virile, not-by-the-book cop (last seen in 2002's Cold Blooded), is assigned to track down the serial killer. Along the way, Montoya develops against his better judgment a soft spot for the libido-tingling Chastain, now in peril because her mother was either murdered or committed suicide at the old asylum just before it closed. Fans of the prolific Jackson (Fatal Burn) should be pleased, but those unfamiliar with the conventions of romance fiction should be prepared for characters who "growl" rather than simply "say" and descriptions of physical beauty along the lines of a "body that wouldn't quit." Author tour.