In the canyons and forests of Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains, Detective Regan Pescoli is hunting a depraved serial killer. All her energy is focused on his capture, on saving the women he torments. At least it was until her ex-husband insisted he was taking full custody of their children. In a fit of rage, intent on barging into his home and taking back the kids, Regan is attacked during a growing storm and finds herself under the control of the very sadist she is seeking. The hunter has become the hunted.
As with the women who have gone before, the Star Crossed Killer takes her to his sanctuary. There he tends to her wounds, knowing that once she is healthy, he will dispose of her like all the rest. He will strip her down and tie her to a tree in the forest and let the cruel, heartless work of the elements take over. And he will leave his note.
But Regan is not like his other captives. She is fighting to find her way out and put a stop to his treachery once and for all. In the meantime, Regan’s partner, Selena Alvarez, and her new lover, Nate Santana, are intently seeking her out and struggling to solve the evolving mysterious messages left at the scenes of the crimes before it is too late.
With CHOSEN TO DIE, Lisa Jackson once again finds herself oddly comfortable in the mind of a psychotic killer, and it seems that with each successive work her subject gets more depraved and more interesting. The Star Crossed Killer carries over from 2008’s LEFT TO DIE, but it should be made very clear that no reader will be left behind if they have not read the prior book.
In fact, the first portion of CHOSEN TO DIE is slower and more patient, filling in the background and making sure everyone is on the same page. A quarter of the way into the book, Jackson pulls out the stops and surges forward at breakneck pace. What readers end up with is a very taut and gripping thriller.
Those who have found escape in Jackson's many other available titles will find this particular installment no less intriguing or satisfying. Newcomers to her work perhaps will find that CHOSEN TO DIE is enough of a kick to encourage them to return to the bookstore and pick up a few of her other tales.
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on August 1, 2009