In #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson’s riveting novel of heart-stopping suspense, a woman races to discover the truth about a convent filled with unholy secrets.
The crime scene at St. Marguerite’s cathedral in New Orleans is shocking, even to seasoned detectives like Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya. A novice nun named Sister Camille has been found dressed in a yellowed bridal gown and viciously garroted, her body covered with an altar cloth. Valerie Houston is devastated by her sister’s death. For weeks, she’d begged Camille to leave St. Marguerite’s, where she seemed determined to live as some kind of martyr. But Camille had a knack for making bad choices—she joined the convent in part because she’d fallen for Val’s soon-to-be ex-husband, Slade.
Convinced the police aren’t doing enough, Val begins to investigate. Slade, on a mission to repair their marriage, is determined to help her. But the deeper Val’s inquiries go, the more twisted the case becomes. St. Marguerite’s is far from the tranquil retreat many believe, and everyone, from handsome Father Frank O’Toole to the mysterious Mother Superior, has their own agenda. Despite their closeness, even Camille had a hidden life Val never suspected. But someone knew about Camille’s past—and Val’s, too. Now she has no choice but to catch a devious, depraved killer intent on purging St. Marguerite’s of all its sins—before she becomes the next victim…
Video featuring Lisa Jackson
DEVIOUS - Montoya/Bentz Interview
The following is a conversation between two New Orleans Police Department detectives. Detective Bentz and Montoya are a couple of Lisa Jackson’s most popular characters. Originally introduced in HOT BLOODED, they have appeared in all of the novels within the “New Orleans” series. Those books include HOT BLOODED, COLD BLOODED, SHIVER, ABSOLUTE FEAR, LOST SOULS, MALICE and now, the most recent novel, DEVIOUS.
Here, in new material not found in any of the books, is their conversation:
During the course of their investigation of a young nun’s homicide at St. Marguerite’s Cathedral, Detectives Reuben Montoya and Rick Bentz, of the New Orleans Police Department, drove away from the crime scene.
For once, Bentz was at the wheel. And Montoya was antsy as hell.
“So tell me again how you know the victim Camille Renard?” Bentz asked, thinking of the beautiful woman who lay dead on the altar floor.
“Went to high school with her,” Montoya admitted. He was staring out the windshield as if the city where he’d lived most of his life was suddenly fascinating. “Private School.”
“You went to a private school?”
“Catholic.” He glanced at Bentz. “Our family was on scholarship and all of us, me and my brothers and sisters, we worked at the school and the church to help pay for the cost.”
“All the kids went there?”
“What were there? Five of you?”
“Eight. Five brothers, but don’t forget my two sisters.” He slid a glance in Bentz’s direction. “My parents, they took their faith very seriously.”
“How come I’ve only heard of a couple of the kids?”
Montoya slashed him a trade-mark lady-killer smile; a slash of white in a black goatee. “Because they’re all hellions.”
“Even your sisters?”
“Especially them. Lydia . . .” he rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Definitely a lost cause. Worse than my brother, Cruz, and that’s saying something.”
As he drove along the river, the dank smell of the Mississippi rolling through the open window, Bentz realized Montoya had deflected the conversation away from the real question. He brought it back. So you knew Camille Renard in high school?”
The cockiness evaporated. Once again Montoya’s expression turned dark. Thoughtful.
“She was a friend,” Bentz ventured.
“You could say that.”
Then he got it. “You dated her,” he guessed and Montoya didn’t answer. A sinking sensation settled over him as he understood how deep the problem lay. “It’s more than that. Right?”
Montoya slid lower in the passenger seat and glowered, his inner thoughts evident in his suddenly-dark expression.
“Oh, man. Don’t tell me.”
There was a long, pregnant pause as Bentz slowed for a light and a woman pushing a stroller crossed in front of the stalled traffic.
“I was her first, okay?” Montoya was irritated.
“For the love of God, you slept with her? In highschool? Our victim?” His fingers gripped the wheel more tightly. This was definitely bad news. Real bad news. “Well, this sure as hell complicates things.”
Montoya’s dark eyes flashed. “Don’t tell me about complications, Bentz. Didn’t you just spend a lot of time investigating your ex-wife’s death? Turned an accident into a homicide investigation in damned California?”
Bentz’s jaw clenched when he thought of Jennifer and how he’d finally, after over a decade, chased her killer down in LA.
“Yeah. Just what I thought. So don’t get on my case!” Montoya reached into his pocket for a nonexistent pack of cigarettes, then realized he’d quit long ago. “Oh, hell.”
Bentz knew Montoya had strayed from the church. Hadn’t his aunt, a nun, been killed on the case where Montoya met his wife?
But, then, he, too, had issues. Hadn’t his own brother, a priest no less, seduced Bentz’s ex-wife? And don’t forget Olivia. What had it been with his “brother” that he was always interested in Bentz’s women?
The light changed and he turned, driving along Decatur Street where carriages rolled along the street, the harnessed mules clopping along as rain clouds gathered, dark as the storm gathering in Montoya’s eyes.
Did Bentz blame his partner for not owning up immediately? No. Not when his own life had been so messed up. Hadn’t he become a cop to prove something to his own father, a man he’d never known, another statistic, a policeman shot in the line of duty?
He wouldn’t let himself go there.
Not when they had a dead nun on their hands, a beautiful woman dressed in a bridal gown who had literally left at the altar.
Only this time, the bride was dead, killed by an unknown assailant.
Praise for DEVIOUS
From Publisher's Weekly:
Someone is strangling novice nuns in Jackson's terrifying if overwrought seventh Bentz and Montoya novel (after Malice). When NOPD homicide detectives Reuben Montoya and Rick Bentz arrive at the first crime scene, the chapel of St. Marguerite's Convent, Montoya recognizes the murder victim, Sister Camille, as his old high school girlfriend, Cammie Renard. In another coincidence, the novice sister who discovered Camille's body, Lucia Costa, once dated Montoya's brother. On top of that, one of the prime suspects is a high school classmate of Montoya's, Fr. Francis O'Toole, who may have had an affair with the victim. As Cammie's sister, Valerie, a former Texas cop now a New Orleans Garden District B&B owner, struggles with a surprise visit from her estranged husband, more nuns succumb to a crazed killer. Val learns more than she bargained for about her past--and Cammie's--at a nearby orphanage in a creepy thriller sure to please Jackson's many fans. (Apr.)
From Library Journal
A nun is found murdered, and New Orleans detectives Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya (Malice) are on the case, one that reminds them of a decade-ago crime spree. The same day that Val Houston learns her sister has been murdered, her estranged husband, Slade, shows up. Against the wishes of the detectives, Val and Slade throw themselves into solving the crime while reigniting their marriage. But there’s evil out there that wants to separate them in a permanent way. VERDICT One of the many things that keep this fan coming back are Jackson’s subtle hints of what’s to come. Her seventh title starring Bentz and Montoya is more thriller than romantic suspense and will satisfy series fans as well as readers who enjoy JT Ellison, Lisa Gardner, and Linda Fairstein.
—Debbie Haupt, St. Charles City-Cty. Lib. Dist., MO