For those of you out there who have not picked up one of Lisa Clark O’Neill’s novels yet, I cannot understand why! I have the first four novels in this series on paperback and loaned two to my mom a while back. Less than a week later, she needed the other two. These are good books, people! Read them!
Malice felt a little different to me than the other books in this series. There was a lot going on in this one, but O’Neill played her cards pretty close to the vest and didn’t give away any more information than needed to be hooked enough to read on. The complexity is perhaps what gave me that “different” feeling about it. It wasn’t a straightforward romance with a side plot of crime or vice versa. Jillian was a suspect in this crime ring, and Jesse, being the undercover FBI agent assigned to the case, brought in a host of attraction and lies. Before I get ahead of myself, let me tell you about them…
Jesse is an FBI agent and part of the Wellington Family. I’m going to be honest: I get the Wellington brothers mixed up. There are, like, five of them, all of their names start with a J, and they all have very prestigious occupations. I have a hard time keeping track of which one is the district attorney, surgeon, FBI agent, etc. Anyway, Jesse is assigned to this big case in Savannah that’s full of murder, drugs, sex trafficking, and other crime. He’s not at liberty to discuss it because anyone could be involved!
Enter Jillian. Jillian is a photographer and the roommate of a fellow agent’s sister. She’s pretty much minding her own business when she gets catapulted into the center of this investigation. The fact that Jesse, while attracted to her, had to keep his involvement in the case from her didn’t bother me. There is not a lot of sexy time in this one, which might bother some people, but again, it didn’t frustrate me at all because it made Jesse a stand-up agent. He can’t be canoodling with a person of interest!
Jillian had her own safety issues with law enforcement, which added an interesting twist as well. Unfortunately, she’s had some prior encounters with officers who were not all that ethical or upstanding. I think that’s what made Jesse’s morals even more pertinent. The majority of law enforcement officers are upstanding, and I really appreciated how O’Neill drove home the point that some lines are important to keep no matter what. It mirrors a very timely topic in the country right now, and it was good to see both sides represented really well in this novel.
The plot unfolds perfectly, gaining more complexity as it goes on. I feel safe saying you will absolutely not be able to guess what happens! I’m definitely one of those readers who tries to figure it all out. My mind likes to work overtime! But there was absolutely no way I could do it with Malice and had to remind myself to just wait it out and enjoy. I had to trust that O’Neill would never do anything too horrible to any of my beloved characters.
Read it. Just do it. Don’t fight me on this one. If you don’t want to start with the prequel (although that order might be interesting!), then choose one of the other fantastic installments in this series. You really can’t go wrong.
Malice has mystery, suspense, complexity, romance, and THRILLS! It is a quick read because you will forget to put it down. I brought it to the gym and ran 18 minutes longer than intended because I lost myself in the plot and characters. 18 minutes! That is not a common occurrence, believe me.
Katie‘s Best Reads of 2015
Malice (Southern Comfort, Book 0.5) by Lisa Clark O’Neill. Romantic Suspense. If anyone is surprised that this series prequel is up here, then you haven’t been paying attention! O’Neill has become one of my go-to authors. I feel safe within her stories; I know that they will have a lot of intense suspense and mysterious thrills, but things will turn out all right. This book was no different! She definitely delivers! Check out my full review of Malice here.