SOMETHING WICKED – Lisa Jackson & Nancy Bush
Wicked Series, Book 3
Zebra Books
ISBN-13:  978-1-4201-1848-3
June 2013
Romantic Suspense

Deception Bay, Oregon – Present Day

Deception Bay is known for its secrets, especially the big old house called Siren House, and its matriarch, Catherine, who has her nieces living with her, shut off from the world.  They wear long dresses, don't drive, and have no cell phones and no electricity other than on the first floor of their old mansion.  Earl, a sort of handyman, is the only man to ever enter the gates, which are usually closed, and only opened by Catherine.  Catherine's family has owned Echo Island off the coast for years, and Catherine and Earl go there to take supplies to her sister Mary, whom Catherine sent there years ago.  Their family has had generations of women with strange gifts, and the one Mary has is the ability to get any man she wants.  Mary spent years seducing everyone and having child after child after child.  The girl children were kept; the boys had even stronger gifts and were adopted out.  When Catherine and Earl get to the island she finds Mary on her bed, a knife sticking out of her chest.  Catherine is scared to death at the thought of who could have made the dangerous trip to the island and murdered her sister.

Savannah Dunbar is a detective with the Tillamook County Sheriff's Office, and is now eight months pregnant with her sister Kristina and her husband Hale's child.  Lately, Kristina has been acting weird, and Savannah wonders what will happen when she has their baby.  Hale and his family own Bancroft Development, and the Sheriff's Office has been investigating a double murder for several months that happened in one of the houses Hale's company built on a bluff by the ocean.  Unfortunately, the sand underneath the bluff is collapsing and the whole development is scheduled to be demolished. 

Catherine calls Savannah to her house and gives her a knife that she wants tested for DNA, telling Savannah that she believes her sister was killed with it.  She doesn't want to open a homicide case, just wants to know whom the DNA belongs to.  As Catherine talks, she fills Savannah in on the history behind Siren House, and how most of the girls inside have some sort of special “gift”, and she has kept them sheltered from the world.

Savannah, to my mind, is a reckless woman.  She is working her last week before maternity leave and won't slow down.  Along with the possible murder of Catherine's sister, the department has asked her to look further into the double murder of the Donatellas at the house on the bluff.  Then Savannah drives, in a blizzard no less, over the mountain to interview employees of Hale's Company that knew or worked with the Donatellas.  When things start going a way she never expected, wild ideas are running through her mind.
Savannah places herself in many dangerous positions at over eight months pregnant and driving in pouring rain and blizzards, while having what she hopes are false labor contractions.  A detective should have above average intelligence and not risk her life, her baby's life, or other drivers as she investigates the murders; she just wants everyone to know that despite her pregnancy, she can still do her job

Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush have come up with a top-notch mystery with psychic abilities, surrogate parenting, murders, and a crazy man who just might be one of Mary's cast off male children.  Told from Catherine's, Savannah's, and Good Time Charlie's points of view, the story goes along at a break neck pace with murders, babies, and girls sheltered their entire lives.

There are many secondary characters, most particularly all the girls at Siren Song.  Ravinia in particular is close to leaving the house and has been sneaking away for months.  Hale St. Cloud is Savannah's brother-in-law, and up until now has seemed sort of standoffish.  Good Time Charlie could be Mary's son, but who could his father be if he is?  Declan St. Cloud is Hale's grandfather and might have been one of Mary's lovers long ago, too.  There are other detectives and sisters that give this story a lot of characters to fill in the blanks.

SOMETHING WICKED is action-packed, suspenseful and gripping as we follow along with the murders taking place and Savannah's sort-of obsession to find out what is going on.  The first and second books in the Wicked series, WICKED GAME (February 2009) and WICKED LIES (June 2011) are connected to SOMETHING WICKED,  but it is not necessary to have read them to enjoy this one . There's lots of excitement and tension that will definitely have you filled with anticipation to see whether the killer will be captured and what will happen to the women of Siren House.

Carolyn Crisher