Thriller Week Review & Giveaway: MALICE by Lisa Clark O’Neill


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🎵 Thrill-errrrrrr, Thrill-er Week!  🎶

Sorry, I can’t get Michael Jackson out of my head during Thriller Week. I love it SO much! While I definitely read thrillers throughout the year, I love that we have this week on the blog devoted to the thrills that get everyone out of their comfort zone and a little bit scared.

This year, I chose to read Malice, which is a prequel to the Southern Comfort series by Lisa Clark O’Neill. You can see my other reviews of this series here, here, here…oh wait, here too. And I almost forgot this one. Can you tell I’m a fan? :)

Now on to Malice

MALICE cover

Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Length: 432 pages
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Southern Comfort, Book 0.5
Publisher: Self-Published
Source & Format: Review copy provided by the author; digital
Official Summary
The brutal execution of a Russian immigrant suspected of having ties to organized crime is only the beginning for Savannah FBI agent Jesse Wellington. A man known only as “The Ghost” begins wreaking havoc on the Hostess City, bringing murder and mayhem to its southern shores. When evidence turns up implicating Jillian Montgomery, the close friend of another agent, Jesse finds himself dangerously attracted to a woman at the heart of his investigation.
Jillian Montgomery fears law enforcement – and with good reason. But when she finds herself being caught in a web of someone else’s making, it’s Jesse who she ends up turning to for help. Long-buried secrets from Jillian’s past are coming back to haunt her in ways she could never have predicted. It’s up to Jesse to help her exhume and exorcise them before it’s too late.

Katie‘s Review

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. :)

Bottom Line

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.

Rating: A

Wine/Beverage Pairing: White Russian. Oh, you’ll see… :)

Buy Digital:  Kindle  |  Nook
Buy Print:  Amazon  |  B&N


Malice Giveaway

The author, Lisa Clark O’Neill, is generously giving away ONE signed print copy of Malice (U.S. residents only) and ONE digital copy of Malice (open internationally) to Kindles & Wine readers.

To enter for your chance to win, you must:

  1. Be a follower of our blog (click HERE to subscribe), AND…
  2. While I love curling up with a good book, I also bring my book everywhere to sneak in a chapter here and there. Obviously I read while on the treadmill at the gym. Hit the comments and tell me: What’s the oddest place that you read?

Please note: All entrants must review and adhere to our official giveaway policy. This contest will close on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 11:59 PM (CDT) and the two winners will be notified via email on Wednesday, October 7.

One fine day in the not-too-distant past, Lisa Clark O’Neill left Wittenberg University with a BA in English, which she promptly neglected. After working as a decorative artist and Montessori art teacher (there may have been a BA in art as well), she finally settled into the role of mother to two very fine children. Lisa spent subsequent years avoiding housework by burying her nose in just about every romance novel she could get her hands on. Her own work falls into the romantic suspense subgenre, with strong comedic undertones.
Lisa currently lives in the Atlanta area, and when she isn’t attempting to keep her pet rabbit from eating the woodwork, she’s hard at work on her next novel. You can connect with Lisa on Facebook and Twitter.