Told from alternating first-person viewpoints, WILD ORCHIDS is a most unusual and quite eerie book. Ford and Jackie are complex characters whose lives have been difficult and painful. Unlike anything Deveraux has written previously, this book is uniquely intriguing, at times creepy, but always entertaining.

Since the death of his beloved wife, bestselling author Ford Newcombe has just been marking time. Moving around the country, Ford has attempted to find some kind of spark that will reinvigorate his muse. His reputation as a difficult boss has made him unable to find a good research assistant, but he suspects he's met his match when he runs into university researcher Jackie Maxwell at a party. When Ford hears her eerie story of a woman who fell in love with the Devil and was murdered by a town, he suddenly gets inspired.

After learning the name of the town in Jackie's story, Ford buys a rundown Victorian house so that he can live there and conduct research. Ford convinces Jackie to join him in this quest. Jackie's father kept them moving her entire life and she has few memories of her mother. In fact, Jackie's strongest memory is that it was her mother who told her the Devil story, and shortly thereafter, Jackie's father took his daughter far away.

Ford begins to suspect that as a young child Jackie may have been witness to a murder. A woman's body was found several years ago, but no one ever identified her. What starts out as research for a book, turns into a quest for the truth.

(Apr., 384 pp., $25.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith