Review: The Killing Place – Tess Gerritsen

the killing place tess gerritsen

Rizzoli & Isles #8

SYNOPSIS: In Wyoming for a medical conference, Boston medical examiner Maura Isles joins a group of friends on a spur-of-the-moment ski trip. But when their SUV stalls on a snow-choked mountain road, they’re stranded with no help in sight.

As night falls, the group seeks refuge from the blizzard in the remote village of Kingdom Come, where twelve eerily identical houses stand dark and abandoned. Something terrible has happened in Kingdom Come: Meals sit untouched on tables, cars are still parked in garages. The town’s previous residents seem to have vanished into thin air, but footprints in the snow betray the presence of someone who still lurks in the cold darkness–someone who is watching Maura and her friends.

Days later, Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli receives the grim news that Maura’s charred body has been found in a mountain ravine. Shocked and grieving, Jane is determined to learn what happened to her friend. The investigation plunges Jane into the twisted history of Kingdom Come, where a gruesome discovery lies buried beneath the snow. As horrifying revelations come to light, Jane closes in on an enemy both powerful and merciless–and the chilling truth about Maura’s fate. – via Goodreads

GRADE 7.5I really liked the style of writing for The Killing Place, and I was almost convinced I was reading a horror in the sense of how things were happening, the amount of inexplicable things, the remote locations, the lack of reception and terrible weather and most of all, the isolation. Isolation just has a way of making everything creepy as hell. I really enjoyed how this book was a little different, which is something that the Rizzoli and Isles series seems to do rather well. Granted, there are common elements among them all, for sure, but Gerritsen likes to change things up a bit, and this was another one of the novels that does that rather successfully. I got so mad reading about the cult, as there are few things that peeve me as much as that. Ugh. Religious fanatics of any kind are not good at all. Reading about what they wanted from their young “spiritual brides” just made me sick. I mean, people can be so disgusting. I was really thrilled to read more about Gabriel Dean here, you all know I cannot get enough of him, and I really feel that he is underutilised at the best of times. Anthony Sansone made another appearance here, and his character has so much potential, if only Gerritsen would explore him  more. The whole melodramatic thing with Maura is getting old now, like her affair with Daniel and her unhappiness, etc. and I am  hoping that we will move on from that properly soon. I thought Julian “Rat” Perkins was a great character, and I am looking forward to reading more about him. I felt so sorry for him, and I know there is tons of potential. It was definitely a different read, and I enjoyed it well enough, and can recommend it. For those of you who are interested, this books is called Ice Cold in the United States.

Bones: Season 1 (2005 – 2006)

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So this is a series I have heard of a lot over the years but never actually had a look at. I didn’t know if it was for me or not. Eventually, though, there comes a time in all of our lives where we have to check out another series or something, and then we sit wondering. Luckily for me though, I had this one, and I had heard so many times from so many different people that it is really brilliant and definitely worth the watch. Well, it was my turn to find out.

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

Synopsis: Dr Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) is ridiculously smart and completely socially awkward. She returns from a trip overseas, and is met at the airport by cocky FBI agent, Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz). The two distinctly appear to not get along, but are thrown together as the Jeffersonian Institute where Brennan works lets the FBI use their staff to help in ongoing investigations. She argues with her superior, Dr Daniel Goodman (Jonathan Adams), and he refuses to assist her in any way. Brennan agrees to help, but only if Booth makes her a full partner.

Brennan lost her folks when she turned fifteen: they simply disappeared, and they have never been found. It takes a lot from her to not know anything. Booth meets the rest of Brennan’s team: her best friend, Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin), her grad student, Zack Addy (Eric Millegan), and last but not least, Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne), an incredibly wealthy conspiracy buff. Booth calls her team “squints”, and so the unlikely symbiotic relationship begins. The team works together, and slowly but surely start to understand one another. Zack is a completely socially awkward individual, even more so than Brennan, and the two of them get along like a house on fire. Bones and Booth get along and at the same time, not even remotely. They are the polar opposite of one another, Brennan being the most literal person, with empirical views and nothing but textbook smart whereas Booth is more worldly, emotive and street smart. But it seems to work, and Brennan’s faith in Booth grows to immeasurable proportions.

Zack, Angela and Booth establish that Hodgins is rich beyond measure: he is the sole surviving heir of the third largest private owned company in the United States, but he wants that to be kept under wraps. His company makes the largest financial contributions to the Jeffersonian Institute, and he does not want anyone to know that he is that wealthy, or that he is technically everybody’s boss. He just wants to work on dirt and slime and be happy.

Brennan eventually scrapes the courage up and gives Booth the file on her parents, and asks him to investigate further into their disappearance. What he discovers is not what Brennan wants to hear: her parents were criminals, they were thieves. She refuses to reconcile that with who she is, and Booth brings her brother, Russ Brennan (Loren Dean), back to Washington D.C. with him so that they can investigate further. Bones are brought out to be identified in the Jeffersonian, and it turns out that they belong to Brennan’s mother: her mother’s corpse had been at the Jeffersonian as long she has if not longer. Her whole world collapses around her, and Booth is tasked with assisting as much as he can to keep her together, as well as open an FBI case on her mother and start searching in earnest. Brennan gets it out of Russ eventually that their names were changed as children, and that what she hears about her family is true. Booth struggles to keep Brennan focused and functioning, as she is intent on finding out what happened to her parents, refusing to believe the conjecture with the evidence that her father killed her mother almost two years after they deserted Brennan and her brother. Brennan finally lays the blame on Vince McVicar (Pat Skipper), as all the evidence points to him. McVicar tells Brennan that if she imprisons him, she will never know what happened to her father, but Brennan is not afraid, and does not get intimidated easily. She is certain she will find out what happened to her father the same way she found out what happened to her mother.

Brennan’s father calls her house to warn her and her brother to stop looking for him. Now they know that he is alive, and Booth is more intent than ever on finding him, not only because he is a criminal, but for Brennan’s peace of mind.

Best Episode: Two Bodies In The Lab / The Graft In The Girl / The Man In The Morgue

Worst Episode: The Man In The SUV

bones season 1 cover castRating:
GRADE 6Bones took me a while to get into, there is no denying that. I watched a lot more than I thought I would because there are so many people telling me that it is really good. I found the show to be very devoid of much action or story in the beginning, as it floundered for a while before finally landing on its feet. I thoroughly enjoy watching the characters though, as they are truly entertaining and intelligent, and the back and forth between them never ceases to amuse me. Another thing that I enjoy about the show is the realism to certain situations (or at least more so than the average series), for instance being kidnapped and almost killed, and then being saved. It is not a “phew, you were just in the nick of time” kind of thing, it a break down, scream and cry as you were terrified and had a taste of your own mortality. So well done on that front. I must say I was duly impressed, and it is a sharp show, definitely worth having a look at. Maybe it took me a while to get into because I am not a huge Kathy Reichs fan. I am not saying I don’t like her, but I never really got the feel for her work. But Bones is pretty good, and I am in the second season already. I also like the way that everything sounds as technical as it looks, but it is also brought to layman’s terms so that we can all look like absolute geniuses while watching. I must admit, watching Bones makes me miss my NCIS that much more (I am going to blame it on the whole Washington D.C. thing, and Booth having been an ex-Army Ranger sniper, very reminiscent of Gibbs 😉 ). I liked the intelligence, and the relationships between characters. The humour was also intellectual, smart, fast and well delivered. Overall, the cast mixes well together, and eventually a story line emerges from the episodes.

Review: The Double (2011)

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“This guy has used every single weapon you can think of. From an M-24 from 800 meters, to a rusty nail.”
– Martin Miller

Here was a movie that came in highly recommended by a  very good friend of mine that usually has impeccable taste. I am not quite sure what happened here though. This movie had a pretty good plot, but not really that great an execution.

A retired CIA operative, Paul Shepherdson (Richard Gere), is called from retirement by CIA director Tom Highland (Martins Sheen) to pair up with a young FBI agent, Ben Geary (Topher Grace), to begin the hunt for the elusive Soviet assassin Cassius. The two are thrown together when a US senator is killed in a style that is remarkably similar to the technique used by Cassius. Paul spent decades of his life attempting the capture of the elusive Soviet assassin, and refuses to acknowledge that Cassius has returned, seeing as Cassius went into hiding and ceased his kills altogether. Ben wrote a thesis on Paul’s fruitless hunt for the killer, and is convinced of it that Cassius roams freely, and that this is his work.

The two agents butt heads continually, and their visit to attempt to extricate information from inmate Brutus (Stephen Moyer) turns out to be slightly rewarding, although Paul claims it is not. Paul’s past is rapidly catching up to him and he is desperate to cover his tracks and will stop at no cost.

A Russian sleeper cell operative is activated and brings many Russian war criminals into the States from the Mexican border, so that no one would suspect. Paul catches one glimpse of the most elusive character he has sought before: the murderer of his wife and child – Bozlovski (Tamer Hassan), though that secret is known by no one.

The Double is only worth a 5/10 for me. I was waiting to be thrilled, and the kick was sorely lacking, . I must say, I was extremely underwhelmed with Topher Grace’s performance, and I don’t know why. I almost think that he is an exclusive comedic actor for me. His role just did not feel real, accepted and proper. I don’t know, I have not been this disappointed in a very long time by a film recommended by a friend.

Review: Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Catch Me If You Can Wallpaper

“I’m not a doctor. I never went to medical school. I’m not a lawyer, or a Harvard graduate, or a Lutheran.”
– Frank Abagnale Jr.

Yesterday I watched Catch Me If You Can again, and realized why I love it so much. It has been years since I watched it, and I have been particularly nostalgic over the last few weeks. Naturally, this movie would feature.

The story is that of Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio). His father, Frank Abagnale Sr. (Christopher Walken) is a well meaning man but a small time con artist. Frank’s parents, Frank Sr. and Paula Abagnale (Nathalie Baye) get divorced after the family loses everything. Put on the spot to choose which parent to live with, Frank Jr. runs, and begins his life as one of the world’s greatest con artists at the tender age of sixteen.

Frank Abagnale Jr Pilot
Women can be so distracting!

After roughing it and sweet talking to no avail, Frank gets an idea, and researches in depth. It all begins with the Pan Am airways, and Frank markets himself as young co-pilot Frank Taylor, and banks thousands of dollars worth of cheques. Later, he moves on to becoming a doctor by total random decision when FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) starts closing in on him. Dr. Frank “Conners” then meets the love of his life there, nurse Brenda Strong (Amy Adams). Frank asks her father, Roger Strong (Martin Sheen) for her hand in marriage, and then spins the story of practicing law, and having studied before. Frank becomes a licensed legal prosecutor, and just as he studied to be a doctor, meticulously watches tapes to mimic the profession.

02
I concur.

However, the net is drawing in tightly around Frank, and Carl Hanratty is intent on catching  a man who has turned out to be nothing but a nuisance and an embarrassment to him from the off. Carl becomes obsessed with Frank, and together they play a cat-mouse game that lasts years, neither willing to back down or call a truce, and neither willing to let the other go.

Catch Me If You Can scores an 8/10. I really thoroughly enjoyed every second of this film. The deception was great, Leonardo DiCaprio really did a phenomenal job of portraying Frank Abagnale Jr. and as always, watching Tom Hanks was a pleasure, he had the role of Agent Carl Hanratty down pat. I think that Steven Spielberg rocked this film, and this is a proper classic. The humour was abundant, and I was laughing solidly the whole way, and the balance between drama and humour was simply perfect and flowed very well. The cast gelled together nicely, and the dynamic was very pleasant indeed. Well worth the watch if you have not seen it before, and definitely worth a re-watch even if you have!