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.

Review: Keeping The Dead – Tess Gerritsen

Keeping the dead tess gerritsen

Rizzoli & Isles #7

SYNOPSIS: For untold years, the perfectly preserved mummy had lain forgotten in the dusty basement of Boston’s Crispin Museum. Now its sudden rediscovery by museum staff is both a major coup and an attention-grabbing mystery. Dubbed “Madam X,” the mummy–to all appearances, an ancient Egyptian artifact– seems a ghoulish godsend for the financially struggling institution. But medical examiner Maura Isles soon discovers a macabre message hidden within the corpse–horrifying proof that this “centuries-old” relic is instead a modern-day murder victim.

To Maura and Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli, the forensic evidence is unmistakable, its implications terrifying. And when the grisly remains of yet another woman are found in the hidden recesses of the museum, it becomes chillingly clear that a maniac is at large–and is now taunting them.

Archaeologist Josephine Pulcillo’s blood runs cold when the killer’s cryptic missives are discovered, and her darkest dread becomes real when the carefully preserved corpse of yet a third victim is left in her car like a gruesome offering–or perhaps a ghastly promise of what’s to come.

The twisted killer’s familiarity with post-mortem rituals suggests to Maura and Jane that he may have scientific expertise in common with Josephine. Only Josephine knows that her stalker shares a knowledge even more personally terrifying: details of a dark secret she had thought forever buried.

Now Maura must summon her own dusty knowledge of ancient death traditions to unravel his twisted endgame. And when Josephine vanishes, Maura and Jane have precious little time to derail the Archaeology Killer before he adds another chilling piece to his monstrous collection. – via Goodreads

GRADE 7Keeping The Dead was quite a fast paced, interesting read. It had eventful turns and twists, not always revolutionary, but put together well. I also liked the archaeological/Egyptian aspect to the book, as I have always been fascinated by these things. Each of the characters have some extreme personal issues raging, and each one of them is dealing in another way. It was nice for Barry Frost to get some more attention in this book as I find he is always a sturdy character that is somewhat overused. Naturally, there is Maura Isles and her tawdry love life, too, that is actually getting rather annoying, that she is portrayed as this strong woman and all that, but she is always up to silly shenanigans in her own time. Gerritsen also never really healed the rift between Jane and Maura in the last novel, and yet here they are perfectly fine again. Also, Gabriel only got about two lines in this book, which broke my heart. He really needs to be used more, and not as a tool from time to time to remind us that Jane is married and has a child. Anthony Sansone made an appearance again, but his “supernatural” claims just didn’t really sit well in this novel, though he is so interesting and definitely a character that I want more off. Gerritsen has certainly fallen into a great rhythm with the Rizzoli and Isles series, and I am always interested in reading more of them. Granted, not all the books are equal, but they are engaging, which is important in a book series. Keeping The Dead may have started a bit scattered, but the momentum built and ultimately came together quite nicely. The relationship dynamics between the characters are becoming far more convincing and makes for a more gripping novel. This was another solid entry to the series. For those who are interested, this book is also called The Keepsake.

Review: The Mephisto Club – Tess Gerritsen

mephisto-club cover tess gerritsen

Rizzoli & Isles #6

SYNOPSIS: PECCAVI
The Latin word is scrawled in blood at the scene of a young woman’s brutal murder: I HAVE SINNED. It’s a chilling Christmas greeting for Boston medical examiner Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli, who swiftly link the victim to controversial celebrity psychiatrist Joyce O’Donnell, Jane’s professional nemesis and member of a sinister cabal called the Mephisto Club.

On top of Beacon Hill, the club’s acolytes devote themselves to the analysis of evil: Can it be explained by science? Does it have a physical presence? Do demons walk the earth? Drawing on a wealth of dark historical data and mysterious religious symbolism, the Mephisto scholars aim to prove a startling theory: that Satan himself exists among us.

With the grisly appearance of a corpse on their doorstep, it’s clear that someone or something is indeed prowling the city. The members of the club begin to fear the very subject of their study. Could this maniacal killer be one of their own or have they inadvertently summoned an evil entity from the darkness?

Delving deep into the most baffling and unusual case of their careers, Maura and Jane embark on a terrifying journey to the very heart of evil, where they encounter a malevolent foe more dangerous than any they have ever faced . . . one whose work is only just beginning. – via Goodreads

GRADE 8.5The Mephisto Club is excellently written, and definitely my favourite in the series (and I read up until the last book or two, I must still catch up with those). There were times where I thought she was repeating things too often, but that didn’t detract from the story overall. The deaths were described as grisly, but Gerritsen never really went into too much detail. This made the murders important, but the focus lay in other areas of investigation, such as the importance of symbols. I found it a little annoying how, at the best of times, it sounded condescending that certain people didn’t know certain things, or how some pretty basic things (like inverted crosses, really now, 99.9% of people jump to a satanic conclusion, and they are all “investigating”, standing there wondering what the hell the markings were?!) were somehow not regular knowledge, which was a little difficult to swallow. I think if it was handled a little differently, it would have been different. Rizzoli is dealing with some serious home problems in this book, which occasionally threaten to spill into her job, although it did provide me with plenty entertainment. Maura has finally crossed that line with Father Daniel Brophy, something that was set up so many books ago and was inevitably going to happen. Maura, in her personal life, is such a weak character actually, which is a pity. When it comes to work, she is strong, bold, and yet in her personal life she is desperate for love, attention and approval from someone else, and it would be just like her to take it from a forbidden source. Joyce O’Donnell is back in this book, and is as unlikable a snake as ever. Ugh, that woman is like… evil that feeds on other people’s evil because she can’t necessarily do something terrible herself, but gets off on evil people sharing their nasty experiences in extreme detail with her. The Mephisto Foundation was very interesting, bringing in some fresh characters and a new outlook on things. While they harp on religion and the supernatural, the foundation was fascinating and its members highly intellectual, though they sounded like lunatics to anyone with too rational a mind. Anthony Sansone is a character with much potential. He is interesting and annoying in equal measure, which is a fine line for Gerritsen to balance, so let’s see how that goes. I honestly wish that Gabriel Dean had gotten some more time in this book, as he is a character I absolutely adore, but no such luck for me. It would seem t hat Vanish was his moment of glory, and now he has been relegated to father and husband who occasionally makes an appearance. The Mephisto Club is fast paced, highly intelligent, gripping and a truly great read that I would highly recommend.

Review: Vanish – Tess Gerritsen

Rizzoli & Isles #5

SYNOPSIS: A nameless, beautiful woman appears to be just another corpse in the morgue. An apparent suicide, she lies on a gurney, awaiting the dissecting scalpel of medical examiner Maura Isles. But when Maura unzips the body bag and looks down at the body, she gets the fright of her life. The corpse opens its eyes.

Very much alive, the woman is rushed to the hospital, where with shockingly cool precision, she murders a security guard and seizes hostages . . . one of them a pregnant patient, Jane Rizzoli.

Who is this violent, desperate soul, and what does she want? As the tense hours tick by, Maura joins forces with Jane’s husband, FBI agent Gabriel Dean, to track down the mysterious killer’s identity. When federal agents suddenly appear on the scene, Maura and Gabriel realize that they are dealing with a case that goes far deeper than just an ordinary hostage crisis.

Only Jane, trapped with the armed madwoman, holds the key to the mystery. And only she can solve it–if she survives the night. – via Goodreads

GRADE 7.5I must admit, this was infinitely better than that melodramatic Body Double that I read last. I was no fan of that, and you always worry the events of that book would spill over and infect the next one. Luckily for me though, this was not the case. Jane and Gabriel are married, doing alright, and she is literally almost about to pop out her baby. You wonder how this is all going to come together, I mean she is about to have a baby, what kind of case will Gerritsen get to pull this together? But she does, and in an exceptionally entertaining fashion, too. The whole kidnapping/hostage thing gave rise to an interesting and very sad story, to look at how these poor girls got forced into a life they do not want. The story flips between Jane in hostage crisis to her friends and family in the outside, desperate to figure out what is going on, and then to the perspective of a young Russian girl who has been forced into prostitution in a foreign country. Gabriel is also a character that I thoroughly enjoy, so I was pleased as punch for him to feature more prominently in Vanish, anything to read more than a few stray lines about him, he is fascinating! The story is very engaging, and catches you quite early and reels you in. The characters are more entertaining, and there isn’t so much of that exceptional melodrama from the last one (thank goodness). I know I harp on that point, but sheesh. It was enough to put me off of reading more in this series. Vanish is a fast read, and Gerritsen explores a dark, nasty side of people and human trafficking, painting enough to horrify you, but not going that far into things to just be gratuitously disgusting, which is a good balance. I can’t say too much about this book, in fear of spoilers, but I can say that this book is well worth the read.

Review: Body Double – Tess Gerritsen

body double cover2q

SYNOPSIS: Dr. Maura Isles makes her living dealing with death. As a pathologist in a major metropolitan city, she has seen more than her share of corpses every day–many of them victims of violent murder. But never before has her blood run cold, and never has the grim expression “dead ringer” rung so terrifyingly true. Because never before has the lifeless body on the medical examiner’s table been her own.

Yet there can be no denying the mind-reeling evidence before her shocked eyes and those of her colleagues, including Detective Jane Rizzoli: the woman found shot to death outside Maura’s home is the mirror image of Maura, down to the most intimate physical nuances. Even more chilling is the discovery that they share the same birth date and blood type. For the stunned Maura, an only child, there can be just one explanation. And when a DNA test confirms that Maura’s mysterious doppelgänger is in fact her twin sister, an already bizarre murder investigation becomes a disturbing and dangerous excursion into a past full of dark secrets.

Searching for answers, Maura is drawn to a seaside town in Maine where other horrifying surprises await. But perhaps more frightening, an unknown murderer is at large on a cross-country killing spree. To stop the massacre and uncover the twisted truth about her own roots, Maura must probe her first living subject: the mother that she never knew . . . an icy and cunning woman who could be responsible for giving Maura life–and who just may have a plan to take it away. – via Goodreads

GRADE 4This series was going so well, until we got to this book, that is. Ugh, it was so annoying and extremely melodramatic, typically something I was going to love, right? It drove me absolutely crazy the way Maura suddenly lost her identity upon discovering that she had a twin sister and questioned everything. I understand it is a shock to the system and all, but I was so over reading the back and forth between who she thought she was and how her sister was. It got old, fast. Meh. Naturally it would affect you, but hell man, it was so dramatic and ridiculous and I could feel my nerve jumping around my eye just reading the parts. It made her an incredibly weak, insecure character. She actually grated on me, something she has the potential to do from time to time, but never to this level. I also found it to be overly drawn out and exaggerated: the hunt for her sister’s whereabouts etc, knowing who she is through who her sister was… no thank you. Far too melodramatic and long winded, and took it right out of me to read. Okay, I will stop complaining about that now, because I can go on for ages. The sad thing is that there actually was a relatively decent story in here, though it only kicks in just over halfway through the book, and we finally move away from Maura’s constant agonizing and get more involved in the actual case, which has some decent points to it. Ballard’s character would have been fine, though he did feel forced, and there were quite a few loose ends when all was said and done in the book. Some things were just way too far-fetched and there were some wild coincidences all over the show here, I just couldn’t buy in to much of it, which counted against the novel for me. I missed Gabriel in this book, as I had been hoping for more interactions between him and Jane since they got married, and I also expected to have some more of Jane’s family feature seeing as she is pregnant, but no cigar my friend. I would have hoped that this would give some more character development to Jane and Maura, but it wasn’t really the case, either, and it was so much longer than it needed to be. It was a real empty and pointless experience to me, which is a pity because this is actually a decent series and I like Gerritsen’s work. But this was really not a good read, and not something I want to be repeating again anytime soon.