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

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: Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan

will grayson will grayson cover

Will Grayson is a teenager, one who is desperate not to be noticed in life. However, the world has other plans for him. His best friend, the friend he is shackled to in life and cannot get rid of is Tiny Cooper, an absolutely massive, loud, and proud homosexual football player. Recently he has gotten involved with the Gay Straight Alliance, which has widened his friend pool, distinctly leaving Will at the periphery of it. Through the GSA, Will meets Jane, Nick, and a few more friends. He is not particularly sure if he likes Jane or not, but the two bond over their mutual enjoyment of Neutral Milk Hotel, a band. Tiny is forever falling in and out of love, and with no exception, the trio goes out. Tiny gets totally smashed, and Jane and Will are left to get him home and safe without alerting his parents. Over his inert passed out body, Will notices that Jane is, in actual fact, really beautiful when she smiles. He does and does not like her, and the situation is exacerbated when Tiny tries to hook them up together. Jane feels a little embarrassed when she tries to kiss Will, who rejects her. Their relationship is complicated, and Will needs to decide whether or not he likes her. Tiny, on the other hand, is making invisibility really difficult for Will when he decides to have his  life’s story, his musical, Tiny Dancer, a reality this year.

will grayson is a depressed teenager. He is lonely, angry, bitter, and doing his best not to feel anything, though he is always inundated with emotions, really. He is a homosexual that is trying to come to terms with that, though to keep it hidden from everyone. will has fallen in love with a boy he met online named Isaac, someone who understands him, someone he identifies with. will is not sure that they will ever meet, but he is completely bonkers for Isaac. will is a total outsider, with his only actual “friend” so to speak being a goth girl named Maura at his school, who seems to really be interested in him, though naturally he is not reciprocating those feelings, being homosexual and all. Maura seems to get stuck on cross questioning will about his sexuality, which makes him uncomfortable, and he is desperate to be with and meet Isaac. One night, while chatting with Isaac, it is established that it is time they meet. will is thrilled and simply cannot wait. They agree to meet at Frenchy’s in Chicago, and will makes the arrangements with Isaac, spins his mother a story and gets Maura to cover for him with the mathletes.

In Chicago, both Will Graysons are about to meet, having a serious impact on their lives. Will 1 is angry because his fake ID was useless, so he cannot watch the band Maybe Dead Cats with Jane and Tiny, who leave him and go anyway. Will 1 arranged with the band to dedicate Jane’s favourite song to her using her locker combination. Trying to salvage the night and find a joke out of it, Will 1 goes to Frenchy’s, the porn store. Soon after he meets will 2 in there, who is surprised to find they share the same name. Heading out, Will 1 and will 2 sit in the streets, where will 2 is called by Maura. She confides in him that she is Isaac, and that it was all a joke. It seem that will 2 is about to have a melt down, and Will 1 gets Tiny Cooper out there, who spends some time with Will 2. Will 1 and Jane get to talking, and Will 1 is sure that he wants her, though he is peeved with Tiny because Jane is back with her ex-boyfriend, and Will 1 cannot have her anymore. In “typical male fashion”, he wants what he cannot have. Tiny and will 2 enter into a relationship together, so will 2’s life is not completely wrecked, though his friendship with Maura is. Going home, will 2 confesses to his mother that he is gay, and she accepts it. It becomes a thing at school when will 2 also comes out, and he befriends Gideon, another gay guy at school. Tiny’s production is in full swing, too, and he and Will 1 are having a few issues with each other.

Will Tiny’s play become a reality? Will his and will 2’s relationship work? Why did Maura do the things she did? Will will 2 ever let her explain herself? Will Will 1 and Jane ever get their issues sorted?

GRADE 8Elina said this was her favourite Green novel, so I had to check it out (you know me, taking recommendations and all, even if it takes me a while to get to them). I must say, I knew it involved two Will Graysons coming across each other, but I had no idea how this premise was going to be made interesting. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun with it. Again a quick read, but interesting as hell. I thought Maura was the biggest bitch of all time, and there is no excusing what she did. Knowing young gay teens and having met a few while I was still in my teens, I know that they deal with some heavy things and how big an issue coming out is for most of them. I have witnessed the ridiculous persecution they are subjected to, as well as the senseless rejection from parents and peers alike. I think it is so unnecessary, and thought that the authors captured that well. Not that that is the only central theme or anything, but I found it to be an important one. I almost had a stroke when I started chapter two and everything was in lower case, dialogue was strange, no inflection was insinuated or described, and I was thinking I had to get through a whole batch of chapters written like that. I thought the world was going to end. Odd chapters written as Will Grayson 1 and the correct style of writing, even numbers all written as will grayson 2, all lower case and sad. But in the end it is a stroke of genius. I can completely understand why it was written that way. Besides showing the differences between which Will we are dealing with, it also shows will grayson 2’s attitude, feelings, and perceptions. It really pushed the truth of his personality home, his sense of worthlessness, depression and loneliness, how much he thought of himself, etc. I thought that it played out very well. This book is focused on teenagers, and there were a few seconds of thinking what a bunch of whiny bastards they all are, but that is addressed, and relatively quickly. Again, there are lessons to be learned, characters to enjoy, situations to sink your teeth into and all of that. I thought that this was a fantastic pairing up between the authors, and that it was a great book for them, and definitely an enjoyable read. I am a fan of John Green, no two ways about it. I have read enough to know that he is really talented. His style makes me laugh, makes me sad, makes me identify. He writes well. This book was no exception, what with Levithan and Green managing to convey a whole array of emotions and feelings, from something hilarious, to something we all understand, to rejection, fear, exasperation… the whole spectrum is laid bare here. I would certainly recommend Will Grayson, Will Grayson.