Tag Archives: Rizzoli & Isles

The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen

Overview
Image result for book cover the mephisto club

Title: The Mephisto Club
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Series: Rizzoli & Isles #6
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Strong women
Dates read: 20th November 2018 – 28th February 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Bantam Books
Year: 2006
5th sentence, 74th page: The roads are a mess out there this morning.

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Synopsis

Can you really see evil when you look into someone’s eyes?

In a rundown house, a woman has been dismembered in an act of carnage that leaves veteran cops in shock. Drawn on the wall, in blood, are ancient symbols, and a mirror-image word in Latin that, translated, says: ‘I have sinned.’

Then a second woman is found butchered on Beacon Hill, just outside the home of the leader of the Mephisto Club, a secret society dedicated to the study of evil. On the door yet more ancient symbols have been scrawled. 88 This is evil that the Boston PD has never encountered before. And the only way Dr Maura Isles can defeat it is by turning to the people who understand the devil himself.

Thoughts

It took me a really long time to get through this book. And it isn’t because it wasn’t amazing… it was more so because I was so freaked out by the villains voice that I couldn’t read this at night. Or when my partner wasn’t likely to be home. Or really in any number of different circumstances, because I’d kind of freak out and feel extremely uncomfortable. Which, I still did. And this is also the reason that I love reading these types of books… they’re so real that I get goosebumps and the heebie jeebies just reading them.

All of Gerritsen’s villains have made me feel uncomfortable and unhappy whilst reading her stories. But, there was something about this villain that felt even more creepy. Probably because from the very beginning you could tell that he had an unhealthy, stalkerish obsession with his family members. The idea that he was welcomed into a home and then destroyed it from the inside out… well, it makes you even more horrified. The poor family that was just trying to do the right thing… and well, you’ll have to wait and see how truly badly off they were because of this one decision.

The Mephisto Club is everything that I love in a good crime thriller. It is full of mystery, fast-paced action and personal dramas that connect you further with the characters. It is impossible not to fall completely in love with everyone in this story and want the best for Rizzoli and Isles as they race to find the killer and discover the meaning of ‘I have sinned’.

 <- Vanish ReviewKeeping the Dead Review ->
Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Vanish by Tess Gerritsen

Overview

VanishTitle: Vanish
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Series: Rizzoli & Isles #5
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Strong women
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Transworld Publishers
Year: 2006
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘I’m here to visit a patient,’ said Maura.

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Synopsis

Stare death in the face

Forensice Pathologist Maura Isles unzips a body bag and gets the fright of her life. The corpse opens its eyes. The woman is rushed to hospital, where she murders a guard and seizes hostages, including a heavily pregnant Detective Jane Rizzoli.

No one knows who this woman is, or what she wants. Only Jane, trapped with the madwoman, can solve the mystery.

If she survives the night…

Thoughts

Even after reading the blurb, this story was NOTHING like what I expected. Which was wonderful. Rizzoli’s soon-to-be-born child and the way in which she copes with this is a heart rending storyline that travels along beautifully with the overarching tale of conspiracy, mystery and hostage taking. Again, Gerritsen’s use of altering points of views brings this story to life in a way that makes it completely impossible to put down.

The conspiracies, murder and hostage situation that is the main story had me chewing on my fingernails as I turned each page. Literally! The fact that Jane is forced to go through this whilst still pregnant, and Gabriel and Moira’s struggle to accept what is happening just makes the story all the more distressing. It is much easier to see their love for Rizzoli as they continuously lose their minds at her entrapment. Likewise, it is wonderful to see how much Gabriel truly loves his wife – their marriage is not just about her pregnancy, but also built upon their love and care for one another.

As someone who is often asked when I’m going to have children (and is also interested in pursuing her own career), the idea of having a baby is quite honestly terrifying. Rizzoli’s echo of this and her insecurity are a great reminder that there are many people who feel this way. Her confusion at motherhood and the fact that she is convinced that she is doing something wrong is one of the most reassuring things I have read in a story in a long time. It is a reminder that not all women are naturally maternal, and although Jane finally finds her own speed with motherhood, it does take a while for her to feel comfortable in this position.

<- Body Double Review The Mephisto Club Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Body Double by Tess Gerritsen

Overview

body-double

Title: Body Double
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Series: Rizzoli & Isles #4
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Strong women
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Transworld Publishers
Year: 2004
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘What else are you talking about?’

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Synopsis

It’s my body there on the table

Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles has dissected her fair share of corpses. But this time it’s different, because the victim looks exactly like her.

Detective Jane Rizzoli is assigned to investigate, and finds herself tracking a twisted killer across the country. To catch him, Maura is forced to delve into a dark and dangerous family history – her own.

Blood ties are the hardest to escape…

Thoughts

The nature versus nurture debate has fascinated me ever since I first heard of it in my first year of University. Is it our genetics which define who we will be, or is it the way in which we are bought up? Personally, I’ve always believed that it is a mix of the two, but the discussion and the extent to which aspect of ourselves has the most impact is always an interesting one. One which Gerritsen explores beautifully through Maura Isle’s parentage in Body Double.

Maura’s discovery of her previously unknown twin sister is one of the best ways imaginable to investigate the nature versus nurture debate. It has been found that identical twins that are separated at birth do have a tendency to have the same tastes, follow similar career paths and generally have quite similar lives. This was eerily evident in Gerritsen’s writing, Maura’s gradual discovery of this and discomfort at the fact a testimony to how truly unsettling this would be to a person who has always thought themselves different and independent – a virtual stranger walking around, wearing their face, their clothes, living almost the same life.

Gerritsen’s creation of a mother who is as sick and sadistic as Isles’ provides a great counterpoint to the twin connection which Maura feels. Somebody who is embroiled in the midst of many murders and feels no remorse for her actions is so starkly against the character that we know and love. It is a poignant reminder, that regardless of our genetics, our circumstances even, it is the choices we make as humans that turn us into the person we are and choose to be. Something which, eventually, even Maura chooses to acknowledge.

<- The Sinner Review Vanish Review ->
Image source: Amazon

The Sinner by Tess Gerritsen

Overview

the-sinner

Title: The Sinner
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Series: Rizzoli & Isles #3
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Strong women
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Transworld Publishers
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘Thanks.’

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

A scene of unspeakable carnage

Two nuns are brutally attacked within the walls of their convent. There seems to be no shred of motive. but during the autopsy Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles discovers something entirely unexpected.

And when a second, heavily mutilated body is found and linked to the case, she and Detective Jane Rizzoli find themselves in the midst of a terrifying investigation that seems to implicate everyone.

Because who can really say they’re free from sin?

Thoughts

The first two Rizzoli & Isles books deal almost exclusively with Rizzoli, so it is really refreshing and nice to understand crime from the point of view of an ME. Maura is the complete opposite of Rizzoli, although both women are fighting for respect and their own place in a man’s world. The ‘Queen of the Dead’, like Jane has her own hang-ups, her own past and her own battles to fight within the male dominated society.

There is something that is inherently wrong with the brutal attack of nuns. Regardless of my (or anyone else’s) religious beliefs, attacking a woman who has cloistered herself away from the world for life seems incredibly wrong. The horror of the attacks just furthers the injustice of the world. Especially when those attacked are elderly and unable to defend themselves at all.

Rizzoli is incredibly rigid and unyielding in her actions and beliefs, that much is obvious in the first two books. The Sinner delves further into her rigidity and inability to compromise. It investigates her familial life and past, why her daily struggle to hold her own is so personal and professional at the same time. I loved delving into this aspect of Jane’s life – it is a great reminder that as a parent, your words and actions can have far larger effects than one would realise.

<- The Apprentice Review Body Double Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Top 16 Books of 2016

2016 was a good year for me – I got to read a lot of books, both new and old. So here is a list of my favourite sixteen reads for this year.

falling-pomegranate-seeds16. Falling Pomegranate Seeds by Wendy J. Dunn
This is the first historical fiction that I have ever had the privilege of reading, and it has almost made me a convert. The topic is dense and heart-wrenching, but there is such a strength to the characters, that you can’t help but fall in love. The fact that Dunn used real historical figures to create her masterpiece of women’s rights, the relationships of mothers and daughters and a beautiful tale of coming of age just added to the poignancy of this tale.

skinwalker15. Skinwalker by Faith Hunter
I loved the new take on Native American skinwalkers in this story. The fact that it primarily focused on a woman of a minority culture was a great added bonus. To add to the great basis of fantasy, this story was dark and slightly twisted, but frankly honest about it’s chief protagonist – she was never painted as pure, but rather as a flawed human being.

 

Wickedly Powerful14. Wickedly Powerful by Deborah Blake
I found this series this year, and it completely changed my previously sceptical view on paranormal romance. Of the three books and five stories, this was by far my favourite. The lead Baba Yaga in this tale was far pricklier and more awkward around people than the others, and the love interest was a victim of mental illness – PTSD. This combined to create a beautiful love story with a potent message about PTSD that I cherished.

haunted13. Haunted by Kelley Armstrong
I love the Women of the Otherworld series – the heroines are not in any way, shape or form innocent and “good”. At least as books traditionally portray people. Instead they have their own challenges in life and difficulties. Eve Levine of Haunted has so far been my favourite of these characters. She is dead, but that doesn’t stop her from constantly attempting to help and guard her young daughter. This at the beginning of the story appears to be her only redeeming aspect, and as the story progresses, the true depth of her character is slowly revealed. It is a story that will make you fall in love with a flawed woman and this series again and again and again.

Raelia12. Raelia by Lynette Noni
A great sequel to the first Medoran Chronicles story, Raelia is all about the choices that we make. The storyline in this is so much more intense which is why I rated it slightly above the first book in the series, Akarnae. The ability of this story to capture my attention was immensely impressive, and I am constantly double checking what the release date for the next book in the series is.


The One11. The One by Kiera Cass
This story can make anyone believe in true love again. It is the sweetest, most charming love story I have ever read. Although, it doesn’t go over board with the sappy factor. The dystopian future setting helps to create a more fantastical and enhanced world than our own, which I thoroughly enjoyed and the creation of the caste system seriously made me question how I view and judge others. However, it is America and Maxon’s dance of romance that truly had me hooked and this story let me find out how their negotiation of love ended.

bad-blood10. Bad Blood by Lucienne Diver
I have an obsession with mythology, so any story or series that does a good job of recreating one of the ancient mythologies is going to get my attention. However, Diver’s approach to this was so completely unique that I was mesmerised from the first page. The sass and smart-mouthed attitude of the lead only added to my very quick falling for this series. As did her unique ancestry.

 

Kicking It9. Forked Tongues by Rachel Caine
This was one of the best short stories that I read this year – it combined fantasy with a strong woman and love. Not an easy combination to throw into less than one hundred pages. The image of a Cowboy Witch has stuck in my head since I read this months ago. A great, easy read to bunker down with for half hour or so.

 

 

body-double8. Body Double by Tess Gerritsen
The best crime book that I have read this year by far. Not only is it a tale of spine-tingling criminal acts, but it also investigates the nature versus nurture debates – one of my favourite intellectual discussions. Maura’s slow discovery of who she comes from and who she is highlights this, but it also reminds us that we are who we choose to be, not who other people want us to be. The strength of both Maura and Jane throughout the story is astonishing and admirable – it is so easy to imagine them walking around the streets of Boston.

night-shift7. Night Shift edited by Nalini Singh
A great way to find new authors and series is anthologies, which was partly why I bought this collection. I didn’t know that it would introduce me to one of my favourite series. Not one of these four short stories was even remotely tedious, and it was incredibly difficult to decide which author I wanted to read more of. The variety in the stories was enough that they were fascinating tales, but the underlying themes present in all of them still tied the anthology together nicely.

Queen of Shadows6. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
The Throne of Glass series is such an epic tale of war, love, loss and inner strength, so any book in this series could make it onto this list. However, I loved Queen of Shadows the most because Aelin is able to truly embrace her future and role in life. She is also able to find someone who sees her for who she is and truly accept the fact. One battle in this series is finally over, but a much, much larger one is looming in the future.

black-wings5. Black Wings by Christina Henry
So much sass and blundering in this story, which is probably why I love it so much. There is something that I find so relatable about an uncoordinated heroine that makes me fall in love with a story – probably because I myself am more than a little accident prone. The use of old lore such as Gremlins and Fallen Angels was also a unique spin on a tale of paranormal fantasy.

 

lirael4. Lirael by Garth Nix
I have always felt insanely connected to the character of Lirael in Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series. She doesn’t quite belong with the people she calls family, and is always an outcast. Even after she finds her true calling in life, she walks a lonely path and isn’t quite able to relate to her peers. Yet, for all of that, I don’t think that her story is a sad one, rather one about finding out who you are and how you fit in the world. And realising that not everyone is going to fit in with others very well.

on-the-prowl3. Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs
I have been in love with Patricia Briggs for a long time now, but there is something about the novella Alpha and Omega that holds my attention every single time. Anna and Charles truly have love and first sight, but it has such a great twist to it. Add to that the fact that they both have some pretty serious inner demons, and it is a really sweet tale of overcoming the odds and finding that perfect fit in your life. Even if it is the last fit that you would expect.

magic-breaks2. Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
It was so incredibly difficult to choose a favourite story in the Kate Daniels series. I’ve loved every single tale and would check the post office religiously when a new book was going to be delivered. However, I think that this is a good selection. Kate and Curran are not only battling for the children of their people, but they are also being forced to deal with the challenges of a new relationship. I got so emotionally invested in this story that I actually threw it across the room whenever it bothered me.

mine-to-possess1. Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh
Tales of paranormal romance are a new genre to me, and this series is a GREAT introduction. Like the Kate Daniels series, it was incredibly hard to find a favourite, but ultimately, this is the book that I found the sweetest and continue to think about. Aside from the rest of the developing Psy-Changeling drama, the story of Clay and Tally is what a lot of people dream of. Finding that one person in childhood who will always be yours – someone who is able to always understand you on an entirely different level.

So there you have it, my favourite stories from my reading list for 2016. I can’t wait to find some more great tales in the new year!

Feature image source: Now! Bali
Image 1 source: Amazon
Image 2 source: Amazon

Image 3 source: Deborah Blake
Image 4 source: Goodreads
Image 5 source: Lynette Noni
Image 6 source: Wikia
Image 7 source: Goodreads
Image 8 source: Penguin
Image 9 source: Amazon
Image 10 source: Audiobooks
Image 11 source: Live Journal
Image 12 source: Christina Henry
Image 13 source: Garth Nix
Image 14 source: Patricia Briggs
Image 15 source: Ilona Andrews
Image 16 source: Pinterest

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

Overview

The Surgeon

Title: The Surgeon
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Series: Rizzoli & Isles #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Strong women
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Transworld Publishing
Year: 2001
5th sentence, 74th page: Oh, she got along fine with Barry Frost, despite his irritatingly sunny disposition.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

A killer is targeting lone women, torturing and murdering them. The precision of his methods leads Detective Jane Rizzoli to suspect he is medically trained.

The Jane makes a terrifying discovery. Years ago a young woman was assaulted in a similar way. She escaped by shooting her attacker dead.

So why does it feel like he’s stalking her again?

Thoughts

As seems to be a recurring theme for me lately, I decided to read The Surgeon because I love the TV show Rizzoli & Isles. And, I really wasn’t disappointed. Like all good remakes of books, the storylines were recognisable, but still different enough that I had absolutely no idea what was about to happen. Needless to say, it was a great read and a total page turner.

It was obvious throughout the book that Gerritsen had a great grasp of medicine and criminal pathology. To the point that when reading from the point of view of the unsub, I would get goose bumps. It also led to some more terrifying dreams than I am used to. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I loved the character of Jane Rizzoli. She was tough and driven, but also a little vulnerable and struggling to keep her place in a “man’s world”. Her struggles and insecurities in this made her one of the most realistic heroines that I have read in a long time.

The pace of the story took a little while to get used to – flicking between four entirely different people’s points of view sometimes within a chapter is something that I am not used to. Although, this technique created a wonderfully rounded and detailed story that had me yearning for the next book in a matter of moments.

The combination of criminal pathology, and the resulting emotions of their victims was more powerful than I could have imagined. I’m fascinated by the ways in which socio- and psychopaths think and rationalise their actions, but, I had never given a huge amount of thought to the effect of their actions upon the victims’ mentality. Probably because it is all too easy to imagine myself in their shoes. But the tale of Cordell and her ability to survive was not only deeply moving, it was also inspiring. It reminded me that our lights can shine the brightest in the darkest of places.

<- More crime reviews The Apprentice Review ->
Image source: Amazon

The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen

Overview

The Apprentice

Title: The Apprentice
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Series: Rizzoli & Isles #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Strong women
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Transworld Publishing
Year: 2002
5th sentence, 74th page: Kind of like a brush.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

He’s learned from the best

A series of horrific murders seem disturbingly familiar to Detective Jane Rizzoli. They remind her and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles of those committed by a killer known as the Surgeon, who they recently put behind bars.

While they’re still trying to track down the new killer, the unthinkable happens: the Surgeon escapes. Suddenly, Jane is chasing not one but two brilliant and twisted minds, united by one goal…

To perfect their skills on the woman who’s hunting them.

Thoughts

I loved this follow-up to The Surgeon. For starters, the storyline followed flawlessly, and there were the first glimpses of the cracks in Rizzoli’s armour. Dr. Isles was also introduced in this book as an aloof and vague character, since the series is called Rizzoli and Isles, I assume that she will play a far larger role in books to come.

Agent Dean was the exact opposite to every male that Rizzoli has worked with. And I liked that his character was able to completely put her at odds and even question some of her own motives. I always love flawed heroines, and using another character to show some of the cracks in their self-assurance is a tactic that worked beautifully. It also helped that Agent Dean was Jane’s polar opposite, and a great reminder of how well opposites can work together.

Gerritsen has a masterful grasp of the victimisation and mentality of the men who prey upon women. Not only their psychology, but also the victims themselves – even those who don’t want to be a victim. I loved this aspect of her writing, and it was this that made her work truly spin tinglingly brilliant.

 <- The Surgeon Review The Sinner Review ->
Image source: Amazon