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Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen – a review

last to die

Last to Die is the latest in the Rizzoli and Isles series. In this story, Maura Isles is taking a holiday to go and visit the young boy Rat (now called Julian) who helped save her life in a previous book. Unfortunately as always with books no holiday is ever straight forward, and Isles is soon caught up in Rizzoli’s latest case. Three children were orphaned in violent circumstances and a few years later a similar fate befalls their foster families. These three survivors end up at Evensong, a school for children who have suffered violence. This school is run by the bizarre Memphisto Club, an underground Masonic type group who use their considerable wealth to try and fight evil (a bit like batman!)

I’m a big fan of Tess Gerritsen and especially the Rizzoli and Isles pairing. Whilst I don’t think this was one of her best books, it is still pretty good. As usual the plot is relatively complicated, but this is one of the pleasures of reading a book by this writer. This book seemed a little slower than usual, but I think that was a deliberate ploy to emphasis the change in location. The pace of life in the middle of a city surrounded by people would obviously be faster than in a school that is completely isolated and surrounded by fences.

The relationship between Isles and Julian also seems to change the dynamics of the plot and made Isles seem softer. There is much less medical detail than in previous stories, and by changing the location the usual family background from Rizzoli’s side is missing with the husband and child only being given token mentions. There is a bit of comic relief in the form of a bridesmaid dress though!

The school where the three children (and therefore Rizzoli and Isles) end up is a boarding school and it did feel a little bit to me like it was the start of an Enid Blyton style series. The school has a club called the Jackals who are fascinated by forensic science and manage to help Rizzoli and Isles solve the crime. It would be a good basis for a new teenage set of books, which may indeed be her aim.

Like I say this isn’t her best, but whilst I wouldn’t recommend this as a first delve into Tess Gerritsen’s novels, for those readers who know a bit of the background to the series and like the style its another good story.

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Bloodstream by Tess Gerritsen – A review

This book has been sat on my bookshelf for quite a well, as she technically wasn’t part of the TOPCWFC but I recently found it in the pile so got stuck in.

After her husband’s death, Dr Claire Elliot moves to the small town of Maine, with her teenage son. She hopes that relocating to this small quiet town will be a good opportunity for her son to put his past indiscretions behind him and for them both to make a new start with her running the towns medical practice. As with all good stories unfortunately it doesn’t quite work out like that. Not long after they arrive her son’s school mates start murdering each other and it soon becomes clear that things are not quite what they seem. People are quick to blame the fact the children are just bad, and it takes a while before the town link what’s happening now to a similar event 100 years previously.

This was not a Rizzoli and Isles book, which as I’d just finished watching the fantastic tv series of the same name did disappoint me a little, I really should read the blurb on the back a bit more. I am a big fan of Tess Gerristen and we saw her talk during the festival in Harrogate in 2011. So I hate to say it, but I didn’t think this novel was one of her best. The story was not particularly original, and could almost have been called Erin Brockovich.

However I think that Tess Gerritsen is such a skilled writer, she still manages to create tension and intrigue, and leaves you guessing the outcome right til the last few pages. I must admit that I did skip over some of the lengthy medical descriptions as they were a little long, but then the main character of the book was a doctor so its to be expected and the one of the authors skills is being able to intermingle medical knowledge, with suspense.

Half way through I got some Stephen King flashes (at the risk of upsetting people everywhere I’m afraid I’ve never managed to finish a Stephen King novel, not saying they are not good. I just get a bit lost) and I began to think that the story was heading to the dark side. But I’m glad to say that as ever Tess Gerritsen did not disappoint.

All in all I would say its definitely worth a read, but wouldn’t rush to read it twice. I am however looking foward to the next Rizzoli and Isles outing.

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