Tess Gerritsen’s Die Again is out today from Ballantine Books.
Today, Hartford Books Examiner reviews Die Again (Ballantine Books, $27.00) by Tess Gerritsen.
The twelfth entry in the bestselling Rizzoli & Isles series—which also serves as the basis for TNT’s hit drama—Die Again marks Gerritsen’s first new release since Last To Die (2012). She has also written six standalone novels of suspense. This particular book’s plot was inspired by the author/physician’s recent experiences on safari, though events were dramatized for the purpose of fiction.
As the story opens, Boston detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles are summoned to a crime scene in which the victim, hunter and taxidermist Leon Gott, has been eviscerated as if by a beast. Turf wars and other professional pissing matches ensue, and Dr. Isles, who believes there may be a connection between this homicide and a plethora of other deaths over a span of both place and time, finds herself the subject of ridicule and doubt. Even Rizzoli is skeptical of her friend’s theory, though she pushes the investigation forward as the body count continues to rise.
Meanwhile, a parallel storyline unfolds in which a group of tourists on safari in Botswana fall prey to predator (or predators) unknown. While the wild animals of the bush appear to be the obvious culprits, suspicion grows within the group that an animal of the human kind may be responsible for the bloodshed. These ill-fated adventurers are picked off one by one, with a lone survivor escaping into life as a recluse. Six years later, past and present collide as she is called upon to draw out a sadistic killer once and for all. It’s an ambitious undertaking—not to mention a terrifying glimpse into the darkest recesses of the mind—but one that the author pulls off with absolute authority.
Though Gerritsen’s science is always top-notch, and her mysteries multi-layered and complex, it’s her characters that form the very heart of the series. Rizzoli & Isles continue to resonate as intelligent, strong-minded women living in a world that’s still very much dominated by an old boys network mentality. Beyond professional camaraderie, the two bond over shared history and ongoing issues of a personal nature: here, Rizzoli’s mother has unhappily reconciled with her philandering husband while Isles’ birthmother has insinuated herself back into Maura’s life by way of some game-changing news. It’s these quieter moments that both solidify the depth of their relationship and reveal the human frailties that underlie their more heroic qualities.
Longtime fans will rejoice at Tess Gerritsen’s triumphant return with Die Again, while newcomers may very well be awed by her breadth as a storyteller. Though some series grow stunted with age, Rizzoli & Isles continue to evolve gracefully—and Gerritsen masterfully compliments her characters’ existence on the page with their celluloid alter-egos. Readers: Don’t be surprised if you find yourselves helpless to resist the author’s many charms …
A review copy of Tess Gerritsen’s Die Again was provided by Ballantine Books.