It is safe to say that this book is as far from Alan Sugar as Polar Bears are from Penguins (Polar Bears being North and Penguins being South – so much for my childish notion of them frolicking together in a white wilderness!) This book is Gerritsens second in her Rizzoli and Isles series (yes them again!) and I have to say, with a clearly defined main character/s this is far better than her first. Rizzoli is now the main detective and although we do hear from St. Thomas (cough, Detective Moore), he is very much a background character and now Isles fills in the void that in the previous book, Rizzoli took up. Now, unlike the TV series, we see that they have never really talked/met before and are only vaguely aware of each other from the work place. However, this book is clearly where the first episode of the series of Rizzoli and Isles on TNT (now Alibi for UK fans) took its inspiration. If you have seen this Season 1 Episode 1 then you will know exactly what happens! It’s so similar, same phrases and lines are used from the book!
It starts off with Hoyt (from Book 1) now in Prison but clearly still in love with blood. A prison mate is killed in a quick attack and Hoyt is drawn to the blood and seems to almost draw energy from the red elixir. Hoyt seems to be looking for a similar minded person and finds no one, but he is determined to seek out his brethren and maybe gain… an Apprentice!
It cuts to Jane at a murder scene and we find that the murders are very similar to that of Hoyt and his mentor’s work. Now, we know Hoyt to be in prison, and we know that his mentor is dead, killed by his last victim’s hand; so this must be a copycat. Not good news when we know Hoyt wants to find a fellow killer. This becomes even more troubling when not only the FBI become involved, but Hoyt escapes from prison and leaves Rizzoli a message through the CCTV.
The FBI are typically tight lipped about the case, keeping the local PD in the dark, until Rizzolis tenacity wins her the trust of Agent Dean and she is let onto the secret of sheepdipping ( a secret military term) and finds the killer is a soldier.
Of course, Rizzoli and Isles piece together the evidence and then Rizzoli is abducted once more by Hoyt and his Apprentice and we come to the enthralling and heart stopping end.
Like I said earlier. I do prefer this one to Book 1. Having Maura Isles in the book and Jane Rizzoli as lead detective makes a much better duo than Moore and Rizzoli. Of course, the chemistry between the two is no where near what it is in the TV series, but they have only just seemed to have met and as time goes on (and as Gerritsen watches the TV show) we might find their connection growing. Hoyt is a fantastic bad guy. He epitomises everything you want in a psychotic serial killer (if you could want such a thing!) The end chapters are gripping and although Gerritsen had a little hill to climb with making Rizzoli a lot more likable after her rendition of her in Book 1, she manages to do so, making you worried, upset and anxious when Rizzoli is captured at the end. Dr. Maura Isles is a good edition to the book crew and you can really see Gerritsens knowledge of medicine come out through her (having previously worked in medicine). I give this book an 8/10. A clear step up from the last installment with room to improve, as after all, this is only the second book of a hopefully long series.
<– I don’t think Gerritsen meant this when she said ‘sheepdipping’!