Tag Archives: Random House

Vanish – Tess Gerritsen

Moving back on track to book reviews after my little excited foray into film, I shall carry on with the Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen. This next instalment into our dynamic duo’s lives could easily be seen on the big screen. After films such as Taken, Taken 2, 12 Years a Slave and The Call abduction and slave trade type films have been quite prevalent in the film making world. This book jumps onto this bandwagon excellently and takes you along for the ride.

Plot

We first start off in Mexico where some Eastern European girls are being transported to the border. Already we sense something is not quite right, as do the girls (and our main girl Mila) who are still clinging onto the story they had been fed back home, that they were going to work as maids for rich people. Once across the border, we see how wrong their assumptions were. Men have arrived and begin to bid on the girls, deciding who gets whom. Mila’s best friend complains and we see her get raped by the men. She runs after this and is shot down. Mila now realises that escape is futile.

Cut to Maura Isles in the lab finishing up an autopsy when she hears a noise. She follows it to the refrigerators and finds a body still alive. Quickly she rushes her to the hospital.

Jane Rizzoli is now heavily pregnant and slightly overdue. She is a witness in a case and the ‘bad guy’ begins to resist the security guards. Jane being Jane tackles the man, subduing him resulting in her waters breaking. This leads her being taken to the hospital to deliver her baby.

Scarily, the lady whom Maura found alive in the autopsy room escapes her room and takes over the hospital, including taking hostages, one of which is Jane. This leads us down the road of slavery, corruption and stubbornness until we get to the gripping finale.

Opinion

This was an excellent read. Some of it was hard to read, rape is not an easy subject to encounter in any form. The fact that this story is true for so many girls is what makes it the most heartbreaking. Steve McQueen in his BAFTA acceptance speech mentions “there are 21 million people in slavery as we sit here”. If this book, like 12 Years a Slave can, at all, contribute to the awareness that this still occurs and we must do something about it to save these people then more writers and more film makers should be making us aware of it.

Enough of the heavy stuff! Overall this book was brilliant. Like the others before it, Gerritsen’s writing is superb. The knowledge she brings to the table through Maura Isles is sublime. Gabriel’s love of his wife and unborn child is deliciously portrayed and Jane’s stubbornness never changes making her a very believable and ultimately loveable character. I hope we see more of Father Brophy soon as I am riveted by that story line!

I shall give this story a slightly higher mark than its brethren due mainly to the importance behind such a story and message. My verdict: 9/10. Go on give it a read!

 

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Body Double – Tess Gerritsen

Yes fair readers, another Tess Gerritsen book! Rizzoli and Isles are back in the Body Double and we find out more about Maura Isles in this instalment. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the Rizzoli and Isles series and I am glad that there is a new one out for me to sink my teeth into.

Plot

We start off in Paris, with Dr. Isles on a conference. (I sure wish my work took me to Paris for conferences!) When she returns home, she finds her street completely cut off with police. Obviously curious as to what has occurred, she enters into the throng of police to discover a dead woman outside her house. While this in itself is a horrifying discovery, Maura finds herself to be seeing a woman whom is identical to her. This literally is a body double.

We have know since The Apprentice that Dr. Isles has been adopted but it is only now that we explore this avenue of her life. It seems she was put up for adoption with her twin sister for the price of $20,000 each. Quite a sum of money. It also turns out that her biological mother is currently serving a life sentence in a woman’s prison for the murder of two women, one of which was pregnant. Under the insanity plea, Maura’s mum is given a lighter time of it by the wardens but Maura is able to see past this mask into the intelligent eyes of an abused murderer.

Meanwhile, a pregnant woman with a toe-rag of a husband is kidnapped and put inside a box and buried. However, she is left with food, water, air and light meaning this clearly isn’t you every day usual psychopath. A pregnant Jane Rizzoli is trying to piece together the mystery of Maura’s sister, the disappearance of a pregnant lady and the development of a 45 year old crime scene within a house that Maura’s sister had rented.

Opinion

I have said this in the previous book. I love this series. The characters are interesting and well thought out and each story gives you a personal insight into each of their lives. Father Brophy is still around in this book and hints at possibilities for future books.

Gerritsen tackles quite sensitive issues, this one of adoption and pregnancy and how our actions can affect future generations. Jane’s nemesis of Hoyt is mentioned again and it is good to see the continuity with little comments like Jane makes throughout this book. It helps make the die-hard fans feel special when they notice these things.

Again, Gerritsen’s knowledge of medical history is noticeable throughout the series and this book. The friendship between Rizzoli and Isles is growing and we can see that they are getting to be firmly in the friend category, even as far as Rizzoli offering her couch to Isles when her life is possibly in danger. All exciting developments for future books!

My verdict: 8.5/10. Same as the last instalment and hopefully this trend shall continue!

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The Sinner – Tess Gerritsen

I have recently browsed over my old posts and noticed something amiss. I have only 7 posts in the crime category. This was surely not right so I double checked. But no, only 7 posts. Yet I have read more than that in my lifetime so today I shall be rectifying this problem, starting with the re-reading of Rizzoli and Isles series. For those of you who have seen the rise of this blog from its humble beginnings (and still humble present) may have noticed that I declared this blog to be more of a crime book review site. Obviously, in the past two years this has not been the case so I shall crack on with the 3rd in Gerritsen’s series, The Sinner.

Plot

We start of with a man. A man in a taxi. Not much else is known except for the fact that he is making the taxi go onto a dirt track. The taxi driver seems reluctant to carry on and tells the man that he is now walking to his destination. A seemingly natural thing for a taxi man to do who is trying to save the underside of his car. However, this destination seems to have brought on terror for the taxi man and as our man leaves to head off into the wilderness, we can only hope for the best. As it is, this hope is truly shattered when we see him taking pictures of an area that has seen devastation.

Enter into present day and we find Dr. Maura Isles working on a post-mortem of a man who seemingly died from a heart attack. During this, Detective Jane Rizzoli calls, meaning one thing; a body has been found. Isles journeys to a convent where we find a nun has been murdered and another is in need of quick medical care.

We later discover that the dead nun had given birth to a still born and that the other nun is currently fighting for her life. It seems to be apparent who the intended target was, the father of this still born being the obvious murderer. However, we discover that the nun in the hospital had been previously working overseas in a leprosy village and it had been massacred.

Isles is called to another murder, seemingly not connected and finds a lady whose hands, feet and face had been taken away. A horrific murder. The type of bullet used on the ‘Rat Lady’ results in the FBI getting involved and once again Agent Dean is back in Boston, with a now pregnant Rizzoli.

Isles’ ex-husband, Victor, arrives back into her life and she ends up falling back into her adulterous husbands arms. However, she seems to have an attraction to the unattainable priest who is involved in the convent case.

Rizzoli and Isles piece together this mystery and we end up with Isles fighting for her life.

Opinion

I love these books. I have to really separate them from the TV series but little things connect them. It is amazing how many names and characters are used throughout both types of entertainment. My bias aside, this is a great book. The title is excellently chosen as nearly everyone is this book can be accused of Sinning amongst its pages.

The plot is fantastically woven and no question left unanswered. Rizzoli and Isles are fantastic characters who seem to be developing into friends as well as work colleagues, hopefully leaving it open to some great, off the case banter (or am I just hoping for the TV banter?).

Having said that, I do find the whole storyline of a policewoman and FBI Agent romance to be a little old school. Hopefully Gerritsen brings back the priest because that would cause an excellent upset for Isles. I also think it strange that a priest be brought into this series when there is a priest in 2nd Chance too. I know that I could be reading too much into them but as Angie Harmon has acted as both the lead detectives in both TV series’ I almost put these books together.

My verdict 8.5/10: All in all a great read and I cannot wait to read the next one!

Lindsey Boxer                            Jane Rizzoli

 

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Eldest – Christopher Paolini

Hello! This is the 2nd book in the Inheritance cycle. I gave the last one a 9 and it takes a lot to follow that. This book isn’t quite as good as Eragon but I think that is more my problem, not the books.

Plot

We follow on from where the last book ended. Eragon has just saved the Varden from the demise they were looking likely to have had if it weren’t for the Dragon Rider. He is however crippled now from becoming the Shadeslayer and then the leader of the Varden in killed and three people kidnapped. Eragon needs to learn how to be a true Dragon Rider so he travels to the Elf Land, Ellesmera where he meets the Cripple Who is Whole we met at the end of “Eragon”. Eragon and Saphira learn they are not as alone as they first believed.

Paolini also follows Eragon’s cousin, Roran. His beloved, Katrina, is kidnapped and he realises that the only way to save her and his village is to relocate them all to the Varden. We see how hard a task this is, but as much as Eragon got the mythical power, Roran got the soldier and leader power. He saves his villagers, convinces them to go to the Varden, fights alongside them, steals a ship and safely gets them to the Varden all so he can rescue Katrina.

In the end, the two cousins meet again and are both involved in a massive battle for the Varden, resulting in a shocking end.

Opinion

This book was following a very strong start to the series and I believe Paolini struggled slightly. He was originally trying to make this saga to be a trilogy and it shows via how much information he was trying to put into this one so he could finish it in the next. This means that too much information is put into our heads and unlike the last one, where we developed and learned at Eragon’s pace, it always seemed to be one step ahead of me. While I did like the introduction to Roran and Nasuada focused chapters, I found there to be too many and was in a hurry to return to the main story-line. For me that was where Lord of the Rings fell down, and Paolini was veering too near that precipice. I mentioned in my last post on Eragon that as a whole, the series only needed the odd chapter culling and it is mainly within this book that this could happen. The pacing is off compared to the others, seemingly dragging its feet, and little occurs quickly. It’s seem Paolini wants the reading to take as long as the adventure.

However, in its plus’s, Paolini adds depth to many characters. Nasuada and Ayra are strong female characters and we learn more about them and respect them more within this book. Neither are damsels in distress. The connection between Eragon and Saphira is sublime as usual. I stated before that this connection really drew you into the story and it carried on to do so. Their fights, nit-picking, loyalty, humour, opinions and views are both portrayed beautifully and makes you believe it is real, which when you’re talking about a Dragon, is a real tribute to Paolini’s writing.

The actual core story-line is strong it’s just how often we digress from this that is the problem. The twists and turns are outstanding and although I suspected a similar ending, I was shocked, sad and understanding of the finale. It does set up the next book well and does make you want to learn more about Eragon’s world.

All in all, this is still a great read with plenty of action, plot turns and information to intrigue and delight. It just drags and you do notice the time passing when reading. For this, I give the book a 7.5. Not as good as the last but still a solid performance. For me the weakest of the four. And as I said last time, I do give one of these books a ten so watch out!

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Ancient Chinese Secret

This is a review about Tess Gerritsen’s Book 9 in her Rizzoli and Isles. Apologies in the leap of 7 books but I will catch up to this soon! Hope you enjoy it from the blog “Writing Secrets of 7 Scribes

Welcome to Thursday, Scribe friends.  Suze here.  I don’t often write book reviews, and I’ll tell you why.  Since I started writing my own novels, I don’t have as much time to read as I used to, and I don’t enjoy reading as much either.  Sad, but true.

See, now that I know about things like story structure, and character development, and voice, and point of view, I automatically apply that knowledge to whatever else I’m reading.  Used to be, I either liked a book, or I didn’t.  It was that simple.  Now, it’s been a while since a book really grabbed me, and I’m just not going to leave a bad review for anybody, no matter how strongly I feel about the book.  And I do have my opinions!  I’m happy to report, though, that Tess Gerritsen’s latest, THE SILENT GIRL, is a grabber.  I couldn’t put it down.  My only criticism of this book?  Too short.  I didn’t want it to end.

I’ve been a big fan of Tess ever since I heard her speak a couple of years ago.  Since then, I’ve read most of her work, and I think she’s one of the very, very few  huge-name authors out there whose work is actually getting better as her series progresses.  One of the ways she keeps the Rizzoli and Isles books fresh is by featuring two protagonists.  In one book, Maura Isles, the medical examiner, has the main storyline.  In the next, Jane Rizzoli, the Boston cop, takes the lead.  Along the way, their paths cross, and the reader never gets tired of either character.  Personally, I think it’s brilliant.

In THE SILENT GIRL, we meet another unforgettable woman in Iris Fang, a middle-aged, sword-wielding martial arts expert bent on finding out the truth about her daughter’s disappearance.  Add in an ancient Chinese legend about The Monkey King, a possibly supernatural killing in Boston’s Chinatown, a decades-old murder-suicide, the involvement of the Irish Mob, and some tough and dangerous police work by homicide detective and mom Jane Rizzoli, and I guarantee you are going to love this book.

So what’s your Scribes Secret today?  You want to learn how to craft a darn-near perfect plot?  You want to learn how to write darn-near perfect dialogue?  You want to learn how to pace your story?  You want to learn how to write characters that stay with you long after you close the book, and leave you longing for more?  Then you want to read THE SILENT GIRL.


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Eragon – Christopher Paolini

Hello and welcome to the New Year! Depending one which Religion/Cult/Ancient Society you follow, this year could well be the end of the world! Things to look forward to if your British or a huge sports fan is the 2012 London Olympics! Yey! Or if your cynical, to remark at how much money we have spent when we are in an economic crises! Take your pick.

Well for my first review of the year I thought I would go for a little change. Bar my first, my reviews have been Rizzoli and Isles and Women’s Murder Club based. I fancied a different book saga this time and so my favourite non crime saga came to mind. “Eragon” by Christopher Paolini. Now. Yes it is a teen fiction book but no more than Harry Potter or Twilight are one either. Though in my defence I was a teen when I read the first one. Paolini was just 16 when he wrote the first novel and was published and although the fact his parents own a publishing company does take the edge of this great achievement, it still is an achievement. Just because it is easier to be published does not mean you have a good book. It can just mean that your absolute drivel of a book is now in print (a bit like this blog!) Luckily, it isn’t drivel. If you like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and any other magical, mystical, mythical type books then this is the one for you. The main character is Eragon, a nobody from the back-end of no where with no prospects. However, he is happy. He is carefree and his greatest ambition is to be a good farmer to help his uncle. He doesn’t know who is father is and his mother is somewhat unknown, bar the fact she is the sister of his uncle. His pride in life is his tracking and hunting skills. Eragon is the only one from his village brave and confident in his abilities to dare travel into the Spine. A group of mountains feared even by the evil king.

Plot

It is this that starts our young hero’s adventure. While in the Spine, a blue rock flies from the sky and lands in front of Eragon. He of course takes this back and tries to exchange it for meat at the loathsome butchers. In time, this rock hatches and a blue Dragon emerges from within. Due to the Dragon hatching for Eragon, a bond is formed so ancient, it calls into question the title of the Ancient Egyptians. Of course, a Dragon hatching is not easy to keep quite, especially as there were only three known dragon eggs in existence before Saphira (the dragon) hatched. This leads to the destruction of Eragon’s childhood home and the brutal murder of his beloved Uncle. An epic quest begins for Eragon to avenge his uncle’s death, free the common people from the evil king and ultimately fulfill his new destiny of becoming a Dragon Rider.

Opinion

As you can see, my plot section was not as long as usual as I would have actually written the book out for you if I had carried on. It can easily be titled as an epic. Paolini creates new lands, languages and races and through Eragon, you learn them effortlessly. Maps and dictionaries are provided and they stay updated to Eragon’s knowledge. As Eragon is as in tune with his own land as we are, this means you can keep up with the history, culture and power struggles quite well. You learn as he learns. Yes, many people feel that Paolini relied rather heavily on The Lord of the Rings for his characters. There are Elves, with an Elf Queen, Dwarves, Urgals, Humans and Magicians, plus many tribes within these and these characters wouldn’t stand out within the Tolkien Trilogy. However, I have read the Lord of the Rings and can without a shadow of doubt exclaim that Paolini surpasses him. Maybe it is because of the language Tolkien is using (though as I loved the Hobbit by Tolkien it seems doubtful) but I found the Lord of the Rings very long winded and many chapters to be pointless as they neither moved the story on nor developed the characters. Paolini does use Tolkien’s structure of following two different character arcs that ultimately end up joining up at the end, but he does so with real purpose. Maybe the odd chapter or two could have been culled but out of four books, each spanning between 600-1000 pages, it isn’t really noticeable.

Eragon is someone you can relate to. Paolini chooses a human to follow in this quest smartly. Humans we can understand. Their emotions, behaviour and flaws are all reconisable and make it easier to follow. Things  which baffle Eragon about other races and cultures baffle us as a reader and makes you feel that you are not alone. Eragon is not a perfect person nor does he do good all the time, but he strives to do good, and although he has to internally battle some decisions, he generally makes the correct one (but how many people here could say we don’t have to don armour with ourselves to decide on the correct course?).

The interaction between Eragon and Saphira is golden and the chemistry between the two leaps of the page. If this was a  TV series, one could compare it to the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. series chemistry. Saphira becomes our dragon too and genuinely makes you wish dragons existed just so you could have a chance of becoming a Dragon Rider (I’m not gonna lie, I have had dreams where I was chosen, not Eragon!).

This book and the following captures your imagination and the story line is sublime. My verdict is 9/10. One of these books gets a ten so wait for that review 🙂

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The Apprentice – Tess Gerritsen

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!

Plot

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.

Opinion

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’!

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The Surgeon – Tess Gerritsen

I am not going to lie. I love the Rizzoli and Isles TV series. It is AMAZING. The new season especially. So, I read on the credits that it is based on the novels by Tess Gerritsen. This straight a way piqued my interest as I tend to find that books are better than the TV series/Film. So, I download the book on my Kindle. And I am confused by the book. Don’t get me wrong. It is a good book. It has great twists, good dialogue and the story keeps you involved till the very end. However, it is very different to the series. Now I know the shows take artistic licence with characters, plots, friendships but the fact that Dr. Maura Isles is not in this first book slightly threw me. When this book is classed as the first in the Rizzoli and Isles series, you expect the second half of that title to appear. This book did have a feel that Gerritsen didn’t know who would be her main character later on.

Plot

We have the opening scene as a chilling and masterful way of introducing us to the anonymous killer and allows us to witness the cold intellect of the man. We are then introduced to Detective Thomas Moore, whom many within the precinct have dubbed as St. Thomas due to his inability to seemingly criticise or offend any of his colleagues. Jane Rizzoli is also introduced as a short, frog faced, fierce woman, new to the world of homicide and the only woman to have done so in Boston PD.

We find that there are similarities in the murder being investigated to an old one, where a female doctor managed to escape from her captor. However, it can’t be that man as he was killed by the female doctor (Catherine Cordell). During the investigation, a love triangle emerges between Rizzoli, Moore and Cordell. Of course, Moore and Cordell fall for each other and the loveless Rizzoli is stung by Moore and realises she is losing her only alley within  the Boston Homicide Department, especially when she reminds Moore that his current infatuation is not only part of the investigation but could actually be a potential suspect within the case. Needless to say, Rizzoli ends up working the case on her own, apart from the Boston PD and finds the missing lead they needed.

Cordell is kidnapped by the killer, and Moore becomes useless to the investigation through his love for her. Rizzoli goes on her own to find Cordell on a hunch no one else believes her on. Of course she is correct and ends up being captured by the kidnapper and psychotic serial killer. The ending is scary, gross and breathtaking.

Opinion

As I said, there is no Maura Isles in this book and Gerritsen does seem to be struggling on who to cast as her leading detective, Moore or Rizzoli. Until the later stages of the book, Rizzoli takes a very back stage role, being cast as the supporting role. Towards the end, she is the main character, being daring, courageous, stupid and ending up in danger. Almost a stereotypical heroine. It is perhaps this why I don’t particularly like the book as a Rizzoli and Isles novel. I went into this book knowing that Rizzoli becomes the main detective and knowing that somewhere down the line, Isles would appear and they would solve the mysteries together. Without this prior knowledge, I’m sure I wouldn’t even have noticed the subtle shift in Rizzoli’s dominance within the book or the lack of Maura Isles. However, this doesn’t take away from Gerritsen’s writing. Like I said, without prior knowledge, this is as good as a murder/serial killer book. The crimes are inventive and descriptive enough to allow your imagination to run with it and make it worse for the individual reader than Gerritsen ever could on mass (a little like Hitchcock films). Unfortunately for Gerritsen (though I’m sure she doesn’t care about my little blog opinion), this book just didn’t sit well with me and I give it 6/10. (It should be noted that I think the next one in the series, ‘The Apprentice’ is miles better and a contributing factor in my low score, I need to be able to have room to improve my score for that one!)

Still well worth a read though, if only to introduce you to Rizzoli and as it is very much a prequel to ‘The Apprentice’.

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