Thursday, October 4, 2012

Review of "Last to Die" [81]

Last To Die: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen 
Ballantine Books, ISBN 978-0345515636
August 28, 2012, 352 pages

First his parents were killed.
Then his foster parents and their other children were horribly murdered in their Boston home.
Young Teddy Clock is the only survivor.

When Jane Rizzoli arrives to investigate, with her friend and colleague, coroner Maura Isles already on the case, it seems like it might be a robbery. It is a beautiful home, full of priceless items and quickly the housekeeper's boyfriend, an illegal alien, becomes a suspect. Well, at least in the eyes of Jane's new boss who is very concerned with quickly solving a front page crime and looking good in front of the news cameras.

But Jane is not convinced, especially when two very similar cases in other states come to her attention. First their parents were killed and then the folks they went to live with also died. And the other thing all three cases have in common is that the three children who survived two sets of murdered caregivers are now all students at the rather mysterious Evensong, a boarding school deep in the woods of Maine. We have heard of Evensong before and the rather creepy group that run it, the Mephisto Society, in a previous Gerritsen book. And by coincidence, Maura is on her way up there to visit the young man Julian who she also met in another earlier book and is now also a student there. All the children at the school are survivors of violent crime in their pasts, but it seems that these three particular children may still be targets of the killer.
Strange, bad things are happening in those dark Maine woods and Maura and Jane will be right in the midst of it all.

Let me say, first of all, that I am a big Gerritsen fan.
I have read all her books, even the ones before the Rizzoli/Isles series and I have enjoyed them all. Some I loved and some I liked...and this one is in the 'liked' group. It is a good book, but not the best she has written.

Rizzoli and Isles are both great characters and their friendship and working relationship, not without it's ups and downs, has always been interesting. Happily, nothing like the gal pal and way too joke filled one of the TV show loosely based on this series. But in this book their interplay seemed to play an oddly small role. And the little subplot of the adventures of the always interesting Rizzoli family was just dropped with no conclusion. Not to mention the almost total lack of mention of Jane's FBI husband, a character that always adds a great twist, a calm grounding element, to the stories. I love their relationship and Jane's interaction with their daughter and I missed that in this book.

But most of all, while good, the plot was not up to the very clever and very intricate level of many of Gerritsen books. It was good but not with all the dark twists and turns Gerritsen usually includes, the dark twists and turns I love. And as much as I hate to say it, because there is nothing I dislike as much as a bloated book, it seems rather short.

Let me just repeat, Gerritsen is a great writer and the Rizzoli/Isles series is a very good one. If you have never read it, really, you should. But I have to think that maybe it is time for Gerritsen to take a break from the girls and treat us to a another freestanding book. Fans will, I think, enjoy this one but new readers should start with the earlier books in the series and watch the characters develop.

 My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a review copy of this book.


  1. I really want to try a Tess Gerritsen book. I guess I have to start at the beginning....

  2. So many people love her books! I tried one and just thought it was okay. Maybe I tried the wrong one.

  3. not a fan of the TV show .. i have read other of Gerritsen's books .. thanks for the review!

    1. no, neither am I. I wonder why you take a series, presumably because you thing it is good, and then totally change it!

  4. The title makes me think of Massada, a place we visited in Israel. The whole community was killed by a small group of man of the same community. The last man to die trew himself on a sword. It was a collective suicide to escape from slavery.


  5. Well, not every book in a series can be a home run. This sounds at least like a solid double.

    1. I love a baseball reference...this is the game with the round ball and the cute knee socks, right?


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