Tuesday, August 3, 2010

a review of "Ice Cold" [58]

Ice Cold: A Rizzoli and Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen
Ballantine Books, ISBN978-0345515483
336 Pages, June 29, 2010

Leaving Boston after having yet another fight about the future of their relationship with her boyfriend, Dr. Maura Isles, medical examiner extraordinaire, heads out rather happily to Wyoming to attend a medical conference. There she runs into a colleague, Doug, with whom she went to school, and on the spur of the moment, agrees to go on a quick ski trip with him, his teenager daughter and another couple, two friends of Doug. Due to a blizzard, a bad GPS and maybe some overconfident driving on Doug's part, they find themselves driving off the road and stranded in a snowstorm in the middle of no where, no help in site. So when then find the entrance to a private road that leads to a small settlement of about a dozen houses, promising shelter and food and heat, they are greatly relieved. But not so fast.

The settlement, Kingdom Come, is the home of a religious cult, headed by a man named Jeremiah Goode, whose picture adorns every one of the houses in the village. Everyone of the hastily deserted houses. Because, while there is food and wood for heat..and as they later find, even vehicles in the garages...there is not a soul there. Half eaten meals on the tables, tasks left uncompleted, pets that were left to starve, a pool of dried blood, but not one person, living or dead. Or so it seems, at first...

When Maura does not return to Boston as planned, her boyfriend becomes concerned and contact Maura's friend and colleague Jane Rizzoli, a Boston homicide detective and her FBI agent husband, Gabriel Dean. They determine that Maura left her hotel a day early, never returned her rental car and suspecting foul play, starts their own investigation. When local police find what they identify as Maura's charred body and that of her traveling companions in a vehicles that drove off a ravine and caught fire, police say it was an accident caused by the bad weather and that the matter is closed. However, as shocked and upset as she is, Jane see a few inconsistencies that lead her to continue the investigation and soon discovers that a great deal more is going on, things that some are willing to kill to keep secret.

Let me start by saying that I am a great fan of Ms. Gerritsen's books. I have read every one (ok, not including her early romance novels) and loved every one. She is one of the few authors whose books just got better and better. Until this one.
Don't get me wrong. This was a pretty darn good book, but I do not think it was as good or certainly not better than her other books, especially the previous seven books in this series. The one problem for me is that it quite far into the book before Jane Rizzoli makes an appearance and I think their friendship and interaction is one of the strengths of the series, largely missing from this book. Most of Maura's interactions, for the whole first part of the book, are with her traveling companions, who turn out to be a rather unpleasant bunch.
And I am afraid that I saw the outcome of the story coming from a mile away. Even in a snowstorm

Also, as I said in my review of the previous book in the series, The Keepsake, I find Maura's relationship with Father Brophy simply beyond belief. For an intelligent, successful woman to stay in a totally dead end relationship that involves nothing but some furtive sex, secret phone calls and a great deal of whining and hand wringing and fighting, calls for a suspension of belief I am not capable of any more. At first, it just seemed totally out of character for her; now it is just a distraction to the plot and it is getting annoying.
Maura, really...move on...PLEASE.

This is, for me, the weakest link in a really excellent series. If you are a fan whose has read all the previous books, no doubt you will want to check this one out. Just don't expect this one to be the best. It is an enjoyable book, not great.
If you have not read this series before, I would totally recommend that you do, starting with the first, the excellent book called The Surgeon.


  1. I'm trying to rememer if I've read any of these or not. It seems like maybe I have, but wasn't pulled in to read the rest. There is nothing that gets under my skin quicker than an otherwise strong female participating in a dysfunctional relationship! And also, didn't she know that private drives in the wilderness come to no good?

  2. I read one of Gerritsen's old books and it was just okay, but everyone seems to love her work, so I think I need to try one of her new ones.

  3. I've read this series off and on and but not steadily. Are you planning to watch the new TV show?


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