Sunday, February 3, 2013

Review: Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

Last to Die (Rizzoli & Isles, Book #10)
by Tess Gerritsen
Release Date: August 28th, 2012
2012 Ballantyne Books
Hardcover Edition; 352 Pages
ISBN: 978-0345515636
Genre: Fiction / Murder
Source: Library

4 / 5 Stars

For the second time in his short life, Teddy Clock has survived a massacre. Two years ago, he barely escaped when his entire family was slaughtered. Now, at fourteen, in a hideous echo of the past, Teddy is the lone survivor of his foster family’s mass murder. Orphaned once more, the traumatized teenager has nowhere to turn—until the Boston PD puts detective Jane Rizzoli on the case. Determined to protect this young man, Jane discovers that what seemed like a coincidence is instead just one horrifying part of a relentless killer’s merciless mission.

Jane spirits Teddy to the exclusive Evensong boarding school, a sanctuary where young victims of violent crime learn the secrets and skills of survival in a dangerous world. But even behind locked gates, and surrounded by acres of sheltering Maine wilderness, Jane fears that Evensong’s mysterious benefactors aren’t the only ones watching. When strange blood-splattered dolls are found dangling from a tree, Jane knows that her instincts are dead on. And when she meets Will Yablonski and Claire Ward, students whose tragic pasts bear a shocking resemblance to Teddy’s, it becomes chillingly clear that a circling predator has more than one victim in mind.

My Thoughts
Last to Die is the tenth novel in the Rizzoli and Isles series and it's another one of those series that I tend to follow quite closely as I have grown quite fond of both Maura and Jane. In this one, we follow Rizzoli and Isles as they attempt to save the lives of three orphans, each with a eerily similar story; each one has narrowly escaped death and watched their parents and their foster-parents brutally murdered, within weeks of each other.  Attempting to find the link between these three orphans, Rizzoli and Isles race around the clock before a murderer finishes the deadly job he/she didn't quite manage the first two times. 

One of the things I really enjoyed was the foray into Evensong, the school run by Anthony Sansone, another mysterious figure who plays a rather predominant role in many of these novels, but is also someone whose details are tantalizingly suspicious and few.  Evensong has come up in several of these novels, but only in passing, and this time we actually get to visit the school and finally understand what it represents in Anthony's world.  While I loved the setting, and would have definitely loved to go to a school like that, even if not for the reason the kids are there, I was still frustrated at the lack of details about The Mephisto Society and what it represented.  It seems like Ms. Gerritsen is holding out, yet again, for another novel in which to share these details and to keep us faithful readers stringing along. 

I will have to admit though, that the storyline is very different from other Rizzoli and Isles novels.  It focuses more on the events at Evensong, and Mr. Gerritsen seems to be taking her main characters away from Boston and some of the events that have been occurring there.  For some faithful readers, this may be a turn off, but for me, I find this rather interesting, and less predictable, as it makes me less sure as to where the story may lead.  I find in other series, they can get formulaic and predictable which is why you tend to stop reading them after a while, but when a writer isn't afraid to change things up, it makes it rather interesting.  I personally found the secondary characters to be refreshing, rather quirky, and well fleshed out, to the point that I would enjoy seeing them again.  Maura is going through some deep personal issues and is struggling to deal with some personal decisions she has made recently and the repercussions of those decisions, some of which have left her an outsider in her own profession and with others with whom she has to work.  I found in the last two novels I have read, she has become so much more interesting and I kind of like it when she gets rattled as she seems so much more likeable and approachable.  

Last to Die was a satisfying novel for many reasons.  As always, I enjoy the great attention to the forensic aspect to these novels, and considering that Ms. Gerritsen has a medical degree, her knowledge and expertise definitely shows through her writing, which is understated but eerie at the same time.  I would definitely recommend this novel, and this series, to anyone interested in forensic science and medical thrillers.  And while it is not necessary, starting with the first book in the series would give you a better understanding of the characters and what they have been through as Ms. Gerritsen doesn't really explain a lot in terms of their relationships, but writes as if you already understand what is happening.


  1. I love the Rizzoli/Isles series!Can't wait to dig into this one.

  2. I'll have to start reading this series. Good review!