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VINE VOICEon 8 February 2009
This is the 7th in Tess Gerritsen Rizzoli and Isles series. For this book the latest serial killer prowling the streets of Boston has been named The Archeologist due to the fact that he is mummifying his victims, enter detectives Rizzoli and Frost and, briefly; Maura Isles. I have to agree with a previous reviewer on the fact that Maura Isles was really quite un necessary in this novel. I feel she can be an interesting character but the effort was just not put in by the author to progres her character and her relationship with Daniel Brophy.
And the same can be said for the family life of Jane Rizoli. Theres basically no progression on the basis that her husband Gabriel and new born daughter; Regina are barely mentioned. And this is a shame as this has been a series that has always been enjoyable due to the fact that the characters were once believable. The two leading ladies as it were had their private lives and we were privvy to that. And for that to be taken away from us seems to make the story suffer quite substantially.
The only character that seems to progress at all is Rizoli's partner Barry Frost whos been pretty one dimensional up until this book, and finally has a bit of a back story, as half hearted as the attempt was.
But does all this really matter? well to me, yes. But if you enjoy the fact that the thrills and chills are still there, theres some truly fascinating information thrown in on egyptology but to be fair the medical side that Isles bought to the table is missing and also the gruesome nature seen in some of her previous books; The Surgeon.
As always the writing style is flawless, the pace at the begining is relentless but unfortunately begins to falter and by the end of the book it turns out to be rather anti climatic. I only hope that next time around more time and attenion is paid to the characters and not just getting all the facts of foreign countrys and such which in the end turn out to be pretty un important.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 25 September 2008
When The Keepsake is released in the UK it will be titled Keeping the Dead, "A Maura Isles Thriller". Well, Boston medical examiner Dr Isles really plays a rather by-the-numbers part in this story, and in any case this series hasn't always featured her at all. She first appeared in THE SINNER, which was the third of the seven to date, and in doing so added a bit of softer-hearted romance to what had been until then a really excellent hard-edged crime thriller series. The character of Detective Rizzoli, meanwhile, has lost some of its depth and meaning over the years and anyone buying into Tess Gerritsen for the first time might wonder what the fuss is all about. A series such as this is built around characterisation above all else, and it is so frustrating to see a very talented writer fail to develop what she has demonstrated the ability to do. In the series debut THE SURGEON (in 2001) and even more so in the sequel THE APPRENTICE (2002), Rizzoli's character was superbly created and developed, but when Maura Isles came on the scene - a character said by Gerritsen to be similar to her own personality in real life - not only has Rizzoli had to take something of a back seat but of late she isn't even called Rizzoli at all; instead the author has decided to use her first name of Jane in the narrative and this in my opinion has further diluted what was once the strongest feature of the brand.

As for this particular story, it eventually reminds me a little of the previous Rizzoli/Isles outing THE MEPHISTO CLUB, in that the writer thought of an exotic interest around which to wrap a murder mystery, and come the conclusion the reader wonders why the esoteric backgrounds needed to be there at all. In this case the background is the Egyptian art of body preservation or mummification. There is detailed information within the story about what it is, where it originates and how it can be done, but ultimately it really hardly matters in the big scheme of things because its meaning and significance withers away to almost nothing before the rather familiar bam-bam you're dead finale. A mother and daughter have been on the run for twelve years after a life-changing (OK, life-ending) event when the daughter was but a teenager. Living separate lives under new identities, they are hiding from those who seek retribution for the acts of a dozen years earlier. Not surprisingly, the story is basically about what happens when their cover is blown and the baddies track them down. The first half of the tale, which is steeped in archaeology and vivid descriptions of mummified bodies, is very good reading and at the time I thought Gerritsen was back on top form. What I then wanted, based on past experience, was some character development of either Rizzoli or Isles, but it just never happened. Rizzoli is now a married mother, and once again it's a shame that her husband - FBI Agent Gabriel Dean - barely features at all because he was great in THE APPRENTICE but here we are four novels later and he is as good as forgotten about. There's no point to his existence any more. As for Maura Isles, well this was really the poorest aspect of the tale, because the object of her affections - dog-collared Daniel - doesn't feature at all, and this is a man who we have been struggling to get to know for four novels now of the five that Maura Isles has featured in! Basically, he's just 'not there for her', but this has been the way from the outset it seems, and it's getting rather pointless. Maura's love-life is touched upon here and there in a thread that suggests that it will have some meaning and relevance later on...but nothing happens at all, and Maura is pretty much forgotten about for all of the concluding chapters.

The writing style is of a high standard throughout, however, as I guess we should expect from an author of such fame, fortune and experience. Yes, there's a decent story here and it's well told, but what let it down for me was the surprising lack of characterisation. Most of the surprise twists were very predictable and broadly speaking this was just another 'safe' publication by Tess Gerritsen, a story without any risks or shocks apart from the imagery on and around the autopsy table, where she is always at her most confident and imaginative. I enjoyed the beginning and the middle but it rather fizzled out into a neatly-tied ending and I felt a little short-changed as a result. Tess Gerritsen can do better than this, and having read all seven novels in this series I would suggest that next time around Maura Isles is demoted to just bit-part character (as she is already, but unintentionally) and 'Jane' returns as 'Rizzoli' and in the tough-cop guise she came on to the scene as six years ago. Perhaps Gabriel Dean could return; for too long there has been too much emphasis on female characters, and this series was at its best when there was a balanced gender split among the leading players.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 29 September 2008
Known as "The Keepsake" in the U.S. this UK version is subtitled "A Maura Isles Thriller" on some covers. Slightly misleading, that, because Boston medical examiner Dr Isles really plays a rather by-the-numbers part in this story, and in any case this series hasn't always featured her at all. She first appeared in THE SINNER, which was the third of the seven to date, and in doing so added a bit of softer-hearted romance to what had been until then a really excellent hard-edged crime thriller series. The character of Detective Rizzoli, meanwhile, has lost some of its depth and meaning over the years and anyone buying into Tess Gerritsen for the first time might wonder what the fuss is all about. A series such as this is built around characterisation above all else, and it is so frustrating to see a very talented writer fail to develop what she has demonstrated the ability to do. In the series debut THE SURGEON (in 2001) and even more so in the sequel THE APPRENTICE (2002), Rizzoli's character was superbly created and developed, but when Maura Isles came on the scene - a character said by Gerritsen to be similar to her own personality in real life - not only has Rizzoli had to take something of a back seat but of late she isn't even called Rizzoli at all; instead the author has decided to use her first name of Jane in the narrative and this in my opinion has further diluted what was once the strongest feature of the brand.

As for this particular story, it eventually reminds me a little of the previous Rizzoli/Isles outing THE MEPHISTO CLUB, in that the writer thought of an exotic interest around which to wrap a murder mystery, and come the conclusion the reader wonders why the esoteric backgrounds needed to be there at all. In this case the background is the Egyptian art of body preservation or mummification. There is detailed information within the story about what it is, where it originates and how it can be done, but ultimately it really hardly matters in the big scheme of things because its meaning and significance withers away to almost nothing before the rather familiar bam-bam you're dead finale. A mother and daughter have been on the run for twelve years after a life-changing (OK, life-ending) event when the daughter was but a teenager. Living separate lives under new identities, they are hiding from those who seek retribution for the acts of a dozen years earlier. Not surprisingly, the story is basically about what happens when their cover is blown and the baddies track them down. The first half of the tale, which is steeped in archaeology and vivid descriptions of mummified bodies, is very good reading and at the time I thought Gerritsen was back on top form. What I then wanted, based on past experience, was some character development of either Rizzoli or Isles, but it just never happened. Rizzoli is now a married mother, and once again it's a shame that her husband - FBI Agent Gabriel Dean - barely features at all because he was great in THE APPRENTICE but here we are four novels later and he is as good as forgotten about. There's no point to his existence any more. As for Maura Isles, well this was really the poorest aspect of the tale, because the object of her affections - dog-collared Daniel - doesn't feature at all, and this is a man who we have been struggling to get to know for four novels now of the five that Maura Isles has featured in! Basically, he's just 'not there for her', but this has been the way from the outset it seems, and it's getting rather pointless. Maura's love-life is touched upon here and there in a thread that suggests that it will have some meaning and relevance later on...but nothing happens at all, and Maura is pretty much forgotten about for all of the concluding chapters.

The writing style is of a high standard throughout, however, as I guess we should expect from an author of such fame, fortune and experience. Yes, there's a decent story here and it's well told, but what let it down for me was the surprising lack of characterisation. Most of the surprise twists were very predictable and broadly speaking this was just another 'safe' publication by Tess Gerritsen, a story without any risks or shocks apart from the imagery on and around the autopsy table, where she is always at her most confident and imaginative. I enjoyed the beginning and the middle but it rather fizzled out into a neatly-tied ending and I felt a little short-changed as a result. Tess Gerritsen can do better than this, and having read all seven novels in this series I would suggest that next time around Maura Isles is demoted to just bit-part character (as she is already, but unintentionally) and 'Jane' returns as 'Rizzoli' and in the tough-cop guise she came on to the scene as six years ago. Perhaps Gabriel Dean could return; for too long there has been too much emphasis on female characters, and this series was at its best when there was a balanced gender split among the leading players.
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VINE VOICEon 29 August 2009
This is the first Gerritsen book I've read, and I was really quite impressed. A quick pace, interesting developments in the plot, believable characters and a feasible story all made me want to keep turning the page. The initial hook on the blurb (mummy with bullet) was intriguing, and Gerritsen did not disappoint with her array of preserved bodies.

I was a bit confused by the priest as I've not encountered Rizzoli or Isles before, but in no way did it detract from my overall enjoyment of the book. I would say to those who have never read Gerritsen before that it would probably be better to read the series in order, but not essential in my view - I thoroughly enjoyed the story despite not knowing the character's backgrounds.

I'm really looking forward to reading more of Gerritsen's books, and I also found it really interesting that she put a few pages at the end to describe her own experience of knowing someone who was a murderer - absolutely fascinating!
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on 12 November 2008
I love all the previous Tess Gerritsen books so I didn't think twice about buying it.

When you think The Mephisto Club is a strange storyline, this is even stranger. The plot is quite thin and foreseeable compared with other novels like The Apprentice or Body Double.

The main characters, Maura Isle, Decetive Rizzoli and her husband, are barely there and I miss the complex study of their emotional develpment the previous novels had.

I think I will not rush to buy the next book straight away but wait a bit to see if it is worth buying. Sadly a lot of authors continue to write stories for their main characters just to continue but at a loss of a good story and good development, like Kathy Reichs or Elizabeth George.
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on 18 October 2009
IF YOU ARE A TESS GERRITSEN FAN, AS I AM, BUT HAVE READ "KEEPING THE DEAD" DO NOT BOTHER BUYING THE "KEEPSAKE" AS IT IS THE SAME BOOK !!??

I DON'T KNOW IF THIS IS COMMON KNOWLEDGE OR NOT, BUT I RECENTLY FINISHED READING "KEEPING THE DEAD", SAFE TO SAY HOWEVER I DID NOT ENJOY IT AS MUCH AS SOME OF HER OTHER TITLES - ANYWAY I DECIDED TO HAVE A BREAK FROM TESS AND READ A COUPLE OF "LIGHTER" AUTHOR NOVELS AND WAS THEN LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING BACK TO TESS AND "THE KEEPSAKE" - I CANNOT TELL YOU MY DISAPPOINTMENT I WAS WHEN I READ PAGE ONE AND REALISED IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME BOOK AS "KEEPING THE DEAD"

IT HAS COMPLETELY PUT ME OFF BUYING ANYMORE OF HER BOOKS ON-LINE IN CASE THIS HAPPENS AGAIN.....I THINK IT SAFER TO GO INTO MY LOCAL WATERSTONES AND CHECK BEFORE I BUY......
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on 26 February 2009
Okay, it might not be her best book, but when you've put the bar so high with the Surgeon and some of her other best sellers, its going to be hard to get a 5-star review ever time!
This is a great read. Yes i agree that Maura Isles really wasnt needed in the book - in fact there is a slightly ludicrous chapter near the end where the killer draws her in - but why and what for is never really explained?! Rizzoli isnt as hard nosed as ealier books - but then she's been married and had a child since the Surgeon, so i disagree with other reviewers that she needs the same single minded intensity - that wouldnt be character development!
The plot is fabulous. Very fast paced, the details are woven in well and she places her red herrings so well, that its very difficult to figure out who the killer is.
There are a few similarities to her previous books, but it all depends what you want out of a read. Tess doesnt waste time with meaningless police procedure details that bore a lot of thrillers - she rockets the story along and why change a winning formula? There are some very creepy chapter endings and as ever she keeps you hooked.
The final twist at the end was slightly overkill, but fans of hers wont mind the artistic license. I'm a fan of STORY over CRAFT. By that i mean, i'd rather read a gripping thriller which was 95% a great story rather than 95% procedural and detailed, with a good story.
A great read, she is still the best thriller writer out there and if you're a fan, you will not be disappointed!
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VINE VOICEon 16 September 2009
Great page turner, loved it! I have read all of Tess Gerritsen's books but this one could be read as a stand-alone book. Great, edgy thriller, I would highly recommend.
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on 20 November 2011
Madam X is the talk of the town as `Keeping The Dead' opens, though she is not initially (oh how things change) as salacious as she sounds. In fact she is an ancient mummy who has been unearthed in the archives of one of Boston's biggest, if longest forgotten, museums. This is big news for the museum and indeed for the city and so a packed room of media and specialists, including Maura Isles, await the live X-Ray. When a filing appears on the screen they initially believe they have found a major new discovery in the field of Egyptology, who knew that the Egyptians had made these advances in dental treatment? However, when the bullet from a very modern gun appears on the screen it appears that this may have been a much more recent homicide and so Detective Jane Rizzoli is called in to investigate. Soon the Museum is searched and before long more relics are found and they appear to be much less ancient than they look. It seems someone is collection women, or bits of them and soon enough this killer strikes very close indeed.

It is an overused cliché, yet `Keeping the Dead' is an incredible page turner. I read this in three sittings (all at an airport, and if you don't love flying read a book like this, I didn't think about landing, being in the air or taking off as I was so engrossed) during a single day. I then promptly felt guilty for devouring it so quickly when I imagine it took quite a time to write, but this was a pure reading pleasure. Well, if you can call a book about a psychopath who likes to make relics of his victims, and use ancient ways of preserving them, a pleasure that is?

`Keeping the Dead' is the seventh in the Rizzoli and Isles series which has made Tess Gerritsen so well known, and now of course is a major (and not to bad from what I have watched so far) TV series. It is also possibly the novel which, I think, stands alone the most if you haven't read any of the previous novels. It's not that Rizzoli and Isles don't develop as characters, they just aren't the focus of this thriller, and indeed it happens over a very short space of time, in the present day sequences, because it's the back story that we learn as we go. So Rizzoli and Isles are necessary, and indeed it is another of their shared cases, just not on every page because the heart of the story lies elsewhere. I have heard that the next in the series `The Killing Place' focuses much more on our heroines as one of them goes missing. I have had to force myself not to pick it up twice in the few weeks since I put this one down, I want to savour them.

It is always hard to try and make anyone rush out and by a crime novel when you can't really give anything away, instead I just keep banging on and on about the series and hope that you will all take note and go and pick one up. I have been debating it a while but I think, whilst I have special memories attached with the first two; both `The Surgeon' and `The Apprentice' for introducing me to Rizzoli and Isles, I think that `Keeping The Dead' might be my favourite one yet. They started off well,they just keep getting better and better, and more and more addictive.
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on 6 November 2008
When the ancient Egyptians mummified their dead, they often layered amulets and jewels within the linen wrappings. Finding such treasures in a 2000-year-old mummy is not unusual, but "Madam X" is full of surprises.

After a CT scan reveals a bullet in the mummy's leg and modern dental work in the jaw, medical examiner Maura Isles and Boston PD Detective Jane Rizzoli have a murder investigation on their hands. The mummy was recently discovered in an unlabeled crate in the basement of the Crispin Museum, a small family-run museum in the Boston area. When Jane and her partner Barry Frost uncover more preserved human remains in the museum's storage area, they realize they have a very intelligent and unorthodox serial killer on the loose.

The discovery leaves them with more questions than answers. What is driving the Archaeology Killer (as the murderer is dubbed by the press)? Why does he go to such lengths to preserve his victims? What is his connection to Egyptologist Josephine Pulcillo -- a woman who, like Madam X, is harboring many secrets of her own? Most importantly, how do they stop him before he claims another victim?

As someone who has had a lifelong love of archaeology (in particular, Egyptology), I greatly enjoyed the archaeological elements in The Keepsake. The book was so vividly atmospheric and creepy that I found myself looking over my shoulder more than once during my reading - just in case.

Tess Gerritsen has created another chilling, fast-paced thriller that is sure to delight fans of the Rizzoli/Isles mystery series. Readers new to Gerritsen's writing will also find The Keepsake very accessible and enjoyable.
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