You can always depend on Tess Gerritsen for a thrill a minute storyline, gripping characters and an ending that will leave you well and truly satisfied - Last to Die is no exception. Slick, commanding and powerful the book once again draws on the colourful relationship between Boston ME Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli who still can't escape - no matter how hard she tries to ignore their calls - her weird and unhinged family. Although we don't get to hear much from her parents and Frankie - her brother - it's more than enough to help set the tone for the entire book. Desperate to move on Rizzoli can't escape the clutches of her parents and the detective is called in yet again to help resolve critical familial issues.
That aside the relationship between Maura and Jane develops nicely and although the pair are separated for large chunks of the story Gerritsen still manages to put the two in danger and their personal relationship evolves as a by-product.
The characters are colourful and inviting, I don't think there was one character I didn't like. As with any good murder mystery you spend enough time wondering who will turn out to be the guilty party and why, Last to Die will not disappoint. There are a number of red herrings along the way to steer you down one path or the other - only time will tell if you are walking down the right one. I know I wasn't!
Characters and relationships aside it was the setting that won me over. A former private castle, Evensong is a magnificent building. I was completely blown away by Gerritsen's descriptive powers and the building had quite the effect on me. I loved its atmospheric powers, the lake, the forbidding woods, the derelict cottage and the curious staff but more than anything the writing made me want to stay there, explore the surrounds and secret passageways. Evensong - the building and location - probably captured my imagination more than any location I've read and discovered in the last month or so.
Although like all her novels Last To Die stands alone but to get the most out of this book reading her previous titles would certainly complete the circle. Gerritsen pays reference to previous encounters and although I haven't read all of the Rizzoli and Isles adventures this has certainly made me want to explore her back catalogue.