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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 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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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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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 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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on 7 July 2016
A long forgotten mummy is sent by a museum for CT scans, medical examiner Maura Isles is invited. Could this be Egyptian royalty.? The scans reveal the usual funerary techniques - brain and internal organs removed. Body preserved , but the lips are crudely sewn closed and there's a bullet lodged in the leg. Detective Jane Rizzoli now has a problem, this is no historical artefact but the victim of present day murder. Together Rizzoli and Isles attempt to reveal the identity of the killer, negotiating a maze of false trails and assumed names.
Gory atmospheric chills abound in a slickly written thriller as the team once again pit their wits against a ruthless psychological killer, another great read.
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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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VINE VOICEon 26 September 2008
At Pilgrim Hospital, on a Saturday night, the media are gathered to see an CT of a mummy, recently found in the basement of a museum during an inventory. It comes to a sudden end, however, when an image of a bullet is shown.. making this a much more recent corpse.

Maura Isles was present at the scan, and so she promptly calls in Jane Rizzoli to investigate. Following another ghastly discovery, it becomes apparent that they are dealing with a new killer.. one with a fascination of ancient Egyptian rituals.

This is the latest in the series that began with The Surgeon, although it works just as well as a stand alone book. There are glimpses into the worlds of Maura and Jane, but the main focus is on the crimes, and Tess has obviously done her research. It's a page turning thriller, which will keep you guessing until the end.. and the glimpses into the different types of preservation are rather fascinating!

I loved The Surgeon and The Apprentice, and have enjoyed the rest the series, but I honestly think that this is the best yet!
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on 15 October 2013
Keeping the Dead is a book you need to read in front of the fire on a cold winter night...to creep yourself out and put yourself off of snacking as you read! It's thought provoking, aptly scary and with an equal measure of peeping into the utterly gross and macabre (but fascinating) mortuary. Rizzoli is in her usual character (all guns blazing) and Isles firmly in hers (scalpel at the ready and lucky enough (must be) to have anosmia. I am not going to talk about this utterly clever story line, or the host of brilliant characters, not hint at the ending to this thrilling book...just recommend it as a darned good read for those of you who love the murder/mystery/thriller genre.
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