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4.5 out of 5 stars
Last to Die: (Rizzoli & Isles series 10)
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2012
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Tess Gerritsen is an unusual if not exceptional writer, in that she's been around for a long time but unlike many of her peers she actually seems to be getting better with age. No way can you accuse her of resting on her laurels; she really tries to write a great story every time - and while I admit there have been some 'so-so' efforts now and then, generally speaking she's still at the top of her game.

So how about her latest, Last to Die?

Detective Jane Rizzoli and Medical Examiner Dr Maura Isles must protect three orphans whose foster families have each been murdered. Now hidden away in the mysterious Evensong boarding school, these three children may still be in danger, pursued by a relentless killer. In New York, young teen Claire Ward survived a car crash that killed her foster parents. In New Hampshire, 14-year-old Will survived an explosion that killed his aunt and uncle in their farmhouse. In Boston, 14-year-old Teddy has already survived a massacre a couple of years earlier, one that wiped out his whole family. Now, unbelievably, history repeats itself and his foster family is killed and he finds himself orphaned once more. Rizzoli steps in to investigate, and then Teddy is almost killed yet again. For Rizzoli all thoughts of bad luck and coincidence go out the window - someone is pursuing this boy in the most sickeningly violent way. So she hides him away in what should be the perfect sanctuary, but still someone seems to know where he is. Not only that, but she learns that there are other children whose past lives somehow manage to resemble Teddy's. Rizzoli teams up with Isles to protect him and the other orphans from an unspeakable secret, and catch a psychologically obsessed killer.

Somehow Gerritsen manages to weave some humour into the plot, in the form of Rizzoli's dysfunctional family. At the time it appears it seems out of place even if it is very well written, but at the conclusion its relevance becomes clearer as Maura Isles reflects upon the things that might be missing from her life. There's also a reappearance of Anthony Sansone, who first cropped up in The Mephisto Club a few years ago.

So yes - thumbs up from me. This is an exciting, gripping and mysterious Rizzoli & Isles escapade that pulls the reader in from the opening chapter's mass murders and never loosens its hold until the final thrilling finish, as fans will want to know who's behind the murders, and above all: why? Suspenseful and fast-paced, Last to Die is a terrific murder mystery and, once again, this is one author who keeps getting better with each book she writes.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2012
A good read which is difficult to put down although it may be necessary to suspend disbelief from time to time. In addition to the regulars - Detective Jane Rizzoli & forensic pathologist Maura Isles- there are a couple of other returning characters.
For this reason I would recommend you first read the Mephisto Club which introduced readers to the somewhat unbelievable, but powerful, secret society fighting evil - led by the mysterious Anthony Sansone. Also The Killing place which introduces Julian 'Rat' Perkins + also has Sansone heading to the rescue of Dr Isles. Of the three I enjoyed this latest book the most.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2012
This was, without a doubt my favourite crime thriller of 2012, in fact my favourite in a long long time - and I read a lot of crime thrillers!

I though 'Ice Cold' was going to be hard to beat, but this latest installment from duo Rizzoli & Isles was simply un-put-downable!

Set in a castle / school deep in the Maine countryside. 'Evensong' is a school run by the dark & mega-rich character Anthony Sansone, whom we met in the earlier Mephitso Club books. The school houses 'damaged' kids, who have all at some point in their short lived encountered death of those close to them.

Three children, somehow connected are transferred to the school and are being tracked down by unknown killers, who have already wiped out their families.

It is down to Maura Isles & Jane Rizzoli to keep them safe and find out who is trying to kill them & why.

I just loved the characters in this book and the setting in the castle felt like a real old fashioned murder mystery.

Five stars Tess!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2012
This is a cracking reading until about three quarters of the way through and then the plot becomes very far fetched. This is an absolute far cry from The Surgeon etc., and it pains me to say it but I now believe Tess is going the same way as Cornwell did and the books just became implausible.

I have read all of Tess's books and they were some of the best books I have ever read, especially The Bone Garden which was stunning, but I should've stuck by my previous resolve after her last offering (which was just okay) and not read any more by her.

As I say the first three quarters is unputdownable but then it goes down faster than a lead balloon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Generally I enjoy Tessa Gerritsen's work and this is certainly eminently readable if, perhaps rather unlikely. The plot revolves around three youngsters who, having each seen their families slaughtered then witness their foster carers suffer a similar fate a couple of years later.

It seems there must be a linkage between the three in some way, but Rizzola and Isles struggle to establish what it is. For me this was the best part of the story, but the truth, when it was revealed, was so far fetched as to be almost farcical and the conclusion was all rather glib and superficial. The shady Mephisto Club operating in the background added a further dubious layer to the whole story without throwing the CIA into the mix for good measure!

So overall it's a book which is easy reading but hard to take at all seriously and certainly not up to the author's usual high standard.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 October 2013
The story started off promising but then shot off in several directions that left me wondering where on earth it was going. There were several story lines that were not followed up such as the highly intelligent Jackal group who were to perform their own autopsy and then just didn't.. or did I miss the outcome somewhere?
The book cover promises it to be 'unputdownable' and nerve tingling, with a warning 'it can feel like the real thing' and descriptions such as gory and gripping, and I was really excited and intrigued, but I'm sorry but it was none of these, and I am left wondering if I've picked up a book by mistake that was actually written for the young adult market, if I did, it was really good, but as an adult I was not convinced.
It all went wrong for me with the line, 'come with me if you want to live', which put into my mind the terminator films and the description of the blonde haired, pony tailed 'hero' reinforced it. (terminator 3 the robot with the flexible legs.)
I have never read any of Tess Gerritsen's books before but with the cover stating that she is a physician and brings to her novels first hand knowledge of emergency and autopsy rooms I expected more in this area and the book failed to deliver anything I could not have looked up myself on the internet and I didn't experience the 'wow' factor I was expecting.

It was an ok read but I didn't feel eager or compelled to turn each page or rush through to discover the outcome, so I probably won't buy another book by this author. Sorry but not for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2014
I have most of Tess Gerritsen's previous novels and have enjoyed all of them.

I am not sure what happened with this book. I found the storyline uninteresting and at times boring. The central characters Rizzoli and Isles, who in previous novels were full of verve and vigour lacked their usual chemistry. I struggled to finish this book and only stuck with it as I have enjoyed many of her previous works.

Please let this not be a sign of things to come from Tess Gerritsen.

Not her best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 October 2014
I enjoy Tess Gerritsen's books, particularly the Rizzoli and Isles series, but this offering is not up to her usual standard. The story starts well, and promises to be a good read, but unfortunately becomes bogged down with Rizzoli and Isles personal life. Characterisation is not sharp and relies upon you to have read the previous books. The climax when it comes is messy and contrived - I hope her next offering will be up to her previous excellent standard, and this was nothing more than an unfortunate blip.
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First Sentence: We called him Icarus.

In Italy, a man is kidnapped and his family accidently killed in the process. In Ithaca, NY and in New Hampshire, the foster families of two children are murdered, as were there parents previously. Then the same happens in Boston with the family of Teddy Clock. Unaware of the other cases, Detective Jane Rizzoli is the lead with her friend, Dr. Maura Isles the pathologist. To keep Teddy safe, Maura takes him to Evensong, the secure school run by Anthony Sansone and Jane, with her partner Frost, heads down a very twisty, dangerous road to find a killer.

Starting with the first sentence of the prologue, you can put the rest of your life on hold until your reach the very last word; Ms. Gerritsen has taken hold.

Addressing the details, the dialogue is excellent; natural and sharp. The descriptions create a very strong sense of place; particularly important and the characters move from locale to locale. The characters are very well drawn and fully developed. This is the only place where Ms. Gerritsen does lose minor points as someone new to the series might feel a bit lost, particularly when incidents are referred to from the previous two books.

The great strength of this book is the plot. There are three, possibly four, story lines. This only adds veracity to the book as no live runs single path. What is wonderful is that each is as compelling, and often suspenseful, as the other. With every page the plot becomes more layered, more engrossing and takes you somewhere you never expected it to go. There are amazing twists and turns. Even at the very end, we're left uncertain as to where the series may go next.

On the slightly negative side, I can't say I'm thrilled with the Mephisto Club thread. Although it's interesting, it seems to be taking the series a bit into the conspiracy theory realm for me.

"Last to Die" is a gripping, compelling, non-stop, go-away-I'm-reading book. It may not be great literature--in fact, I'd forgotten the plot a month later--but it is one really great airplane read.

LAST TO DIE (Susp-Rizzol & Isles-Massachusetts/Maine-Contemp) - Good+
Gerritsen, Tess
Ballantine Books, 2012
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