I’ve been in the mood for an entertaining mystery/thriller for a while now and was having a hard time finding one I could really get into (slogged my way through the first half of Kathy Reich’s 206 Bones before giving up on it, for example). Picked this one up at the library, having read several of Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles series before, and man, was it ever the perfect thing!
For those unfamiliar with the series (which is also now a TV show on TNT — not brilliant, but a guilty pleasure of mine nonetheless), Jane Rizzoli is a cop and Maura Isles is her medical examiner buddy. They solve crimes. (There, you’re all caught up.)
In this installment, Maura is at a medical conference when she reconnects with an old friend who invites her to go skiing the next day with him, his teenage daughter, and two of his best friends. Maura’s reluctant at first, but since she’s been struggling with her boyfriend a lot lately (he’s a priest — it’s complicated), she decides a little fun might be a good idea.
Naturally, the trip doesn’t go as planned. A blizzard hits halfway through their drive up the mountains and they end up sliding their truck into a ditch. Stranded in the howling wind and snow, Maura spots a sign warning against trespassers on private property, and the group heads past the sign hoping to find a house and some help. Instead, what they find is an entire village, completely deserted, which turns out to be the community of a creepy religious cult.
They take shelter in one of the houses, but almost immediately strange things begin to happen: a door is opened during the night, Maura spots snowshoe tracks near the treeline, one of the houses has blood spatter all over it and drag marks, etc. Pretty soon, people start dying and Maura finds herself on the run with a kid named Rat who first kidnaps her then convinces her he’s trying to save her life.
Meanwhile, Jane and her husband, an FBI agent, are desperately trying to find out what happened to their friend. As they work with local law enforcement, though, they begin to suspect that not all there is what it seems. Hard to know who to trust. Especially when a local cop ends up dead and it looks like Maura and Rat were the ones who killed him.
Gerritsen can be a really entertaining writer and storyteller when she’s on a roll, and any fan of thrillers that keep you up late into the wee hours should add this series to their list. Specifically this installment, in fact — it was by far the best of the bunch I’ve read so far.
(p.s. One complaint: what’s with the book cover, Ballantine? There are no unconscious, half-naked ladies in this book whatsoever! Bah. Whatevs, marketers.)