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Bookends: International Conspiracies and Old Scores Fuel these Stories December 29, 2013

Posted by klondykewriter in Uncategorized.
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Bookends: International Conspiracies and Old Scores Fuel these Stories

By Dan Davidson

August 19, 2013

– 845 words –


The Sinner: A Rizzoli & Isles NovelThe Sinner

Tess Gerritsen

384 pages

Ballantine Books



I got interested in Gerritsen’s series because of the TV show, but my caution would be that the show, with its ensemble cast and “odd couple” vibe between the two lead characters, doesn’t really resemble the books that much.

Jane Rizzoli is a detective, but rather than the tomboyish, assertive person with a quirky sense of humour she is insecure, uncertain about her looks and constantly under pressure (real or imagined) from her male colleagues. She is effective, smart and intuitive but feels out of place.

Maura Isles is a somewhat pedantic medical examiner, but not exactly the “rich girl fish out of water” that we see on the TV show. We don’t have a lot of her background yet because this, the third book in the series, is really the first which I could clearly call a “Rizzoli and Isle” mystery, the first in which the pair have an equal share in the story and in finding the solution to the mystery, the first in which they have an equal number of pages devoted to their individual points of view.

Isles was introduced in the The Apprentice, the second book in the series, but it apparently took a book for Gerritsen to decide just what to do with her.

The pair is called to a murder scene at Graystones Abbey, where two nuns are found. The younger of the two has been brutally murdered and older woman seriously injured, apparently while trying to help her younger colleague. The autopsy reveals that the younger nun had recently given birth to a baby that did not live, but which they find in an ornamental pond at the abbey. Somehow all this is tied to the murder of a homeless derelict whose face and extremities have been removed by the killer (was he taking trophies or was there some other reason?), a woman who is eventually found to have visited the abbey just shortly before the murders there.

Both Rizzoli and Isles are lapsed Catholics, but their residual feelings about the church make this a particularly difficult case for them to deal with.

The cases are eventually linked and tied to events that occurred some time before in India. That’s the murder side of the book.

Rizzoli has a different problem to deal with. In the last book she began a relationship with an FBI agent, Gabriel Dean. In this book, long after we know what must be happening, she discovers she is pregnant, and has to decide what to do about the baby and what to tell Dean, who is also assigned to this case once it becomes clear there are international ramifications.

Isles has a different sort of relationship problem in the reappearance of her ex-husband, Victor, a doctor with a humanitarian mission something like Doctors without Borders. Why has he turned up now? Is there some connection between his work and the murders?

This is an engaging murder mystery and, while I did see some of the solutions in advance of their revelation, it was fun watching the characters get there.


“L” is for LawlessL is for Lawless

by Sue Grafton

352 pages

St. Martin’s Paperbacks



Audiobook from Random House Audio

Narrated By Mary Peiffer

Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins


With this book we’re halfway through Grafton’s planned series of alphabet books and Kinsey Milhone really should have known better than to take on this pro bono job for one of the neighbours down the street, but her landlord, Henry, talked her into it. These rather unpleasant neighbours are convinced their recently deceased father is owed a proper military funeral by the feds, but they can’t seem to prove that his stories of having been in the armed forces were actually true. Turns out they weren’t, but by the time Kinsey figures that out, Johnny Lee’s former apartment over the garage has been broken into, another man has been assaulted and this simple little errand has gone sideways.

Kinsey ends up travelling across country to Texas and Kentucky with Johnny Lee’s former partner in bank robbing crime, Ray Rawson, and his messed up daughter, trying to stay one step ahead of a very bad man named Gilbert who is determined to find all the swag that Johnny hid nearly 40 years earlier.

Kinsey is almost more of an observer than a protagonist in this one, and spends a lot of her time just wishing she could get back to Santa Teresa in time for Henry’s brother’s wedding while watching Ray’s and Gilbert’s plans explode all around her. She doesn’t make a dime out of this caper and there are a lot of loose ends when she finally gets shed of these guys, but life’s like that sometimes, isn’t it?

Mary Peiffer does a fine job reading these books and the production quality is good. These are great mysteries for the road.






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