Tess Gerritsen’s mystery/thriller series about Detective Jane Rizzoli and Dr. Maura Isles keeps hitting the bestseller lists, and deservedly so. As a former internist (she started writing full-time once she started hitting those bestseller lists), Gerritsen’s medical knowledge is first-rate and is always interesting.
But the on-going relationship between the two protagonists, Rizzoli and Isles, is what draws me back to the series time after time. The women are both strong and independent in same but different ways, and they’re equally vulnerable on separate fronts.
Rizzoli is a hardnosed, no-nonsense cop that goes for the throat of any problem placed before her. She takes no prisoners. She also has a very black-and-white view of the world that Dr. Isles doesn’t necessarily agree with in every instance. In The Mephisto Club, Jane is happily married and has a baby. Fans who have followed the series have seen all those additions to Rizzoli’s life take place during the course of the series.
Dr. Isles is the coroner of the team. Where Rizzoli grills suspects and stays after them till she catches the first lie and breaks the investigation open, Dr. Isles solicits answers from the dead during autopsies. Dr. Isles has gone through a bitter divorce (fans have even gotten to meet the ex and form their own opinions of the guy) and now finds herself in love with a priest, Father Daniel Brophy. Up until this book, Brophy and Dr. Isles have teetered on the edge of having a relationship, something that neither one of them might survive in their respective job fields. Or emotionally. And Rizzoli definitely wouldn’t support such an liaison because of her friendship with Dr. Isles and her church upbringing.
Rizzoli and Dr. Isles get called out to a crime scene where a young woman named Lori Ann Tucker has been violently murdered. Even seasoned homicide investigators get shocked by the macabre nature of the murder. While Rizzoli is there, Dr. Isles arrives and takes custody of the body, which has been subjected to amputations of the head and hand. Satanic symbols, upside-down crosses, and a Latin phrase, “Peccavi”, written on the wall fill the apartment. It doesn’t take long for whispers of a ritualistic murder to start up.