Doc Gerritsen rises to her best yet, skirting neatly around the cliché plotting usually tied to serial killers.
Once again Boston Homicide Detective Jane Rizzoli plays second fiddle to “Queen of the Dead” Medical Examiner Maura Isles (The Sinner, 2003), who gets to open up all the vics—unless they look just like her. After a week’s vacation in Paris, Maura returns to Boston to find flashing police cruisers in front of her house. As she gets out of her car and approaches the police, her neighbors and friendly cops stare at her aghast. They’ve just seen her dead, shot through the head in a car in front of her next door neighbor’s house. Even Maura is astounded to see her own body as a vic. Who is this dead woman? Gerritsen spins out the answer slowly, but we’ll tell you that she’s Maura’s unbeknownst twin sister—both were orphans, adopted at birth by separate families—but also part of a grisly adoption racket that involves the serial murders of pregnant women all around the country. The story turns on Maura’s perhaps real mother, a fake schizophrenic locked up in a mental hospital for murder, who tells Maura she’s slated to die the same way her sister did. Meanwhile, Maura is pursued by a handsome cop who has heavy family problems. Pregnant Jane Rizzoli, who buddies with Maura to help find answers to her dilemma, is close to term—and one wonders if she too may be slated for death. To tell more would be a disservice. Gerritsen leaves out her great arias on the poetry of the inner organs and the sweet hell of death that so ennobles The Sinner, but she keeps such a tight rein on her inspired plot that we don’t miss them.
Gerritsen always does well on the charts, but this masterful outing should rocket her into the top bracket of suspense writers.