Paired for the 10th time, Rizzoli (homicide cop) and Isles (forensic pathologist) learn that in Boston’s Chinatown, revenge is a dish served sweet & sour.
They find the hand first, neatly severed, on a quiet street in the heart of Chinatown. On a nearby rooftop, they find the rest of her: Jane Doe, young, auburn-haired, dressed in ninja black, completely gorgeous and, of course, extremely dead. It takes a while for Detective Jane Rizzoli and her Boston PD colleagues to identify her. As it happens, however, who she was and what she was up to turns out to be less important than where she ended—at the site of a small, innocuous Chinese restaurant called the Red Phoenix. Innocuous, except for the fact that 19 years earlier mass murder exploded on its premises. The cook, Wu Weimin, an illegal from China, suddenly berserk, pulled a gun, shot James Fang, a waiter, three customers and finally himself. Or so the story went. Now fault lines are becoming apparent. When Rizzoli finds herself eye to eye with Iris Fang, widow of the slain James, the holes deepen. Iris, Jane realizes at once, is extraordinary—and ferocious. In her 50s, the owner of a martial-arts academy, she carries herself like a queen, with something dark and resolute in her gaze that in the right circumstances could be terrifying. And she makes it clear that she has good and sufficient reasons for not believing Wu Weimin could ever have murdered her husband. Meanwhile, Dr. Maura Isles, preparing to conduct the post mortem on Jane Doe, has good and sufficient reasons for being distracted. Do these explain a developing rift in the long-standing, mutually appreciative team of Rizzoli and Isles (Ice Cold, 2010, etc.). In any event, is the rift irreparable?
The ending is way over the top, the prose occasionally purple-tinged, but Gerritsen is a hardscrabble plotter, and much of what she does is compelling.