We start in Africa – Botswana, the Kalahari – a safari, a wilderness trip – then suddenly it is six years later and we are in Boston, where a particularly gruesome murder has been commited, and in the company of homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles. An apparently famous pair (with their own TV series!) though this is the first time I have come across them.
Normally I wouldn’t have liked the time jumps back and forth. I wanted to know what happened next in Africa. Then, by the time we were whisked back to Africa, I had forgotten about that story and wanted to know what happened next in Boston.
However, I have to say that in this case it worked. By the time I reached the end of the book and began to think about this review, I knew that I had been in the hands of a master story-teller and that there was no other way she could have told this story. What happens in Africa and what happens in Boston are equally engrossing – equally horrifying! – and the way the two strands of the plot are brought together in the final chapters could not be bettered.
And there is a love story here (no spoilers, but it is in the Africa strand) that is very moving and finally very, very sad. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader,” said Robert Frost. I think I could paraphrase that as “No tears in the reader, no stars for the writer.” Tears were pouring down my face. Five stars.
Oh, and it has just occurred to me that the Frost quotation continues: “No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader”. The denoument was a complete surprise. I’ve always liked the idea of writers being taken by surprise by characters they created – and I’d love to know whether Tess Gerritsen planned this ending or was taken by surprise here.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley
in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!