Friday, July 23, 2010

ICE COLD by Tess Gerritsen

Publisher: Ballantine Books
Date Published: June 29, 2010
ISBN: 978-0345515483
Contemporary Romance, Suspense, Thriller
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained via Publisher

With matters between herself and Father Daniel Brophy as tenuous as ever, medical examiner Maura Isles leaves for a medical conference in Wyoming. There she reunites with a medical school colleague, Doug, his thirteen year old daughter and their two friends. When Doug invites her along on a side trip, with thoughts of her last conversation with Daniel Brophy running through her mind, she agrees to go. "Lola", the car's GPS system directs the group down a road that leads them directly to Kingdom Come, a Steppford-esque village that is more Armageddon than paradise. Each house is an exact duplicate of the other. Each holds a photograph containing the image of a man, his gaze unnerving and disturbing. The lack of electricity, telephones or modern conveniences isn't what disturbs them. Rather it is the uneaten meals on the tables, the unlocked doors and seemingly vaporization of the entire community. Where did they go and why did they leave without taking even one possession?

Feeling guilty over his last conversation with Maura, Daniel tries in vain to reach her. With her cell off and no other way to reach her, he turns to Detective Jane Rizzoli. At first Jane shines the priest on. She hasn't been able to accept Maura's relationship with the priest and has her own family to concern her. That all changes when she receives a call – Maura is dead. With FBI husband, Gabriel in tow, Jane heads to Wyoming to find out what happened to her friend. What she finds there is more bizarre and disturbing than any crime she has worked in Boston.

Just when I think Tess Gerritsen has written her best ever she surprises me yet again and takes me on another thrill ride. ICE COLD, her latest in the Maura Isles/Jane Rizzoli series is by far her best book ever. As I read it I wondered how she could ever top this adrenaline packed rollercoaster – and then I read the last page and I know the follow up book to this one is definitely going to top it.

There has always been a great balance between Maura and Jane in Ms. Gerritsen's books and in each one you see subtle changes and growth. In ICE COLD her emotional letdown from Daniel's latest ambivalence leads her into a decision she may not have made any other time. Normally logical, orderly and seeing the world in black and white, Maura goes out on a limb. Because of her smarts and training, she can see where she could be making a mistake, but with limited options, Maura does the best she can. Does she stay in Kingdom Come and hope for rescue? Or does she set out on her own to look for help? Does she stay with the mountain man who first held her prisoner and now tells her he is her only hope? Or does she run to the police officer who could save her life? As she approaches each cross-road you have to wonder what you would do in the same situation.

Jane has settled into her relationship with Gabriel and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them work together. I especially liked how Gabriel didn't feel emasculated by Jane's police skills and training. The appearance of one of my favourite characters from an earlier book was a welcome one and I especially liked the role he played. When another character I enjoyed shows up at the end it was with a great twist. Even better is that character is the lead into what simply has to be the next book in the series. And while everything appears to lead to a happy ending, you just have to wonder.

The last few chapters were like sitting in the front seat of a rollercoaster that suddenly starts travelling backwards. Instead of the peaks diminishing with each curve, they become steeper and steeper. The story begins to twist in on itself like a daisy wheel with revelations leaving you holding your breath and gripping the pages. Every Gerritsen I have read has been hard to put down. This one leaves all the others in the dust. This is your do not miss read for the year.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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