Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen

Picking up the summer after the events of The Mephisto Club, The Keepsake opens with Maura Isles entering Pilgrim Hospital to witness the event of the century - the CT scanning of Madam X, a mummy found in the basement of the Crispin Museum. There she is introduced to Dr. Nicolas Robinson, museum's curator, and Dr. Josephine Pulcillo, the museum's Egyptologist. As the scan is processed, the three doctors - as do the other witnesses - notice something anachronistic. Lodged in the leg, there is a bullet and a broken bone that had started the process of healing. Suddenly this thousand year discovery became a modern day crime, one that has Detective Jane Rizzoli taking the lead.

I wouldn't know where to start with The Keepsake. Part of me was hoping the book would get interesting, while another wanted to put the book down and just start Ice Cold - the series's eighth novel. It's uncertain if Tess Gerritsen's heart wasn't in the book when writing, or when mine was absent when reading it, but the book seemed like it was written on some deadline. It lacked the essential thing that kept me turning the pages of the other novels - suspense. The only time I felt like I was on the edge of my seat was when I noticed how many pages I had left. My reading pace became slacked. I didn't care about the victims or the killer(s) presented in the novel. Already, things were sounding alarms in my head, so when the revealing of the killer(s) was brought up, there was no mind blowing revelations - the aha experience* wasn't present in the conclusion, especially when the mastermind was revealed.

While Maura Isles is the first on the scene in the novel, her presence - and importance - in the novel is minimum. Her relationship with Father Daniel Brophy, which blossomed in The Mephisto Club, is continued in the novel. His relationship with the church, however, is still an unresolved issue. Anthony Sansone - of the Mephisto Foundation -is brought in as the other guy, even though that never really takes off, either. The novel's ending simple has Jane thinking of Maura and Daniel's relationship, rather some resolution from the characters. We can only assume that something will happen in Ice Cold that wraps that plot line up, though - after the reading the front flap of the novel, I seriously doubt we'll get the closer we need on Maura's character.

The only good part of the novel was the character build-up of Detective Barry Frost. Finally, after seven novels, we get a little bit of insight of his abilities and his relationship with Alice - his heard of but never seen (until now) wife. Whether we learn more about his life after the novel, is still up in the air - unless you already Ice Cold, in which case, don't tell me.

I look forward to reading the final novel (thus far, anyway), but will be reluctant to ever read this one again. Well, until next time, keep on huntin'.

*aha experience - A descriptive term for the emotional reaction that typically occurs at a moment of sudden insight after a long process of problem solving, learning or psychotherapy; it is the moment when various elements of a problem situation come together and seem to make sense. (via: The Encyclopedia of Mental Health)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The I-Knew-I-Shouldn't-Have-Left-The-House-And-Gone-To-Barnes & Noble Book Hunt

It was probably best if I didn't leave the house but I did and now I'm seventeen dollars poorer. First book I saw as I entered Barnes & Noble - a Kraft Philadelphia 3 Books in 1 cookbook. And in the last copies cart, I find The Jesus Papers by Michael Baigent, co-author of the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail - if you remember there was some controversy with that book and the novel The Da Vinci Code. The former book would make this holiday season filled with yummy goodness, while the latter will make the list of religious texts I planned to read in the new year.

Don't forget to check out Barnes & Noble this Cyber Monday:
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Possible Reading List for 2011

After a lot of contemplation - mostly from staring at my book shelf - I decided that I would read a few religious texts in the upcoming year. I'm not looking for religious solace, it's merely reading for personal knowledge. While the following isn't a for sure list, it is one in progress:

Until next time, keep on huntin'.

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Coming Clean

There's no other way of saying this, so I'm going to get straight to the point. I want a Kindle. And not just any Kindle, I want the Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, preferably in graphite. In the past, I've come off as pretty anti-Kindle - you know, by pointing out their flaws. But ever since downloading the app for my Blackberry Curve, my PC and netbook, I've had this itch to own one. And the itch, now that X-mas is just around the corner, has escalated into a full-fledged rash. 

So why the Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device and not, say, the Kindle Wi-Fi or the Kindle DX? Or an iPad or a Barnes & Noble Nook? Well, first of all, I'm not a buyer into the hype of Apple computers. I have a Blackberry Curve and not an iPhone for a reason. Secondly, iPads aren't reading devices, even though they can be used as one. Not only are they an eye sore for me, they'd probably be a distraction. As for the Barnes & Noble Nook - well, let's just say they failed to hear my calls when the Amazon Kindle didn't offer an app for my Blackberry Curve.

To answer the first question, I refer to the chart found at Amazon:

Click to enlarge
While Kindle Wi-Fi's battery life is longer than the Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, it lacks one important thing - the FREE 3G service! As for the Kindle DX, well, price plays a major role in that decision. I could perhaps look into other readers - I have been known to stare at the Sony Reader from time to time. But I know what I want and what I want will make me one happy reader. Hopefully Santa Claus will leave it underneath the tree this year. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Peccavi: The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen

With The Surgeon, Tess Gerritsen gave us a killer with the fondness of blood. In The Apprentice, Warren Hoyt returns to haunt Jane Rizzoli's life - teaming up with another brutal killer. Rizzoli also partner's up with a new pathologist, Maura Isles. The Sinner brought us a desperate man wanting to hide his secrets. With Body Double, we learn of the monsters that lurk in our past. Vanish shed some light on the brutality of human trafficking and conspiracy theory. Now with The Mephisto Club, Gerritsen takes us into the dark world of mythology and dead rites. 

Peccavi, Latin for "I have sinned," is found at a grisly crime scene on Christmas Eve. The victim, Lori-Ann Tucker, is laid out in several locations in the house. It's the sort of crime scene that Detective Jane Rizzoli never wants to witness again. Along with partner Detective Barry Frost, Jane leads pathologist, Dr. Maura Isles, down the path of a madman, one they've never encountered before in their two-and-a-half years as friends. Digging deeper, they're led to an almost unknown group of people - The Mephisto Foundation - whose sole mission in life is to hunt demons. When members of their group start to fall victim to the madman, they fear the worse: They feared that their greatest fears has arise from the depths of Hell.

Gerritsen brings back a few old friends from novels past, including Father Daniel Brophy - as Maura Isles's love interest - and Dr. Joyce P. O'Donnell - the bitch who seems to turn up in every even number novel of the series. New characters include Anthony Sansone - multimillionaire member of the Mephisto Foundation - Gottfried Baum - also a member - and Lily Saul - who is running from a dark past.

The novel is deeply rooted in Christian, as well as other, mythology - mostly concerning demons and the Nephilim - the hybrid offspring of angels and humans. You don't need any background to these subjects to enjoy the book, luckily. Adding in characters who studied the significance into the plot line, Gerritsen made it easy to grasp (no matter your dogmatic preference).

Background of our killer is included in the text - much like Warren Hoyt's thoughts in the first two novels and Mila's (although she wasn't the killer) in Vanish.

At first, I wasn't too impressed with the idea of the Mephisto Foundation and its work. However, the open ending of the new team leaves me wondering if Tess Gerritsen ever plans on giving them their own series (which would be great). While the novel's plot line ends, several of the subplots are left unresolved - such as, Jane's parents' marriage and the relationship between Daniel and Maura.

All in all, the novel is worth the read - especially as someone gets her just desserts and two people fall at the hands of human nature.

I'm off to start the seventh book in the Rizzoli and Isles series - The Keepsake. Until next time, keep on huntin'!