Monday, November 15, 2010

Vanish by Tess Gerritsen

As I continue down the Jane Rizzoli/Maura Isles series, I can't help but to imagine how the TNT series Rizzoli & Isles could have been better. Each novel could have been easily transformed into a season. I'm just saying. Maybe if Showtime or HBO had picked up the show, it might have been worth my while. Instead, we got a typical cop show with female leads. Nothing special, but it has been renewed for a second season, so it might have done something right.

Anyway, this post isn't about insulting the TNT series, but remark on the fifth book in the series, Vanish. Unlike its four predecessors, Vanish cuts off the romantic drama. It still lingers, but it's downplayed. With Jane Rizzoli now married to Gabriel Dean, it doesn't seem like an important factor. What's not missing, however, is Gerritsen's ability to draw you into the story, an ability that never falters, no matter which direction you're being pulled toward.

Picking up about a month after the events of Body Double, the novel opens when Maura Isles discovers that one of the bodies in the cold room isn't dead. Rushing the Jane Doe to the neighboring hospital, Maura witnesses a woman who is struggling to escape her "captors." While the doctors struggle to learn the  identity of the Jane Doe, a very pregnant Detective Jane Rizzoli sits in a courtroom. When the unruly defendant gets out of line, Rizzoli subdues him, causing her water to break. In the early throes of labor, she is transported to the hospital at the same time Maura Isles returns to check on the Jane Doe, only to see her struggling against two men, on of which is a security guard. When the latter's gun falls into the wrong hands, Maura finds her life in peril. As the police arrive, the Jane Doe returns into the hospital, taking six hostages with her. As the news soon becomes apparent, both Maura Isles and Agent Gabriel Dean realize the worse: One of those hostages is Jane Rizzoli. What happens next, leads the trio down a path neither have ventured down before. And the only question that remains is, who can they trust?

The book had the same air as The Sinner did when I first picked it up. Unlike the third book, Vanish managed to suck me in quickly. What starts off with human trafficking tangles you into a conspiracy theory that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Gripping as it is, when the story shifted after the events of the hospital, I nearly placed the book down. Of course, while the novel is in third person - as are the those that came before it - it does contain a few chapters in the first. A character named Mila is introduced off the bat, describing the horrors of sex slavery to child prostitution.

The romance is toned down, allowing for a smoother read. Since the story seems to revolve around Jane Rizzoli's new motherhood, Maura Isles returns to her supporting character role. Thomas Moore - who played a major role in The Surgeon and a minor in The Apprentice - returns, as does Vince Korsak and Darren Crowe (whose absence was greatly noticed in Body Double).

Tess Gerritsen's description of human trafficking for sex slavery is chilling to core. Since so few are educated on the subject, I hope the chilling tale of murder and conspiracy is an eye opener to those who continue to think that everyone who crosses the border are out to  steal jobs. Some of them are brought here with promises of a better life, only to get one that is worse than that they left behind.

Her writing leaves me guessing what happens next in the series - Vanish is followed by The Mephisto Club.

As my list winds down, I notice I'm only three books left before I'm caught up with the series. My copy of Ice Cold hasn't arrived in the mail, yet. I'm moving on to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo or, possibly if the local library has it, the George W. Bush memoir, Decision Points (mostly for my morbid fascination how he justifies his crimes against America and the world).

Until next time, keep on huntin'.

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