Sunday, December 12, 2010

All Good Things Must Come to an End (Until They Start Up Again, That Is)

By the time I finished reading The Keepsake, I wasn't looking forward to reading Ice Cold. I was even considering to put it off for another week, read another author for a change. Maybe it would freshen my outlook on the Rizzoli & Isles series - giving myself some time to forgive Tess Gerritsen for the seventh novel. But I couldn't resist. I cracked the novel and dove in. And while at the beginning of the novel, I felt like Gerritsen was working on some deadline to release a novel during the time the series was going to be released, the journey it took me on caught me off guard. Has it renewed my faith in Gerritsen's prose? Perhaps. Has it left me pining away until she releases a ninth novel? You bet your sweet ass it has.

Unlike the predecessors, Ice Cold seems to focus mostly on Dr. Maura Isles. Jane Rizzoli still remains the series's central character, however. Starting up on the winter after the events in The Keepsake, we open up with the beginning of the end of Maura and Father Daniel Brophy's affair. Leaving for Wyoming, Maura doesn't want to face the facts that have been so painfully obvious for months now. Still, rather than ending it there at the airport, she boards the plane knowing that the one person who has made her the happiest has also left miserable. At the conference in Wyoming, she meets up with an old college alumnus, Douglas Comley - a character who is Maura's opposite. Seduced into living a little wild, Maura agrees to join him, his daughter and two friends on a road trip to sight see after the conference commences. However, a wrong turn takes them on a deadly path that neither foresaw. 

Taking shelter in an abandon compound called Kingdom Come, the quartet begin to uncover a mystery. Meals have been abandoned; pets are found dead. Something strange has happened in Kingdom Come, and someone is watching them intently.

When Jane Rizzoli learns of Maura's failure to board the flight back to Boston, she sets off for Wyoming - husband Gabriel Dean and Father Daniel Brophy in tow. The trio learn of Maura's death, leaving a greater mystery to uncover. 

I don't want to give too much away, because I liked being on the edge of my seat. However, if you remember correctly, Maura Isles has died before in Body Double. I was confused about the novel when I first started reading it. Several times I found myself wondering if any of the actions were really those of the characters. It felt like Gerritsen was meeting some deadline - a way to promote the TNT series by labeling the novel "A Rizzoli & Isles Novel" rather than the usual "Jane Rizzoli Book #". Some of Maura's actions were questionable, but I learned to accept them. However, the ending was a little flat. Not to mention the mystery's ending was a little too familiar, as well (ahem, can anyone remember The Sinner?).

Old friends are brought back - Anthony Sansone returns, as well, with a cameo appearance from The Mephisto Club victim, Lily Saul - and new ones are made - possibly the most memorable, Julian "Rat" Perkins, who serves as the sort of anti-hero. 

Even though it might not have been the best book in the series, it still garners a four-star rating from this book hunter. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

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