I am a big fan of Tess Gerritsen and have previously read her earlier books The Surgeon, The Apprentice, Sinner and have just finished Body Double.
Following my real disappointment at Cornwell's latest offerings, I remembered I had this book on my TO-BE-READ-PILE that I had successfully swapped for some time ago on READITSWAPIT. I love it when I come across a new author, especially one who writes in the medical thriller genre. Tess Gerritsen writes very strong characters and storylines, you can imagine the sort of things happening for real which is kind of scary and more compelling. If this is your first time round, then I would expect you to find it a very satisfying, well-paced thriller, but if (like me) you have read all three predecessors in the series, you may just feel slightly short-changed - especially after the peaks reached in The Apprentice.Provided that you can accept the somewhat far-fetched story, this is actually the most intriguing and well-structured of the four books so far in the Rizzoli-and-later-Dr Isles series. Her books are thrillers but have a bit of gore to the story especially the ones centered around Dr Maura Isles who is a pathologist so the intricate details of an autopsy are often described.Body Double has Dr Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli as the main characters, with other side characters such as Detective Barry Frost who is Rizzoli's partner. Boston pathologist Dr Maura Isles, attractive, divorced and aged forty, gets more than a shock when a woman is shot in the head outside Dr Isles' house. Her return trip has not been the best; first her flight is delayed, then her luggage lost and when she gets to her street, it is cordoned off by Police. We are introduced to other characters throughout the book but not too many that you have to start flicking back through the book to remember who they are and how they fit in to the story. She has to watch a colleague carry out an autopsy on the murdered woman who is her DNA-verified identical twin, yet until this day Maura had no idea that she had a twin sister at all. Neighbours look at her as though she is a ghost as do Police Officers who know her and it is not untill she reaches her front door that she fully comphrends why. The book itself is not a short story at 448 pages it is a fairly long book but it doesn't drag at all.This story mainly revolves around Maura Isles and how when she returns from a trip to Paris she has to deal with a corpse that looks terrifyingly like herself.
Her early attempts were quite successful, but it wasn't until the 1990's that she started writing medical thrillers and became an overnight success. DNA tests confirm that Maura's doppelganger is in fact the twin sister she never knew she had. But more importantly, that person looks exactly like her!!!!!!It soon transpires that Isles had a twin sister she never knew existed, having been adopted when she was younger and not knowing her birth-parents. The story then delves into her past which is full of dark and deadly secrets which once she knows about she may wish she had never discovered.


Anyway, Maura begins an investigation into her dead sister's past, and therefore her own, aided by the very much more colourful character of Detective Jane Rizzoli - recently married and expecting her first child anytime soon.My problem is that Maura's nowhere near as interesting a character as Rizzoli, and although Rizzoli is the other leading character in this tale, she unfortunately takes something of a back seat in the narrative while Maura tries to put together the previously unknown pieces of her family's past, in particular her biological mother who gave Maura up for adoption and whose name and whereabouts were unknown until now. The tragedy is that now Maura will never get to know her twin but the big question is was her sister the real target or was someone aiming for Maura and got her sibling by mistake?As heavily pregnant Detective Jane Rizzoli investigates, both as a colleague and as a friend, complications arise in the form of one Detective Ballard who knew Maura's sister and was trying to help her disappear from an obsessive ex-lover.
She lives in Maine with her husband and children (much like another favourite author of mine, Stephen King) I wonder if there really are ghosts up there in Maine! The story's very good - I won't spoil things by explaining it but it's certainly dark, sinister and well crafted - but when a character as 'vanilla' as Maura Isles is burdened with the responsibility of carrying this tale virtually single-handed, it makes for less than satisfying reading when you are always aware of the more fascinating, complex and entertaining character that is Jane Rizzoli in the background. It also emerges that their mother could well have been a psychotic convicted serial killer, currently incarcerated, who suffers from schizophrenia and is almost certainly catatonic. Readers who would like to know more about the author will love her own blog, which is humorous and sometimes painfully honest. Whenever Rizzoli appears 'on-screen', she lifts the whole atmosphere a notch or two, but sadly she has deliberately been placed one or two steps behind Maura Isles in this crime thriller and the thrills are diluted as a result.
Maura is faced with some of the hardest shocks she has ever had to bear as more and more revelations are revealed about a family she never knew existed.
The Story.Dr Maura Isles, a pathologist who works in Boston, is returning from a conference in Paris, only to find her house surrounded by all the trappings of police activity. Maybe that's because Rizzoli is a fighter, as might be expected given her duties as a gun-packing police detective, while Maura, already known as a vulnerable type to readers of The Sinner, continues in a similar fashion here as one who needs protection and is unlikely to be able to fend for herself. Meanwhile, someone has been abducting pregnant women and killing them after stealing their babies. Her first thoughts of puzzlement are shattered by seeing many of her colleagues staring at her as if she is a ghost. That's the one key element that was lacking in this otherwise excellent story - a strong and feisty central character along the lines of Rizzoli. How could this be related to Maura and her dead sister and could Jane Rizzoli be putting her own life in jeopardy?A smoothly paced and very clever thriller, this is how crime fiction deserves to be written. Also, much as in The Sinner, the novel seems to have been aimed more at female readers due to the two female leads (and female author of course) together with a lack of any strong male characters, be they on the right or wrong side of the law, and a story very much built around pregnancy, childbirth and babies.
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We've had some well-drawn baddies in the past in the forms of the Surgeon and the Dominator, and some welcome good-guys in the moulds of Detective Thomas Moore (who has completely disappeared for some reason) and FBI Agent Gabriel Dean, who scarcely gets a mention in Body Double. But, here, Geritsen does it justice and takes a very unique approach that works magnificently.
Simple and intuitive, your little girl will have lots of fun for hours with this beautiful game ! At the back of the book it gives a taster of the next book which is called Vanish and after reading it, I can't wait to start it!Body Double retails for around 6.99 but I purchased my copy from Whsmiths when it was on sale at half price. It means that for those of us who have learned to love or hate these various characters, we feel short-changed because out of those six, four of them don't feature to any significant degree and one of them is relatively uninteresting - leaving the best of the lot, Rizzoli, to carry the whole thing alone. I also love the way that the novel never really goes too deeply into either of the leads' personal lives except where it is nessecary to the plot, the way the book never focuses solely on either Maura or Jane Rizzoli but cuts between the two and the way that even when you think you know what is going to happen, Geritsen still manages to throw you a little curve ball!! Many will disagree on this point but in The Apprentice the character of Rizzoli was superbly built up for the reader such that we felt that we were inside her mind and soul, but instead of that being maintained she has frustratingly taken a back seat to the inferior Dr Maura Isles and the franchise is the weaker for it. I am gutted I have never read anything by this author before but pleasently pleased that she lives up to the good reputation that has preceded her!!!Although this is the eighth book by Geritsen, I didn't feel the need to have read any of her earlier works first despite the fact that an earlier novel, THE SURGEON, gets a mention and this obviously follows on.
Having got that off my chest, Body Double's weaknesses are reconciled by a powerful and gripping story which had me guessing (and guessing wrong) right to the end.
Also it is good to read something that is driven by the plot and the thrills rather than dissecting the characters for endless pages then suddenly remembering the urgent need to tie up all the loose ends in the final chapter.
Vanish, number five in the series, comes next and I just hope the roles are reversed and Rizzoli takes her rightful place as leading lady. As a newcomer to Geritsen, I was certainly impressed- so much so that I have gone out of my way to obtain THE SURGEON, so that I can better understand the references made in this book!! Give the princess the most amazing makeup to make her look like a fairytale celebrity princess.
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