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by Tess Gerritsen
Transworld , August 2012
328 pages
18.99 GBP
ISBN: 0593063260

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Years ago, an international criminal was kidnapped and, in the botched operation, his wife and family were killed. Now Jane Rizzoli has been called away from a family argument to attend the worst kind of crime scene: both parents and three children shot and killed in their own home. She's been called out to interview the only witness a fourth child, Teddy, the Ackerman family's foster child and the only one to survive the massacre the same way he survived the murder of his parents three years before.

Then Teddy's new foster family are also targeted and Jane decides she needs to find somewhere safe for Teddy to stay, somewhere away from her own husband and daughter. Maura Isles knows just the place; the Evensong school for traumatised children, run by the very paranoid and very rich Anthony Sansone. But at the school there's a disturbing discovery to be made. Two other children, Will and Clare, have also been brought there, separately, for their own safety after the violent deaths of their foster families, three years after the murders of their parents.

While the police chase down their prime suspect for the Ackerman killings, Jane starts to dig into the lives of Teddy, Will, and Clare's parents and finds there's more than co-incidence connecting the three kids.

There will be advantages to having read the previous books in the Rizzoli and Isles series, but with a little imagination this book can be read as a stand-alone. It's gripping and fast-paced with a tight plot and flowing narrative. The characters are engaging and the settings beautifully crafted. There are some wonderful elements that come from being the latest in a long series the strained friendship between Jane and Maura, the farcical chaos of Jane's family, the quiet support of her husband and daughter.

But the real enjoyment of this novel lies in the twists and turns of the complex plot, in the picture of the past that Rizzoli slowly forms, and in the fierce protection, seclusion and mystery of the Mephisto Club's special school. Having read this, new readers will want to go back and read the series from the start, just as I do.

Madeleine Marsh is an aspiring writer who lives in South West England. She helps run sci-fi conventions and loves modern cinema.

Reviewed by Madeleine Marsh, June 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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