Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bouchercon Book Reviews #7

Tonight, I'm posting my review of Tess Gerritsen's most recent Rizzoli and Isles book, published last year and read by me then.  I have been a fan of Gerritsen for quite a few years now, and I have never been disappointed in her writing.  The second review is for an author that is new to me, but I intend to become acquainted with more of her novels.  Catriona McPherson provided me with a great read in As She Left It.

Last to Die (Rizzoli & Isles, #10)Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Simply delicious to the last drop!  Tess Gerritsen always delivers a great read, but Last to Die is an especially tasty treat.  Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles are at their best in this blood chilling tale about three teens who have each survived two massacres involving their families and their foster families.  Leave it to Jane and Maura to discover that the latest multiple homicide in Boston leaving 14-year-old Teddy Clock as the sole survivor is far from an unlucky home invasion.  Teddy along with two other teens are being targeted, but there doesn't seem to be a connection to the three families.  The teens end up at Evensong boarding school, which caters to traumatized teens, and promises to be a safe haven for them with its location in the Maine wilderness and carefully selected staff.  But, evil can be a relentless adversary, and it soon is apparent that even a well fortified sanctuary can be penetrated.  Gerritsen gives readers some tantalizing twists in a plot that is masterfully concocted.  I couldn't stop reading, even though I knew that it meant the book would end more quickly, and one never wants a great read to end. 
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As She Left ItAs She Left It by Catriona McPherson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What originally brought this book to my attention and put it on my to-read list was that its author, Catriona McPherson, will be at Bouchercon this year, and I'm trying to read different authors that interest me before I attend.  Then, the book's description intrigued me, promising to provide a mystery dark and deep.  I'm happy to say that promises were kept, and I was well pleased with this novel. 

As She Left It is a story full of deeply buried secrets, some dating as far back as the 1940's.  At the center of this maelstrom of secrecy is Opal Jones, who has returned to her childhood home on Mote Street in Leeds following the death of her mother.  Her reappearance occurs after an absence of some years, leaving her alcoholic mother's neglect at 12 years of age and returning as a young woman of 25.  Surprisingly, Opal finds her old neighbors and friends still ensconced in the little community that the street has created.  The familiarity of these people provides Opal with both comfort and confusion, which leads to her becoming involved in trying to root out and resolve their secrets as well as her own.  The disappearance of Margaret's, her across-the-street neighbor, grandson ten years before Opal's reemergence serves as the focal point of mysteries that need resolution.  Opal decides that she is the only one who can ferret through the lies and misinformation surrounding the boy's disappearance, and she sets out to set it all right.  As she searches for answers, Opal encounters two more mysteries that she senses could be related, if not directly to the disappearance, to the well-being of the community of people to which she once more belongs. 

Opal is a somewhat quirky character of whom I became fond and rooted for in her efforts to move beyond the shadows of her life.  McPherson did an excellent job of developing not only the main character but the supporting cast of neighbors.  Never predictable, the plot and solutions captured me from beginning to end.  
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