Sunday, September 17, 2017

Book Review: 'Die Again' by Tess Gerritsen

Tess Gerritsen ventures into new territory in her latest novel, "Die Again." An insecure British bookseller, Millie Jacobson, recounts her grisly experiences on safari in Botswana six years earlier. Gerritsen alternates between Millie's horrific narrative and a series of macabre murders in Boston, including the slaying and evisceration of a hunter and taxidermist. Homicide detective Jane Rizzoli, her husband, FBI agent Gabriel Dean, medical examiner Maura Iles, and their colleagues investigate this and a series of similar killings. Forensic evidence leads Maura to believe that these crimes may be related, but the rest of the team is skeptical.

The chapters set in Africa are stunning. Gerritsen takes us to the Okavango Delta, where the "sun glares down hot and bright," venomous snakes sneak up on the unwary, and deadly cats are on the prowl looking for a fresh meal, human or animal. Millie, her obnoxious boyfriend, and the others who signed up for this authentic trip into the wild have no idea what is in store for them. The author expertly captures the beauty and harshness of this forbidding landscape, and makes us feel the visceral fear that paralyzes the survivors when one of their group is slaughtered.

Back in Boston, Maura and Jane cope with personal issues, but what will keep readers turning pages is the increasingly complex investigation that raises more questions than it answers. To solve this puzzle, the detectives will need to outsmart a devious and bloodthirsty sociopath who has been careful to cover his tracks. The final confrontation is a bit too rushed and formulaic, and a few key plot points remain unexplained. Nevertheless, "Die Again" should attract a large and enthusiastic audience; it is suspenseful, exciting, fast-paced, and is enhanced by Gerritsen's fine descriptive writing and spirited dialogue. (Four and a half stars)

Editor's note: This review was written by Eleanor Bukowsky and has been reposted with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right

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