Newest Review: ... details of an autopsy are often described. Body Double has Dr Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli as the main characters, with oth... more
Is Blood Thicker than water?
Body Double - Tess Gerritsen
Member Name: QueenElf
Body Double - Tess Gerritsen
Advantages: Intelligent, yet scarey.
Disadvantages: None for me, plenty for the faint-hearted.
I love it when I come across a new author, especially one who writes in the medical thriller genre. So I picked up "Body Double" in a charity shop for the grand sum of £1 and what a bargain that turned out to be.
Maybe you know the author, but in case you don't, here's a brief biography. *
Tess Gerritson graduated medical school as a MD and was a practising physician until she started writing while on maternity leave. 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. Body Double is her eighth book, published in 2004. 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! Readers who would like to know more about the author will love her own blog, which is humorous and sometimes painfully honest.
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. Her first thoughts of puzzlement are shattered by seeing many of her colleagues staring at her as if she is a ghost. Worse still there is a body in a car outside her home. A body that's identical to her own, except for the bullet in the brain.
As she witnesses part of the autopsy, she sees that even hidden parts of the body are identical to hers in every way. Investigating the homicide is one of her friends, Jane Rizzoli, a feisty cop who is eight months pregnant but still working the beat.
The investigation turns up some startling facts. Not only is the dead woman Anna, Maura's sister, but they were separated at birth and both adopted by elderly couples. It's evident that Anna had just found out about Maura, but was she shot by her possessive ex-boyfriend, or is there something much more sinister in the past of both women? The story goes through more twists and turns than a series of hairpin bends, reaching a shattering conclusion.
I don't know what it is about medical thrillers, but the best ones are almost always written by women, with their heroines also women. In Maura Isles, Gerritsen has taken the virtues of professionalism and mixed them with a healthy dose of imagination and sensitivity. The passages where Maura views the body of her dead sister and the ones where she almost literally steps into her shoes, is spine-tingling as she imagines how her dead sister would feel. This is no fast-talking, witty, detached pathologist, but a real woman who does her job with compassion.
It's left to Detective Rizzoli to provide the tough cop routine, although pointers to previous books suggests that she was once a victim herself.
There's some love interest in the form of a detective Ballard who was helping the dead sister to escape from her abusive boyfriend. On the whole though, the main protagonists are female, though to describe them in any detail would be to give away more of the plot than readers like to know.
This is a roller-coaster of a book with thrills on every page. Just when you think you have some idea what is going on, the plot twists and new characters appear on the scene. I have to give away just a little of the plot because it is the backbone of the story and a dilemma that the author has obviously thought about. Though Maura always knew that she was adopted, when she finds out about Anna she both grieves for the twin she never knew in life, but starts following the trail that Anna was on. A trail that might mean tainted blood back in her past.
It's this premise, 'does evil lie in nature or nurture' that other authors have attempted, only to shy away at the last minute. I couldn't put the book down, even when it started to get dark and the book became increasingly frightening. This is not a book for the faint-hearted. The writing has been compared with Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwall and even Thomas Harris.
If you like your thrillers both intelligently plotted and creepy as hell, this is the book for you.
I think I was lucky with my charity shop purchase. This retails new on Amazon for £5.49, but as usual it's better to shop around. I can't wait to read more by this author.
* Biograthy based on the book and the author's own site.
İLisa Fuller Feb 2008.
Summary: Thrills, spills and chills galore!