The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels, but writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation. Tess Gerritsen just recently added book #11, Die Again, to the Rizzoli & Isles series.
As I was reading the first chapter of Die Again, I thought I had the wrong book. In fact, I was so sure I had downloaded the wrong book onto my Kindle, I had to skim ahead to see if there was anything to indicate this was a Rizzoli & Isle novel. Once I was satisfied that I didn’t download the wrong book, I continued reading and found that the first chapter of the book focused entirely on a safari expedition in Botswana, South Africa that ended on a bad note. In chapter two, the scene switches to Boston, six years after the doomed expedition in Africa to a murder of a well-known hunter and taxidermist, Leon Gott. It turns out that Leon Gott is the father of Elliot Gott, a victim that died in Botswana, South Africa six years earlier on that lost expedition and the rest of the novel focuses on the pursuit of a murderer linked to this expedition, as well as Leon Gott’s murder, and a number of other bizarre murders along the way.
The events that occurred on that ill-fated expedition are told through the eyes of one of the members of that expedition who managed to escape the unfortunate fate of her fellow adventurers. Millie Jacobson managed to survive two weeks alone in the bush of Botswana and is the only one left that could potentially identify the murderer. This women suffered tremendous hardships and continued to live in fear of the one individual that she could identify but it took Jane Rizzoli to get her to confront those fears.
There are two subtle themes that continue throughout the novel. The first is trust; trust between Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, trust in Maura’s own instinct, trust between Millie Jacobson and bush guide Johnny Posthumus, trust between Jacobson and her lover Richard Renwick. Jane and Maura’s friendship has always been held together by a delicate thread throughout the series, and is almost shattered when Jane dismisses a hunch that Maura revels about the murder case. This dismissal by Jane, leaves Maura in a state of distrust in her friend as well as distrust in her on own feelings, which continue throughout the novel. Millie Jacobson also struggles with trust. Should she trust her lover who turns out not to be the man that she first fell in love with or does she trust a man that she barely knows, but has developed an affection towards?
The second theme is based on the predator/prey relationship which also ties in with the trust theme. Throughout the novel, there are numerous references to members of the feline species which includes the big cats (leopards, cougars, lions, etc.) and our beloved house cat. The domestic cat that many of us love and adore is no less a hunter than its larger relatives. My beautiful and affectionate Siamese is a good example, as I am sure that she has killed a number of members from the different rodent species. Can I ever really trust her? The predator/prey theme also applies to the humans in the story, with humans acting as predators to obtain food as well as the predator hunting its own species.
Die Again is a great mystery as well as a thriller and will keep you guessing until the end. For the most part it can be read as a standalone but it wouldn’t hurt to have read the Surgeon before reading this, as it will give insight into Jane Rizzoli’s relationship with Millie Jacobson.
To learn more about the series check out Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli & Isles Series.