Wednesday, June 20, 2012

TBR Challenge Review, or One Day Amy Will Get It Right

Whoa.  Two months since I last participated in Le TBR Challenge?  Geez, time does fly when one is having fun, or sweltering in this godforsaken South Carolina heat.  Mother Nature missed the cue cards that it's not even summer yet and decided to dial it up -- spontaneous combustion weather.  Great for the tan, which I actually have this year from all the hours I sit out on the patio to read.  Huh, you think I'd actually go inside and frollic in the air conditioning, eh?  But where's the fun in that?

If I remember right, June was supposed to be the month of the western.  And did I actually read one of those?  Noooo.  Rules, I have to break them.  Of course, Wendy is very lenient in the guidelines and we can read whatever our lil' pea-pickin' hearts want to.  This month, The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen was my vino of choice.  It's been a while since I read a book by this author, one of my faves, but I thought it fitting with the return of the television series, Rizzoli & Isles on TNT, starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

Detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles latest case is a nightmare come true.  The dismembered body of a young woman is found in her apartment, and if that weren't hair-raising enough, the message on the wall, in blood, is enough to cause many sleepless nights: I Have Sinned.  The artwork along with it does not bode well either, three upside down crosses.  The case gets worse when the only lead is a hang-up call made to Joyce O'Donnell, a psychiatrist whose work makes Jane spit and her ire climb.  Joyce's life calling is working with serial killers and other losers to find out what makes them tick.  Yeah, let's just say that Jane does not care of Joyce at all.  It's surely not dumb luck that on the night of that murder, a quack who loves to talk to killers would get a hang up on her answering machine.  She goes right to Rizzoli's top ten list of persons of interest. 

It doesn't take long to find out that Joyce is a member of The Mephisto Club, a group of people who want to find out more about evil -- in an intellectual way.  They've know a lot about the symbology of various signs in religion and cultures across the world and see this murder for what it is -- evil, in all its glory.  But their beliefs go one step further than calling the Club a hobby, they truly believe there is evil in the world, not just people doing vicious things.  Jane rolls her eyes a lot during the various interviews with the club members, but she can't ignore the fact that they're an excellent resource in possibly finding out what goes on in this killer's head.
But as more bodies pile up, including one right in the backyard of the Club's leader, Jane must keep her opinions to herself and incorporate the Mephisto Club's research into her own investigation.  It's apparent that this killer is just getting started, and only he knows when and where he'll stop.  If ever...

Jane may love her work, but she'd give her left arm for a garden variety armed robbery or an open-and-shut gangbanger case.  It's a little daunting seeing what people can do to others and know that this is the world she's bringing her daughter up in.  What I loved about The Mephisto Club was that it wasn't all Jane, all the time.  We get to see more behind the scenes, if you will, with Maura, and realize that she isn't made of steel, despite what the cops she works with may think.  She is human, after all.

Now there's a lot of books in the Rizzoli and Isles series, and there was a day when I was anal retentive enough to have to read them in order.  If you've seen my TBR, you'd know that is impossible and quite harmful to my health to go spelunking for these books to be read as they should.  That said, The Mephisto Club stands well on its own, and I was able to get caught up in time.  It also helps that I read its predecessor, Vanish, sometime in the past 11 months.

I seriously could gush about this book, but why?  It's a given that I'll probably love everything Gerritsen writes, and the heat has zapped my brain enough that I'm useless in offering a more detailed and witty critique.  Let's just say -- another winner.

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