The Killing Place – Tess Gerritsen

Anyone who knows me or has been following Savidge Reads for any length of time will probably know by now that I am a big fan of Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles novels. That said though, because I am such a fan of them, I read them rather sparingly. However the other day when I was feeling in a slight bookish lull, aware I wanted something crime filled and thrilling yet familiar it seemed like it was time to catch up with the eighth in the series ‘The Killing Place’, or ‘Ice Cold’ as its titled abroad, and so I sat down and devoured the book in two sittings, starting one evening and finishing the following morning. They are utterly compelling.

Bantam Press, hardback, 2010, fiction, 322 pages, kindly sent by the publisher

Dr Maura Isles, who you will know by now if you have been reading the series a while, leaves Boston for a medical conference in Wyoming where, needing a change of scene from the disastrous love affair with Father Daniel Brophy, she meets up with an old college acquaintance, Doug, and decides on the spur of the moment (not something a control freak like Maura normally does) to join him, his daughter and friends on a skiing trip for the weekend. Alas the spontaneous adventure takes a darker twist when a sudden snow storm descends and the motley crew end up stranded in the middle of nowhere with a broken down car… Until they spot Kingdom Come a seemingly abandoned settlement of part of a religious group. At first they think they have found their salvation, but they couldn’t have been more wrong.

To give anything else away after this would be to ruin all the wonderful, and truly gripping, twists and turns that Gerritsen will delight you with as ‘The Killing Place’ continues. I was one hundred percent gripped from the start of the book until the very end which I didn’t see turning out the way it did, though knowing Tess Gerritsen’s other books I should have known there is always an added twist or two to any of her tales. Before I carry on raving about the book I should throw in a few slight issues I had with it. Firstly was one of the character names. I won’t say who ‘Rat’ is in the story, as he is quite pivotal, but having that as his name very nearly broke the spell for me. I simply couldn’t get my head around it initially however I carried on as the story was just too good. Secondly I did get a little lost at one point which doesn’t usually happen. Rare for me to say it but about a quarter of the way through too much seemed to happen at once. I was delighted there were so many threads to the novel but for a chapter or two I did find myself thinking ‘hang on a minute… what?’ This did pass though and suddenly all made sense.

What I did really like about this book, and I have noticed this more and more as the series has progressed, is that Gerritsen uses the situations she puts Rizzoli and Isles, or the crimes they investigate, Isles being the Medical Examiner to Rizzoli’s detective, to talk about issues. As the series has gone on its has remained a brilliant set of thrilling crime novels but they have become less slasher and more psychological. In the case of ‘The Killing Place’ the theme is about religious sects and how they are, and aren’t, controlled and how this effects the people in them and outside of them.

I also like to think that these books make me slightly more clever, in a fun if grisly way, as Gerritsen is/was a doctor and so when awful things happen to the victims I find myself learning all sorts of scientific words and phrases I would never normally learn but can now use at will. I am dying to throw organophosphate into a conversation over dinner sometime soon.

‘Pasternak said, “How sure are you that this organophosphate stuff is what we are dealing with?”
   “It will need to be confirmed by the tox report. But the clinical picture is classic. Gruber responded to atropine. And a STAT blood test showed a significant drop in cholinesterase activity. Again, that’s something you’d find with organophosphate poisoning.”’

I highly recommend ‘The Killing Place’, it will grip you from the start and (cliché alert, yet true) have you hooked turning the pages until the small hours. I also think that being more of an Isles story and out of its usual setting of Boston this could be a good place to start the series randomly, unless you are like me and simply have to read everything in order. ‘The Killing Place’ is also a great example of a thriller that deals with issues of our times and leaves you thinking with the questions it asks. Oh, one final thing though, I hope the next book is about the random body that Rizzoli finds in a dead (natural causes) old ladies storage unit. I was really grimly fascinated by that and then Rizzoli went off in search of Maura, I felt that was ‘to be continued…’

Who else is a Rizzoli and Isles fan? Are you a fan of the TV series, I am! Which is your favourite of the books, which would you recommend to a new to Gerritsen reader? Have you read any of the non Rizzoli and Isles tales and if so what did you make of those?


Filed under Bantam Press, Review, Rizzoli and Isles, Tess Gerritsen

8 responses to “The Killing Place – Tess Gerritsen

  1. I guessed you were reading this when you mentioned a character called Rat on twitter the other day. It is just his nickname though so it didn’t seem weird to me. I sort of liked the TV show once I decided to stop comparing to the books as the casting is so wrong and the characters are nothing like in the books!

    • It really bothered me, nickname or not, just seemed really corny. That said it didn’t attract from the book overall and I read it in three sittings. I do love this series so much, and I love the show. I don’t mind the differences there oddly, I think I do what you do and differentiate.

  2. I love the Rizzoli and Isles books. I’ve read some of Gerritsen’s other works and they’re not as fast paced and thrilling as these but Gravity is one of my favorites and The Bone Garden was very good. But like you, I’m a bit behind. This is the last one that I read. I always think of a random quote from Tess Gerritsen that I read on her blog once about how all of us see ourselves as the hobbits, the little guy trying to make our place in the world. I don’t know, I messed it up but it was a great quote.

    • I have yet to try any of her none Rizzoli and Isles books. Oh I have read The Bone Garden, which apparently isn’t really part of the series because it only has Maura in it, but I think it is still one of them.

  3. I had to do a cartoon-style disbelieving rub of my eyes then when I saw you were suggesting starting the series midway through, Simon. But interestingly I have tried to start this series this year (I’ve read the first two) and just can’t get into it, I had lukewarm feelings towards both books. I really WANT to love Gerritsen, though, as I enjoy her blog and think she seems like a generally nice & down-to-earth person, plus she gets extra interest from me for being a doctor. So maybe it would be an idea to jump to elsewhere in the series. I mean I haven’t even got to any books featuring Isles yet. Which is your favourite Rizzoli & Isles book?

    • Hahahaha were you that shocked? Ha, I haven’t lost my marbles honestly.

      Hmmm my favourite. I don’t know I like so many of them, I did like this one a lot, and I loved the last one with the mummy, that was BRILLIANT!

  4. I’ve read the first 5 in the series, and I’m trying to pace myself. I really enjoy them. My favourite so far is probably a try between the first one and Body Double. Have you ever read PJ Tracy? Their (they’re a mother-daughter team) books don’t have forensics in them, and they’re quite different from Gerritsen’s, but there’s something about them that makes me think Gerritsen fans would enjoy them.

    • I am pacing myself too Rosario. That said it is difficult. I did find myself almost reaching out for the next one as soon as I had read this one.

      I have never heard of PJ Tracy, I will see if I can find them at the library.

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