The Mephisto Club, by Tess Gerritsen

>> Monday, April 22, 2013

TITLE: The Mephisto Club
AUTHOR: Tess Gerritsen

PAGES: 464
PUBLISHER: Ballantine

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Mystery
SERIES: 6th in the Rizzoli / Isles series

Evil exists. Evil walks the streets. And evil has spawned a diabolical new disciple in this white-knuckle thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.

The Latin word is scrawled in blood at the scene of a young woman’s brutal murder: I HAVE SINNED. It’s a chilling Christmas greeting for Boston medical examiner Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli, who swiftly link the victim to controversial celebrity psychiatrist Joyce O’Donnell–Jane’s professional nemesis and member of a sinister cabal called the Mephisto Club.

On top of Beacon Hill, the club’s acolytes devote themselves to the analysis of evil: Can it be explained by science? Does it have a physical presence? Do demons walk the earth? Drawing on a wealth of dark historical data and mysterious religious symbolism, the Mephisto scholars aim to prove a startling theory: that Satan himself exists among us.

With the grisly appearance of a corpse on their doorstep, it’s clear that someone–or something–is indeed prowling the city. The members of the club begin to fear the very subject of their study. Could this maniacal killer be one of their own–or have they inadvertently summoned an evil entity from the darkness?

Delving deep into the most baffling and unusual case of their careers, Maura and Jane embark on a terrifying journey to the very heart of evil, where they encounter a malevolent foe more dangerous than any they have ever faced... one whose work is only just beginning.
The crime scene Detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles are called to on Christmas Eve is a doozy. Not only has the body been horribly brutalised, they also find evidence of Satanic rituals. Their investigation leads them to the Mephisto Club, a group of well-heeled intellectuals who say they study evil. They seem to believe that some evil-doers are more than human. Demons, in fact.

And then the Mephisto Club is targetted directly. What is the killer's relationship to them? And what does all that have to do with a terrified young woman on the run in Italy, from whose point of view we keep getting scenes?

Given how much eye-rolling I did while I was reading the book, I'm surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did.

My biggest issue was the Mephisto Club itself. I'm someone who appreciates people spending time pursuing knowledge just for the sake of knowledge, but man, what a bunch of humourless, self-important crackpots! Gerritsen misses the mark completely with them. I imagine they're meant to come across as serious and somber and almost scary, but they were so preposterous (especially the leader, who shows quite an interest in Maura), that I couldn't take them seriously. And I still don't get what sort of power they have, that they could butt into the investigation to the extent they did.

And there are also the developments in Maura's relationship with Father Daniel Brophy. These didn't work for me at all. Partly it was about the utter idiocy of Maura's actions and how bad her decisions are. It was also partly about me not seeing the attraction at all, much as I would feel if she'd gone for someone who was cheating on his wife (I may think requiring celibacy from priests is a stupid idea, but the fact remains that to do what Brophy is doing requires cheating and lying). Not to mention, Gerritsen seemed to run out of space and didn't develop the issue much at all. Maura and Brophy act, but I don't quite understand what they think they're doing, to be honest. It's all still left hanging at the end of the book, but without any feeling that there is some sort of cliffhanger, it's simply that the issue disappears. It's a bit puzzling.

So, two biggies, really, but in spite of them, I enjoyed the book. The investigation ended up being fascinating, I suspect being made more so for all the manouvering around the Mephisto Club that Jane had to do. She's back to being an interesting character, and so was the young woman in Italy whose story we get in drips and drabs. I started out kind of resenting her sections, but quickly became engrossed in them, and couldn't wait to hear more.

Just as Maura has some personal developments, so does Jane. In her case, it's to do with her parents, and that was cool. I wanted (and still want) Jane's mother to hand her father his head on a plate, divorce him, and take him for everything he's got, the fucking pig. It's kind of unresolved at the end, but I have high hopes. We'll see whether I get what I want here.


AUDIOBOOK NOTE: There seem to be several versions of this book available, the one I read was this one, narrated by Lorelei King, who was really good. The voice she did for Jane was a bit of an abrasive one, but that fit perfectly with my idea of what she would sound like.


Wendy 22 April 2013 at 17:45  

This is actually my least favorite book in the series (probably a C+ or B- for me) solely because of The Mephisto Club. I couldn't take them seriously and frankly I kept hoping Jane would pull out her service revolver and just start shooting them.

Without giving you spoilers - I will say the Maura/Father Brophy issue gets addressed in later books. Ooooooh, and the Rizzoli family stuff really starts to heat up too :)

Rosario 23 April 2013 at 10:45  

They really are majorly annoying. Something about that combination of po-faced solemnity and very kooky beliefs, I think.

I've read the next book now, and I do see what you mean about more Maura/Father Brophy. So far it seems like Gerritsen realises it was a wrong step and is pulling back, but maybe more stuff will happen later? I'll try to hold back from reading the rest of the books too quickly, but I might not be strong enough!

Post a Comment

Blog template by

Back to TOP