Body Double, by Tess Gerritsen

>> Wednesday, February 09, 2011

TITLE: Body Double
AUTHOR: Tess Gerritsen

PAGES: 416
PUBLISHER: Ballantine

SETTING: Contemporary Boston
TYPE: Mystery
SERIES: 4th in the Rizzoli / Isles series

REASON FOR READING: I'm really enjoying this series, Gerritsen was an excellent discovery this year.

Dr. Maura Isles makes her living dealing with death. As a pathologist in a major metropolitan city, she has seen more than her share of corpses every day–many of them victims of violent murder. But never before has her blood run cold, and never has the grim expression “dead ringer” rung so terrifyingly true. Because never before has the lifeless body on the medical examiner’s table been her own.

Yet there can be no denying the mind-reeling evidence before her shocked eyes and those of her colleagues, including Detective Jane Rizzoli: the woman found shot to death outside Maura’s home is the mirror image of Maura, down to the most intimate physical nuances. Even more chilling is the discovery that they share the same birth date and blood type. For the stunned Maura, an only child, there can be just one explanation. And when a DNA test confirms that Maura’s mysterious doppelgänger is in fact her twin sister, an already bizarre murder investigation becomes a disturbing and dangerous excursion into a past full of dark secrets.

Searching for answers, Maura is drawn to a seaside town in Maine where other horrifying surprises await. But perhaps more frightening, an unknown murderer is at large on a cross-country killing spree. To stop the massacre and uncover the twisted truth about her own roots, Maura must probe her first living subject: the mother that she never knew . . . an icy and cunning woman who could be responsible for giving Maura life–and who just may have a plan to take it away.
Returning from holiday, Boston medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles arrives home to find the flashing lights of ambulances and police cars right in front of her door. Strange enough, but even stranger is the way her police colleagues stagger back in shock when they see her. It turns out that they thought she was dead: there's a murdered woman who looks exactly like Maura sitting in a car in front of Maura's house.

Before long, it becomes clear that the dead woman was Maura's twin, and they were each adopted by a different family. But who killed her? There are plenty of possibilities, from an abusive ex to a newly found birth mother serving a prison term for some very brutal murders...

Body Double was horrifying, gruesome, very dark and with a high body count. Very definitely not for the squeamish. If you can handle it, however, it's really, really good. Fast-paced, interesting characters, and a case I never lost interest in.

Gerritsen laid out the investigation perfectly, in a way that kept me at the edge of my seat. We as readers know only slightly more than the detectives, and the way it works, the more the detectives discover, the more what we already know starts to make sense. We are having to interpret clues as well, in parallel with the police, and that worked wonderfully.

For instance, every now and then the action cuts to a woman named Mattie Purvis. Mattie is an 8-month pregnant woman who, after a fight with her scummy husband is snatched from her home. She wakes up in a box, buried underground with some food, water and a lantern. We have no idea initially what's up with that, but as Jane and Maura find out more things, Mattie's predicament starts to make more sense. And knowing about her, which Jane and Maura don't, allow us to stay a step ahead of them. And by the way, I loved what Gerritsen does with the character of Mattie. she may be stuck in a box, but boy, does she grow!

Something else I liked was that it's a case where there's so much that's linked to Maura's private life, that you get the impression that there are a lot of coincidences going on. But when you think about it, one thing leads to another all the way through, and it all makes sense.



SuperWendy,  9 February 2011 at 17:38  

This is probably my favorite in the series - because of "the poor pregnant woman who spends the whole book buried alive." LOL  This also happens to be the first Gerritsen book I actually "read."  I started this series on audio....and that's how I consumed the first three books.  By listening to them :)

rosario001,  10 February 2011 at 07:26  

Hahah! Yep, "the poor pregnant woman" rules! I just loved the ending, when she gives her scummy husband what he had coming!

Interesting that you did audio for the first books. I have never tried it, but I think my instinct would be not to go for anything with graphic violence. Isn't it weird to hear someone telling you about it?

SuperWendy,  11 February 2011 at 16:21  

Rosario: It depends.  I've really only listened to one suspense novel on audio that made me rather uncomfortable in parts - Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner - and that's because it's a Bad Things Happen To Kids book.  It was an awesome book - but REALLY hard to listen to!  I actually have more of a problem listening to romance, which is why I hardly ever do.  I'm fine with reading the dirtiest, raunchiest sex scene imaginable....but having someone read me even a mild sex scene tends to squirk me out.  Nora is one of the very few romance authors I can seem to "do" on audio, and that's because she's not overly "flowery."  Her sex scenes seem to be pretty straight forward ;)

Vinagrinhos 3 May 2012 at 19:36  

Ok, you two are going to be responsible for me staying up all night reading this book!

I haven't really tried audiobooks yet... I bought an Ipod for that purpose but it now resides in the babies room with baby music...

Rosario 5 May 2012 at 10:12  

It'll definitely keep you up, Ana! I'm so glad you finally tried this series, didn't I tell you several times you'd like it?? ;-)

Vinagrinhos 5 May 2012 at 23:22  

I got a bit behind but now I'm reading it again. I'm a bit worried about what they are going to find in the cellar... Fortunately Wendy already told me everything will be ok with Mattie but still..

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