The Mephisto Club: (Rizzoli & Isles series 6)

The Mephisto Club: (Rizzoli & Isles series 6)
The Mephisto Club: (Rizzoli & Isles series 6) (click images to enlarge)

The Mephisto Club: (Rizzoli & Isles series 6)

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Can you really see evil when you look into someone's eyes? In a rundown house, a woman has been dismembered in an act of carnage that leaves veteran cops in shock. Drawn on the wall, in blood, are ancient symbols, and a mirror-image word in Latin that, translated, says: "I have sinned." Then a second woman is found butchered on Beacon Hill, just outside the home of the leader of the Mephisto Club, a secret society dedicated to the study of evil. On the door yet more ancient symbols have been scrawled. This is evil that the Boston PD has never encountered before. And the only way Maura Isles can defeat it is by turning to the people who understand the devil himself.

For a considerable time Tess Gerritsen has been producing some of the most challenging -- and disturbing -- crime novels being written today. A speciality, of course, is her preparedness to go further than most authors would dare to -- male or female -- and with The Mephisto Club, she once more seems prepared to face the reader and say: if you can take it, I can dish it out. While Gerritsen has found new things to say in the genre of the serial killer novel, what really distinguishes her work is the brilliant characterisation of her twin heroines, medical examiner Dr Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli. Both protagonists feature in this latest novel, and while it might not crank up the tension to the same degree as the remarkable Vanish, it will be a rare reader indeed who will be able to put this one down.

Christmas in Boston brings horror rather than good cheer when a woman's body is found dismembered in a crime scene that leaves even hardened cops queasy. Doctor Maura Isles is assigned to the case, but soon another brutal murder takes place: a woman has been mutilated and murdered on Beacon Hill, near the home of the director of the Mephisto Club. This is a clandestine society whose subject is the study of evil -- and its agenda is to confront it in its most unadulterated forms. As Detective Jane Rizzoli becomes involved, it’s quickly apparent that both women (no strangers to the bloodiest extremes of human cruelty) are up against something which is close to a distillation of the purest evil.

This isn't quite Tess Gerritsen on her very best form, but it’s still more compelling and audacious than most thrillers being written today. The legions of Tess Gerritsen fans need not hesitate. --Barry Forshaw

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