Tuesday, August 30, 2005


In a concerted effort to not whine about my job today, I've decided it's high time I get back to discussing reading.

I wrapped up Vanish by Tess Gerritsen last night. Final verdict? Pretty good.

Just pretty good? Well let's be honest here - it's a little hard to top the last couple of books in this series. The Sinner featured a pregnant nun and Body Double had a ready-to-pop-at-any-moment pregnant woman who spent the whole novel being buried alive.

Vanish features a corpse who wakes up in the morgue. So that's what they mean by "undead."

After medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles discovers the undead corpse, they rush Jane Doe to the hospital across the street. The woman is clearly aggitated and impossible to control. Meanwhile, in a different part of the hospital, Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli has been admitted. Her water has finally broke and her husband, FBI agent Gabriel Dean has gone home to get her packed hospital bag.

Chaos ensues when Jane Doe escapes her hosptial bed, kills a security guard and takes all of the Diagnostic Imaging department hostage - including Rizzoli.

Turf wars erupt. The Feds show up unannounced, while Boston PD is on the scene with their hostage negotiator. Only he and Gabriel Dean are acting rationally, wanting to end the scene in a calm manner. Everyone else wants to act like stormtroopers.

One thing I really like about this series is that Gerritsen doesn't follow just one character. Early books focussed one Rizzoli, the last couple shifted to Dr. Isles, and this time out? Gabriel Dean is the focus for a large chunk of the story. I especially enjoyed some insight into his relationship to Rizzoli. Readers will better understand how Mr. Gray Suit FBI feel in love with fire and brimstone Rizzoli.

The rest of this might constitute a spoiler - so consider this your warning.

I also really liked how Jane was after the baby was born. I'm not a mother, but I know enough to know that the whole Madonna and child myth is a big bunch of hooey. Women feel like maternal failures if they can't breastfeed and/or they are completely overwhelmed by the bundle of screaming, squalling joy that has dropped into their laps. Jane is at that spot. She feels completely ill-prepared for motherhood, and feels guilty about the fact that she misses having her own life and career away from baby. It's the big stinky elephant in the room that no woman wants to acknowledge, and Gerritsen does. Brava!

That said, I found Vanish a little uneven where Dr. Isles was concerned. There is a revelation during the climactic finish that I really wanted her reaction too, and didn't get. Also, the book ends rather abruptly. I wanted fall-out dagnabit, but suspect that Gerritsen will touch on these issues in later installments.

All in all a very good read.


Ana T. said...

Ok, so if Rizzoli spent a whole book pregnant I really hope she is not the one that was buried alive in the last book. Regarding what you mention about Jane after being a mother that totally makes me want to pick up this book asap!!!

Wendy said...

LOL! No Rizzoli doesn't get buried alive, she just spends the first part of Vanish being held hostage! Gerritsen has said she got some flack from some readers and critics (male, naturally) for the gooey "mother stuff" in this book. Hogwash!

Ana T. said...

Great! Hogwash indeed!!

Ana T. said...

I'm on chapter two of Body Double btw ;-)