Bantam Press | 2017 (10 August) | 336p | Review copy | Buy the book
Young men and women are being murdered in Boston in horrifically elaborate ways – the first is found in her house, lying on her bed, holding her eyeballs in her hand. The walls of the house are covered in horror movie posters. The torso of the second is shot through with arrows. There seems little to link the murders except for their gruesome nature but Detectives Jane Rizzoli and Barry Frost, as well as Medical Examiner Maura Isles, are determined to find one and stop the killer. But watching them is a young woman with something to fear. She knows how the victims are linked and she knows she’s on the murderer’s list. But she has a secret and that means that she can’t look to the police for help. Matters aren’t helped when someone very close to Maura Isles, someone she hoped never to see again, decides to take an interest.
I Know a Secret is the twelfth novel in Tess Gerritsen’s fine Rizzoli and Isles series. As usual, it features a standalone mystery but this is set within the context of so much that has grown familiar over the series – this a close-knit group of people. Jane and Maura know everything about each other and their team. Family and relationship troubles are causes for concern and Jane in particular spends time worrying about others, including Frost, whose longterm marriage woes continue to torment him (and everyone around him). Likewise there are developments in Jane’s own family and in Maura’s difficult past. These stories don’t dominate the novel – the mystery is always what matters the most – but it does mean that if you come to this novel cold, without having read any of the others, then you might well be missing out on the pleasure of getting to know their wonderful characters. I have yet to read them all but I’ve read enough to have picked up a real affection for these people.
I do enjoy how I Know a Secret is driven as much by character as it is suspense. Rizzoli, Frost and Isles all react in very human ways to the horrible sights that face them. They care about the victims and their families. The hunt for the killer becomes a personal driving force. I like Jane so much and, among all the other memorable characters who play their part here, I love her mother.
The crime case is a good one and it’s speeded along by regular chapters that give the point of view of the mysterious young woman who is watching events so closely. While I did find the story a little less involving than others in the series, it does pick up in the second half of the book as it begins to move in unexpected ways, culminating in a thoroughly satisfying conclusion.
I’ve grown to love this series very much and, as always, I must wait impatiently for the next while enjoying the fact that I still have a few to catch up on. It’s always good to spend time with Rizzoli and Isles.