Tess Gerritsen
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Buy *Vanish* online

Tess Gerritsen
416 pages
August 2006
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Click here to read reviewer Dave Roy's take on Vanish.

Popular medical thriller writer Tess Gerritsen is back with another story of murder, police corruption and mystery in her latest novel, Vanish. Fans of Gerritsen’s series will be happy to know that all the usual characters are back. There is tough woman cop Jane Rizzoli, who goes into the hospital to give birth to her overdue baby at the beginning of the book. There’s her husband, FBI agent Gabriel Dean, and Medical Examiner Maura Isles, the star of Gerritsen’s last book, Body Double.

Maura finds herself in a surreal situation when she hears a noise at the morgue one night and discovers that one of her corpses is still alive. The woman, later identified as a European illegal immigrant named Olena, is extremely agitated and must be restrained when she is transported to the local hospital.

Jane is in for much more than she bargained for when she enters the hospital after her water breaks in court one day. While waiting for her doctor, Jane is taken hostage by the deranged Olena, who has killed her guard with his stolen gun. Along with her doctor and a few other hospital staff, Jane tries to find a way to save her life and the life of her soon-to-be-born child.

Outside the hospital, Gabriel is frantic to find a way to save his family. With the help of Maura and a writer for the local paper, he comes across a conspiracy that involves Olena and some of the top officials in the country. Will he be able to uncover the secret in time to save his wife?

Gerritsen has established herself as one of the top authors in her genre. With crackling tension, expertly written plots and believable characters, Vanish will keep you turning the pages far past your bedtime. I’m especially impressed with the way Gerritsen has developed her characters throughout the series. Jane Rizzoli started out as a childish cop with a huge chip on her shoulder and has evolved into the wise, tough woman who appears in Vanish. Gabriel and Maura have also shown growth, though neither of them take center stage like Jane does in this book. This is another of Gerritsen’s strengths; each book showcases different characters more heavily than others, so we’re not always reading about the same person - and each player in the cast gets to tell his or her own story.

My only complaint with Vanish is that after a wonderful plot build-up that leaves you hungry for the answer to the mystery, the finale is a little disappointing. I think that the conspiracy could have been more complex and interesting. At only 332 pages, Gerritsen could have easily increased the length of the book by fifty or more pages and expanded the plot.

Fans of Gerritsen will certainly be happy with Vanish. New readers of the author may be a little confused if they haven’t read the previous books in the series, and I suggest they start with The Surgeon so they can get to know the characters and understand their backstories. Although I wasn’t that happy with the ending of the book, I did enjoy Vanish and will definitely pick up the next book in Gerritsen’s series.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Angela McQuay, 2005

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