Listen To Me by Tess Gerritsen – a thriller and mystery from a well established detection team

Listen To Me by Tess Gerritsen

A murder, a puzzle and so much more – this is a vivid and challenging book in which established characters, Detective Jane Fizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles, have to discover what is truly going on. A nurse has been brutally murdered in her own home in a seemingly motiveless attack, but what can be discovered from the information she left behind? As if Jane has not got enough to concern her, her mother Angela seems to have become a neighbourhood vigilante, obsessed with her new neighbours and what may be going on across the road. Angela usually confines herself to cooking up a storm for all comers, but is she now walking into danger? This fast moving novel is far more than a police procedural or mystery; the characters feel very real and have genuine depth. This was my first encounter with Rizzoli and Isles, so I can definitely guarantee that this works as a standalone, though I can see that the earlier books in the series will be worth tracking down. I was very pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this enthralling book which I really found difficult to put down.

The great success of this book lies in the reality of the characters alongside a twisty plot. From a black boy’s mother angrily defending her son through to a young woman who seems to be being pursued by an older man, every main character is given a real focus, and in Angela’s case, a voice to describe what she thinks, feels and ultimately experiences. The detective team of Rizzoli and Frost has been together long enough to be a real family affair, even if Alice is a little trying. From such a background the breakthroughs that occur after a lot of hard work seem logical. Much of Angela’s commentary on her sort of investigations is almost light relief, though Jane’s weary reactions to her phone calls empathise how annoying she is, distracting her from a complex investigation with so many threads. Gerritsen obviously enjoys herself balancing humour and tension; not down playing the genuine suspense and terror of murder, but balancing it with a certain amount of honest comedy. As Jane has to work out the central mystery of who would find it necessary to kill a quiet, widowed nurse who has gained the respect of those who had worked with her, an old case seems to be haunting the investigation. 

There are many threads or strands to this case, some of which I spotted while others were a mystery. It is such a cleverly constructed novel where instinct and making the connections are so important, and I found as a first time reader of this author I felt completely able to follow. Its settings are convincing, and the author’s medical knowledge is well deployed to ground the clues and ideas. It was also interesting to get hints of Maura’s secret life. 

This is a murder mystery/ thriller which I greatly enjoyed, despite my relative lack of knowledge of American life and policing. I found it a fascinating read which I greatly enjoyed and would recommend to anyone who enjoys contemporary crime with a humourous twist.