Book Review: Die Again by Tess Gerritsen

Die Again
Rizzoli and Isles
by Tess Gerritsen

Seven people head out for the ultimate vacation experience, a trip into the bush of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The group is definitely going to be roughing it. Sleeping in tents, eating what they hunt, no bathrooms, and no showers. Dependent on their guide, Johnny Posthumus (What a name for someone in a murder suspense thriller, right?), and his tracker, Clarence, they set off into the delta after being flown in on a rickety plane piloted by a drunkard.

The members of the group are strangers. Richard is an English author of men’s adventure novels. He approaches everything with a macho swagger. To him, this safari, which was his idea, is the manliest thing he can conceive of doing. His live-in girlfriend, Millie, does not feel the same enthusiasm. She met Richard when he was at the bookstore, where she was employed, for a book signing. This is not what Millie would call a vacation. She has grudgingly comes along to make her man happy.

The safari starts out well, but immediately turns into a nightmare of the worst kind. One by one the members of the group disappear and are found dead. This is being blamed on the indigenous predators of the bush. There are many animals who would find humans to be easy prey and delicious meals. One of the group is found dead, hanging from the branch of a tree. Obviously he has been killed by a leopard. They are the only big cat who is strong enough to drag its prey up into a tree for safe keeping.

On the fateful day when the members of the group are being shot to death, Millie runs into the bush to escape. She trusted Johnny to keep them safe, but it seems that he lured them into the bush to hunt them. What could be more fascinating that hunting prey who can think?

Back in Boston a very rare aged snow leopard is put down at the zoo. The leopard is then sent to a famous taxidermist who will recreate a lifelike model from the remains of the leopard. This animal is worth 5 million dollars to a collector who also is a big game hunter.

Detective Jane Rizzoli is called to an unbelievably horrid crime scene. The house has big game animal heads hanging from the walls. The victim is Leon Gott, the taxidermist, who also is a big game hunter. He is found gutted and hanging upside down. A leopard would eviscerate his catch, though hanging the man by the ankles is what a human would do. On each side of the face of Leon Gott are 3 parallel, long marks. What could do this? The victim’s innards are found in a trash can along with the intestines of someone else. But one doesn’t usually find a six-lobed liver in a human. In addition, the prized snow leopard’s pelt has been stolen.

In a seemingly unrelated murder, a young woman is murdered in her home just hours after Leon. She luckily was not eviscerated. Dr. Isles is the medical examiner on both cases. She develops an interesting hypothesis, that even her best friend and Detective Jane Rizzoli thinks is preposterous. The story moves back and forth from Boston and Botswana and locations in between.

As you know I am a fan of Tess Gerritsen. This was a fascinating story. I especially could not get enough of the voice of Millie as she narrates the tale of the doomed Botswanan safari. Rizzoli and Isles have been best friends for years, but the tension between them in this novel was interesting as they had conflicting theories that threatened their friendship and the investigation.

I didn’t want to put this book down. It was irritating to have to stop and do other things. Life must go on. I just wish it would slow down when I am ensconced in my Lazy Girl chair reading a good book. I have no hesitation in giving Die Again 5 of 5 stars.

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