It has been three long years since the last Rizzoli and Isles book and it was well worth the wait. On the TV series, which does not really follow the books, the actor who played Rizzoli's partner, Frost, a really great character, committed suicide and was killed off the show. I really hoped Gerritsen would not kill him off in the book, and she does not, which is a relief. In the books, Korchef has retired and was going to marry Rizzoli's mom, whose husband ran off with a bimbo. Then he comes back and expects everything to be the same. Her mom is miserable. She's not with the man she loves, but she is getting pressure from her two sons and her priest to stay with her husband, who is a real jackass and treats her poorly.
This is by far the bloodiest of the Rizzoli and Isles books, and that is saying a lot. It opens with the murder of taxidermist/hunter Leon Gott, who is found in his garage, hanging from the ceiling, cut stem to stern, with most of his innards in a trash can along with the innards of a snow leopard, which is an endangered and rarely seen animal. He has been there for four days, and well, his two cats and dog have gotten hungry and feasted on him.
It turns out that Gott was hired to stuff the leopard, who was euthanized at the zoo where he lived, and sold to a shock jock hunter radio host, because the zoo needed the money. It is illegal to sell their pelts, no matter how old they are, however. While Rizzoli and Frost are at the zoo, one of the zoo keepers is mauled to death by a cougar. Her death is deemed an accident, but there are a lot of questions and suspicions about her death.
The book goes back and forth between the current story in Boston, and one that took place in Botswana six-years ago. A group, a Japanese couple, a British couple, two young women, and a young man, go to "rough" it in the wild with a guide named Johnny and his assistant Clarence. One day they wake up to find the remains of Clarence's body outside the protective perimeter of the fence with bells. He was keeping overnight watch. Then another one of them is killed. Some of them begin to suspect Johnny of killing them. Millie, part of the now broken up British couple, can not believe it and thinks they are crazy. Things go from bad to worse and only one of them will survive.
Gott's estranged son, Elliott was on that trip. Since his death, Gott has regretted the way he treated his son. On Sunday afternoon, after the pelt is delivered to him, he calls two people, Elliot's girlfriend and the Johannesburg police department. The pelt is missing from his house. Did someone steal it because of its value, or for some other demented reason? The same night Gott dies, Elliot's girlfriend his murdered too. As they dig, they find cases similar to the way Gott died. Was it an animal right's group making an example of hunters or something so unthinkable and sinister who would believe it?
This is a really great book, even with all the blood and guts. You will never guess the endgame. There are so many twists and turns and false leads that seem so promising, yet misleading you from the truth. Rizzoli and Isles are up against a serious killer who would not blink at killing either one of them if they get to close to finding him out. By the way, for those who doubt the ending as being possible, do not just take my word for it (I have read up on it) but remember that Gerritesen is a MD and knows what she is talking about.
I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell