Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ICE COLD - Tess Gerritsen

FIRST LINE: "She was the chosen one."

In the eighth book of the Rizzoli & Isles series, Maura Isles heads west to Wyoming for a medical conference. Leaving Daniel, her not-so-secret lover, behind in Boston on bad terms, Maura decides to be adventurous when she meets up with her old college pal, Doug. She joins Doug, his two friends and his daughter on a ski trip. However, extreme weather conditions strand them in an isolated area and the group goes looking for help. They find a small community with a sign labeling it "Kingdom Come." The clutch of houses provide some shelter from the elements, but details about the homes make the community scarier and scarier. It appears that everyone just picked up and left: windows are open, pets frozen out in the snow, food left on dinner plates at kitchen tables. The travelers only thought they were having a bad day until they found their way to Kingdom Come. Maura Isles' adventure has only just begun.

Lately I've been slower than even normal when it comes to reading, but ICE COLD kept me riveted to the pages, one right after the other. Gerritsen has a gift when it comes to developing suspense. ICE COLD is a layered plot, but the reader can't see the layers until the very end when Gerritsen has carefully unfolded them all. It's very much like driving on a constantly curving road. You know a curve is coming up, but you have no ability to see what's on the other side until you're right in the midst of it. And that is a large element of what keeps the reader glued to this book. Another component that makes this novel so rich is depth of conflict. Gerritsen doesn't overlook any opportunity for conflict, but on top of that the conflicts start conflicting with themselves. Doug's conflict with himself runs smack into his conflict with nature AND with other man. And all of those conflicts have to interact for the end result to be possible.  That complexity works to heighten the suspense.

Another component of Gerritsen's glue are her characters. Of course her series characters Jane and Maura are consistent and have secured their places in the hearts of series fans, but someone coming to the series fresh, could start with ICE COLD and not be lost at all.  I can say this with confidence because, while I have read Gerritsen's work before, it has all been her medical thriller stand alones; this is the first Rizzoli & Isles book I have read. And I have now ordered all of the previous ones because I enjoyed ICE COLD so much.

Gerritsen does an outstanding job of bringing out the supporting cast and making them as essential to the plot as Jane and Maura. The reader connects with them as much if not more so than Jane and Maura because they aren't flat images in the story. They have depth and dimension; they are vital to the plot and aren't interchangeable. I'm actually curious if some of the supporting cast will show up in future novels.

ICE COLD goes beyond the title; it functions as a theme throughout and has meaning on many different levels of the book. Gerritsen weaves it into the plot as well as characterization and even into the relationships among characters. The one place ICE COLD didn't manage to reach, however, was to me the reader. This book was HOT, and I could not put it down. It comes with my highest recommendation.

ICE COLD is available now from Ballantine Books in hardcover (ISBN: 978-0-345-51548-3). It is also available as an audiobook in both CD and MP3 format from Brilliance Audio (978-1-423-39207-1).


Kay July 13, 2010 at 9:29 AM  

I'm so glad that you are a new convert to the Rizzoli/Isles series, Jen. I've been a fan from way back and have read each and every one of them. I'm in the midst of ICE COLD right now, so I've just skimmed your review. Glad it worked for you and you have a good time in front of you catching up in this series. It's on my "must buy-must read" list.

Lesa July 13, 2010 at 9:44 AM  

Like you, Jen, this was the first Rizzoli/Isles book I read. It won't be the last. Now, I want to know what a long-time fan such as Kay thought of the TV series last night. (I know you didn't get a chance to see it.)

Serena July 13, 2010 at 9:52 AM  

I'm so glad that this book encouraged you to read more of this series. My mom raves about her books and particularly this series. I hope to get a review up from her soon about Ice Cold.

Kay July 13, 2010 at 11:41 AM  

Lesa and Jen, I haven't watched last night's show yet, but it is on the DVR. Maybe tonight or tomorrow. I'm reading ICE COLD, so I'll put my reaction to the TV series in that review later this week probably.

I like the women who play the parts on TV. My husband will be glad to see Sasha Alexander. He's still mad at NCIS that they killed Kate (Sasha's part on that show).

Hilde July 13, 2010 at 12:44 PM  

This series is pretty high up on my wishlist. It sounds great. I'm looking forward to the TV series as well (I love Angie Harmon), but I guess I'll have to wait a while before it comes to Norway.

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