Book Review: Last to Die, by Tess Gerritsen

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Last to Die is another excellent, suspenseful mystery by Tess Gerritsen.

As soon as I finished Ice Cold, by Tess Gerritsen I had to get Last to Die, another book in her Rizzoli and Isles series. It was so good! At the end of Ice Cold, a young, self sufficient teen who calls himself Rat, is invited to attend an unusual private school in Maine, after his family is killed. I’d grown fond of him in Ice Cold, so was curious to see how he was doing there. Featured again in this book, we get to visit him at the school.

The Story

Three children from three separate families, are living with relatives or in foster care after their parents were killed a few years earlier. When their guardian families are murdered in the same week, the kids all end up at the same school in Maine, a school named Evensong.

Maura Isles, a medical examiner, is visiting Rat at the school to see how he is settling in. Whe she learns of the similarities she begins to question how all three could go through the same tragedies–twice. Maura’s friend and associate, police detective, Jane Rizzoli, is convinced to investigate.

So do the children at the school. The kids begin their own investigation. These aren’t ordinary students. It’s not an ordinary school. Started and supported by the Mephisto Club, the school takes in children who are all survivors, like the club members themselves.

None of them can stop the murders that occur on the school grounds. Someone is there with the children, watching them. Someone is following the investigation too closely, an investigation that takes them years into the past. What connected these families that caused their deaths? You too will be questioning who it is safe to trust, if anyone.

The book was published in 2012, with 353 pages. It is available in all formats, including the audiobook which runs 10 hours and 28 minutes. Tanya Eby narrates and does her usual terrific job.

Tess Gerritsen, The Author of Last to Die

I’m enjoying Ms. Gerritsen’s books so much. As a physician as well as an author, she is well qualified to draw us into her realistic, medical suspense novels. I like the way her secondary characters (besides Jane Rizolli and Maura Isles) appear in subsequent books occasionally.She’s very clever with her story lines as well. This one surprised me with several unexpected twists. It seems many of her stories, even within her series, have unusual, distinct plots, not simple police procedurals (which I like too).
I’ll definitely be reading more from Tess Gerritsen. Since she’s written more than a dozen thrillers I have a lot to look forward to!Ms. Gerritsen has a very interesting background. She was a doctor before she was a writer.  After graduating from Stanford, she attended UCSF for medical school. She wrote her first novel while home for maternity leave. Now published in over forty countries, Tess Gerritsen has sold over 30 million books.

My Favorite: Ice Cold

So far this is my favorite by Tess Gerritsen. I love the setting, the story, and the twists! Rat, who is also featured in Last to Die, is introduced in this selection. A very intriguing plot!

The Mephisto Club


A club whose purpose is to examine aspects of evil. One of their members found murdered. The Club fears the very evil they study. Could the killer be one of them or is it even worse? Maura and Jane will be investigating.


The Book Trailer for Last to Die…

Hear Tess Gerritsen Talk about Last to Die

It’s so interesting to hear from an author you enjoy. And Tess Gerritsen is lovely to make herself available. She often attends Writer Conferences too. You might enjoy listening to her here.


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

Author: Merry

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  1. Merry, I used to love reading murder mysteries, starting with Ellery Queen and Agatha Christie when I was a kid, but in just the last few years I’ve avoided them, sensitized somehow to the horrors we humans commit against one another persistently seen as entertainment.

    But a few years back, we watched the Rizzoli and Isles television series and were completely drawn in by the characters, so of course, your review intrigued me right away. I immediately wanted to know how the author treated her characters, as opposed to how the television writers depicted them.

    If ever I take up mystery reading again, Gerritsen’s novels will be on the list, thanks to you. One of the things that makes murder mysteries so fascinating is that dance with the author, where we try to pick up her clues and figure it out, but at the same time, want her to surprise us. At least that’s true for me.

    • Thanks so much for your comments Kathryn. I see what you mean. I still can’t resist them. You would be happy with Tess. Lauren Carr is another one. You might enjoy cozy mysteries too, should you get back to them. Puzzles always intrigue me, so I can’t resist them in book form either.

  2. This is definitely going on my reading list, beginning with Ice Cold, if that is the place to begin. Something tells me I’ll want to wait until I have time to read all the books in a row on one long reading binge.

    • I agree completely Barbara. My list is so long, yet I keep adding more. I think you will enjoy both of the books.

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