three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
26-Jan-Feb-2007
user_rating: 
0

A-The Mephisto ClubWhen 28-year-old Lori-Ann Tucker’s body is found on Christmas morning, Boston medical examiner Maura Isles and police detective Jane Rizzoli step in. It’s no typical murder, however: in her apartment they find dismembered body parts, strange symbols, and "Peccavi"—Latin for "I have sinned"—etched in blood. They link the victim to a celebrity psychiatrist, a member of an elite, satanic cult called the Mephisto Club, whose members believe that Satan is alive and well. More victims follow. Only when a corpse appears at the club’s doorstep, however, do the cult’s acolytes start to question their metaphysical mission to find and identify the heart of evil.
Ballantine. 368 pages. $25.95. ISBN: 0345476999

Los Angeles Times 4 of 5 Stars
"[Gerritsen’s] explanation of complex forensic details is as crisp and straightforward as ever and her prose, always fluid, manages to rise at times to lyrical levels, especially when describing a cold New England winter. She has also clearly done her homework in demonology … using her knowledge to spin a tale that will keep readers feverishly turning pages." Paula L. Woods

Philadelphia Inquirer 4 of 5 Stars
"While some are critical of her graphic writing about crimes and autopsies, the scientific accuracy in these scenes gives the novel a realism not found in many thrillers. … Fans of the series will appreciate how the protagonists have evolved." Sheri Melnick

Providence Journal 4 of 5 Stars
"All thrillers these days seem to have sinister secret societies and centuries-old pursuits as prerequisites. The difference here is that Gerritsen manages the mix in seamlessly suspenseful fashion." Jon Land

Boston Globe 3.5 of 5 Stars
"The myths about evil from pre-biblical and biblical texts that are threaded through the novel seem forced, and the ending is a bit too complex for my taste. But as always, the utterly convincing forensic details from Gerritsen are equally fascinating and horrifying, and the pages seem to turn themselves." Hallie Ephron

NY Times Book Review 1.5 of 5 Stars
"A lurid writer to begin with, Gerritsen pops her cork on the Grand Guignol trappings of her story, sacrificing the credibility of her series sleuths, a prima donna medical examiner and her dimwitted flunky on the Boston police force, for a sensation-driven adventure in silliness." Marilyn Stasio

Critical Summary

The Mephisto Club, the sixth in the Jane Rizzoli/Maura Isles series (after Vanish), contains Tess Gerritsen’s trademark lurid writing, grisly medical/forensic details, and chilling suspense. This time, as a satanically driven killer tortures and dismembers his victims, an esoteric cult considers the existence of a gene for evil. It’s not a tale for the faint of heart; metaphysical inquiries into demonology and evil are matched, page by page, by grisly details. The only major criticism comes from New York Times Book Review, which cited a total lack of credibility. Otherwise, The Mephisto Club should provide "hair-raising, demon-hunting good fun" (Los Angeles Times).