For untold years, the perfectly preserved mummy had lain forgotten in the dusty basement of Boston’s Crispin Museum. Now its sudden rediscovery by museum staff isboth a major coup and an attention-grabbing mystery. Dubbed “Madam X,” the mummy—to all appearances, an ancient Egyptian artifact—seems a ghoulish godsend for the financially struggling institution. But medical examiner Maura Isles soon discovers a macabre message hidden within the corpse—horrifying proof that this “centuries-old” relic is instead a modern-day murder victim.
To medicial examiner Dr. Maura Isles and Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli, the forensic evidence is unmistakable, its implications terrifying. And when the grisly remains of yet another woman are found in the hidden recesses of the museum, it becomes chillingly clear that a maniac is at large—and is now taunting them.
Archaeologist Josephine Pulcillo’s blood runs cold when the killer’s cryptic missives are discovered, and her darkest dread becomes real when the carefully preserved corpse of yet a third victim is left in her car like a gruesome offering—or perhaps a ghastly promise of what’s to come.
The twisted killer’s familiarity with post-mortem rituals suggests to Maura and Jane that he may have scientific expertise in common with Josephine. Only Josephine knows that her stalker shares a knowledge even more personally terrifying: details of a dark secret she had thought forever buried.
Now Maura must summon her own dusty knowledge of ancient death traditions to unravel a murderer’s twisted endgame. And when Josephine vanishes, Maura and Jane have precious little time to derail the Archaeology Killer before he adds another chilling piece to his monstrous collection. (synopsis from Tess Gerritsen.com)
What did you like about this book?
I liked that the author took the time to do solid research about Egyptology, archeology, and the preservation of antiquities and work it into the story without it becoming bogged down and reading like a textbook. There is a recurring subplot in this series that tells you a little bit about the personal lives of the characters, which I like because I enjoy knowing the backstory of a character. It humanizes them. The pacing was really good. Once I picked it up, I finished it pretty quickly.
What didn’t you like about the book?
There wasn’t much to dislike about this book actually. The beginning kind of threw me off a bit until I realized it was a bit of foreshadowing, that made more sense toward the ending. The ending had a bit of plot twist that was good but seemed to be tacked on to pad the story.
What could the author do to improve this book?
Not a whole lot in my opinion. The Rizzoli and Isles series is very strongly written. I felt that there was a mis-step with the previous book, The Mephisto Club, in terms of the continuity and flow but I think Tess Gerritsen rebounded nicely with this one. I found out that this book series has been turned into a TV series that is shown on TNT, which I think is great because 2 strong women characters are showcased. Also, Tess Gerrtisen is a author who also blogs, mainly about the business of publishing. She definitely gets her grind on to stay on the New York Times best seller lists.
If you like thrillers that are researched and tightly written, you’ll like this one. I also suggested reading the series as well, in order so you can get the character back stories as well!
(Special thanks to Lisa at Reads For Pleasure, for the use of her book review format!)