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The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen

The Keepsake is the latest installment in Tess Gerritsen's Dr. Maura Isles/Jane Rizzoli (medical examiner/homicide detective, respectively) series that is set in Boston, Massachusetts. This is the other book that I was anticipating for about the past half a year since I found a listing for it on

The novel begins with a cryptic first chapter narrated in the first person--this is a departure from the rest of the novel and the series since the rest of the book, save for the final chapter, is narrated in third person. Gerritsen contributes a much better written installment to her series than Reichs did to the Brennan series. Gerritsen's mystery crackles with tighter, more urgent suspense as well. Gerritsen succeeds in creating and painting a more terrifying serial killer.

In The Keepsake we catch up with Isles and Rizzoli. Isles continues to see a man she cannot completely have and Rizzoli's marriage is still going strong; Rizzoli's daughter is now a year old. We also meet Josephine, an enigmatic, mysterious archaeologist who specializes in Egyptology. A mummy has turned up in Boston's Crispin Museum--it's a find that the museum didn't realize it had in its collection stored in the basement. Routine examinations reveal the mummy's origins are more modern than ancient, and this sets off a rather gruesome discovery of an especially brutal serial killer. Before long two more bodies that have been ritualistically preserved according to other ancient cultures' funeral rituals are discovered. It becomes clear that Josephine's past and present are both more tightly tied to the so-called Archaeology killer than anyone realized. In fact, Josephine's very origins may be tied to this killer and only the killer and Josephine's dead mother know the truth about how they're connected and why Josephine has only known a life of hiding and running. Rizzoli and Isles must race to solve first the identities of the victims (an investigation that is complicated by the killer's use of various preservation methods), then the identity of the killer and finally the location of the killer.

The parts of the story that deal with archaeology and historical methods of preservation of the dead that ancient cultures have used are both intriguing and fascinating--and gruesome. The mystery is made increasingly puzzling by the intertwining nature of the mysteries of Josephine's true identity, her past and her connection to the murderer. In the end the resolution is far more complicated while the story takes some unexpected twists and turns before the final conclusion. Ultimately the novel is a story of identity, family and history.

This book is available upon request from Lebanon Community Library, Myerstown Community Library, Annville Free Library, and Palmyra Public Library. I highly recommend you check it; you won't regret it.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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