Last To Die by Tess Gerritsen: Book Review/Behind the Book Interview/Giveaway

Sep 22, 2012 | 2012 Articles, Lorie Lewis Ham, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Lorie Lewis Ham

We had the pleasure of again interviewing Tess Gerritsen, reviewing her latest Rizzoli & Isles book The Last To Die, and you can enter to win a copy of the book.

I absolutely love the Rizzoli & Isles TV show on TNT! The relationship between the two main characters-Detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles–is the kind of female friendship I would love to have. Not only are the characters great, but also the stories–the mystery plots as well as the personal side stories of the characters.

The TV show is based on a series of books written by Tess Gerritsen. I read my first Rizzoli and Isles book, The Silent Girl, just last year and recently finished my second one, The Last To Die. In many ways the books are quite different from the show–however, they are equally as wonderful. The characters are a bit different here and there but you can definitely see how the TV characters are based on the ones in the books, and I look forward to going back and reading all of the books in this series someday.

In The Last To Die, the tenth book in the series, Jane and Maura are called to the scene of the brutal massacre of a family. The only survivor is the family’s foster child, Teddy Clock. It seems more than a coincidence that his family was murdered as well. After another attack, Jane fears that someone is out to kill Teddy.

Dr. Maura Isles is in a dark place in her life–she testified against a dirty cop and now her relationship with those on the Boston police force has been strained, including that with her best friend Jane Rizzoli. However, they do start to rebuild that friendship–which I’m glad of because the friendship is a lot of what I love. Maura has become very attached to a young man named Julian who was also the victim of a crime. Recently he was placed in a special private school called Evensong that caters to children who are victims of violent crime. When she goes to visit Julian she begins to have some concerns about the people who run the house.

Seeking a safe place for Teddy, Jane brings him to Evensong. Jane and Maura discover an eerie connection between him and two other children at the school–their families and foster families were also murdered. Together Jane and Maura are determined to find out what is actually going on, and to keep these kids safe. What sort of sinister plot might be at work here involving these troubled kids?

I love Tess’ writing and as always she weaves an intricate, interesting mystery and brings to life some wonderful characters–not just the regulars, but also these strong, broken kids. There is also an interesting subplot involving Jane’s mother’s impending marriage–what I wouldn’t give to see tough cop Jane in pink.

I highly recommend this entire series, and pretty much anything that Tess Gerritsen puts her pen to!

Click here to order this book & you support KRL & Mysterious Galaxy, an indie bookstore:

Behind The Book Interview With Tess Gerritsen

Lorie: How did you come up with the idea for Last To Die?

Tess: I was intrigued by the idea of children as detectives. When I was a kid, I had fantasies of being a crime fighter, and I think it’s a universal fantasy among kids that they do courageous, heroic things. But these children, I knew, would have handicaps–they’d be the outcasts, the ones that no one respects, the flawed kids. That’s how I came up with Will, Claire, and Teddy–the weirdo kids who end up helping to solve the mystery.

Lorie: What kind of research did you do for this book?

Tess: This book didn’t require as much research as many of my other novels. I had to look up some astrophotography details (because Will’s an amateur comet hunter) as well as make a trip to NASA Goddard for some of the astrobiology information. But most of it was based on just storytelling.

Tess Gerritsen

Lorie: Was it difficult doing a storyline like this involving children?

Tess: I avoid killing kids in my novels, so the idea of three endangered kids was one I had to treat carefully. The fact I could make these kids heroic and plucky and ultimate victorious made it a story I could tell without flinching.

Lorie: Do you make a special effort to make each book where someone can read them even if they haven’t read the earlier books? And does it get harder as you go along?

Tess: I always try to introduce enough information so that new readers can guess what came before, if not the exact details. I like to think you can drop in anyplace in the series and enjoy it.
But to really know how Jane and Maura came to be friends, and to see how they’ve matured through the years, it does help to start with The Surgeon, where I first introduced Jane.

Lorie: Any ideas on how many books will be in this series?

Tess: No. I’ll write them as long as the stories keep coming to me, and as long as Jane and Maura still have crises in their lives.

Lorie: Do you have a plan ahead for what you want to happen with Rizzoli and Isles in the book series on a personal level–as friends, their relationships, family, etc.?

Tess: I have no plans. I come up with the twists and crises as I write the books. So I can’t tell you how their lives will be at the end of the next book until I write it.

Lorie: Are you working on the next book now?

Tess: I’m doing the “in the head” part of it. Thinking. Imagining how it will open, and what might happen. All I can say is that it will be based on something that happened to me while I was in South Africa, on safari.

Lorie: How does it usually take you to write a Rizzoli and Isles book?

Tess: It takes me a year or more.

Lorie: Any special news coming up you would like to share?

Tess: My life is pretty much write/tour/write/tour. So nothing new on this end!

Check out KRL’s video interview with Tess from RizzolisCon.

To enter to win an e-book copy of The Last To Die, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line β€œLast”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 29, 2012. U.S. residents only.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.


  1. Good interview. The Rizzoli and Isles books rank amongst my favorites. I enjoy the show, too.

  2. What a terrific interview. I love Tess’s writing and the TV show is my favorite. The chemistry between Jane & Maura has been translated from the written page to the screen.

  3. Pick me! Pick me! I would love to win one of Tess’s books. πŸ˜€

  4. I enjoyed the interview. I haven’t read the books or seen the show yet.

  5. I would love to win this! I really enjoy her books! Thank you!

  6. We have a winner! Please keep coming back for more
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


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