Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Book Review, Interview & Giveaway: Die Again: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen


Holy moley cannoli! This book was freaking amazing! Capitol A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I could hardly put it down and mostly grunted when someone asked a question while I was reading it. First book by Tess Gerritsen I have ever read; I've never seen the TNT show "Rizzoli & Isles" based on the series either. I'm not sure what kept me so long...

The story focuses in Boston and Africa on differing timelines. Millie and her snobby author boyfriend are on a safari with other folks. It goes from bad to worse. People start to disappear and their entrails reappear after supposed animal attacks. Suspecting their vigilant guide, the remaining members go mad and the body count goes even higher. The only survivor is found weeks later stumbling out of the bush. The gruesome tale is told throughout the current events unfolding with Detective Rizzoli and medical examiner Isles. And yep, you guessed it, they tie together. It's madness!

The plot just gets wilder, weirder, and hair raising. Local taxidermist is the first (so they think, dum dum dum) murder. A suspected home invasion is the second. Previously unsolved murders, where the victims are strung up, gutted, and marked with three claw marks in two distinct places pop up. Tying all the bodies, murders, a possible cult tie in, lions, tigers, missing snow leopard pelt, and missing persons is quite a task. It's quite a zoo of a case (pun intended!). The lone survivor of the African safari is brought in to lure out the least expected murderer.

The book starts and ends on a climax. I was fairly catatonic and afraid to turn the last few pages to find out what the crap was going down in this twisted road of a mystery thriller. Perfect ending, perfect piecing together of the puzzle... ahh, was very satisfying. Loved the main characters and the awesomely detailed and methodically descriptions completed by the author.

Pick up this book. Get lost and freaked out in it. It will do a mystery lover very, very good. Ms. Gerritsen has a new die hard fan.




Tell us a bit about yourself

I'm the author of 26 novels, including a crime series featuring Detective Jane Rizzoli and ME Maura Isles, on which the TV show "Rizzoli & Isles" is based. Over the course of my 30-year career I've written medical thrillers, historical suspense, crime novels, and romantic suspense. I'm also a medical doctor, although I haven't practiced medicine in decades.

When did you begin writing?

At age seven. That's when I knew I wanted to be a writer.

Have you ever been discouraged in regard to your writing ability and if so, how did you get past it and move forward?

I'm constantly discouraged. With every book, I find myself questioning my ability to tell a story. I think it's part of writing the best book you can -- you never settle for less than your best effort, and it may involve multiple drafts. I've sometimes gone through six or seven revisions before I feel ready to send the manuscript to my editor.

I also go through plot block with almost every manuscript, where I don't know what happens next, or I don't know how to tie the disparate plot elements together. The best cure for that is a long drive, or a day or two lying on the couch staring at the ceiling, until the "A ha!" moment happens.


What's your favorite thing about writing?

I love the very beginning of a project, when the ideas come flying at me, and I'm trying to see how they all relate to each other. It's before the hard work of writing actually begins.

I also love doing the research -- finding out enticing new facts, and delving into a topic I know nothing about.


What is your writing style? Do you like to outline or just write as you go?

I don't do a formal outline, more like a few jotted sentences of how the story begins. Generally, I don't know much more than about a third of the plot, and I make up the rest as I go along. I've tried to outline in the past, but always ended up veering away from it, because I get better ideas as I move into the story. It leads to a chaotic first draft, and I often get stuck midway through, trying to come up with ways to make the mystery fit together. But if I'm surprised by the story, I think my readers are as well.


Do you have a favorite spot where you like to write?

I have an office over my garage where I write. It has a view of the sea, lots of light, and a huge desk where I can spread out all my papers. It's the only place where I compose my first drafts.


What is something you've written that will never see the light of day?

I have bits and pieces of earlier manuscripts that never got completed, but I keep them around. You never know when a scene can be recycled into another book.


What is your writer food?

Whatever's left over in the refrigerator from last night's dinner.


What's the hardest thing about writing for you?

Getting to the end of the first draft. I'm never sure what the story's about until I finish that draft. Another difficult point is the first revision, when I look at that first draft, see all the flaws, and wonder if I'll ever be able to fix it.


What inspires you to write?

I find ideas everywhere -- the news, my interests, travel. I never know when something strikes me as a great idea for a story. I'm very clued in to emotional impacts. If I learn something that scares me or upsets me, that's usually a great topic for a book.


How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

I've just finished writing my 26th book. My favorite is probably GRAVITY, about a disaster aboard the International Space Station. Because of the highly technical details, requiring months of research, that book was a challenge to write, and I was terrified I wouldn't be able to pull it off. But I did.


What are some of your favorite books?

My reading tastes are eclectic. I love historicals, non-fiction, fantasy. Looking back at the books that have stayed with me through the years, I would count JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy as my absolute favorite.


What authors do you like to read?

I'm a big fan of Philippa Gregory, who makes history come alive.


What inspired you to write Die Again?

A few years ago, my husband and I went on safari in South Africa. One day in the bush, we had a surprise encounter with a leopard, and our bush guide essentially saved our lives. It brought home how dangerous the bush is, and how much you have to trust your guide. Then I thought: what if you trust the wrong man? What if the most dangerous creature in the bush walks on two legs? What if the guide who meets your plane at the remote landing strip isn't the man he says he is? That inspired the initial premise: seven tourists fly into Botswana, drive off into the wilderness, and are never seen again.


If you could choose a dream cast for DIE AGAIN, who would you pick?

I think the best cast for my poor seven tourists would all be unknowns!


Would you say you relate to any of your characters? If so, which one and why?

 I'm definitely like Maura Isles. We're both medically trained, we're both introverts, and we both want to believe there's a logical explanation for everything.

This or that.

Sweet or Salty?


Naughty or nice?


Cats or dogs?

Cats AND dogs.

Vanilla or chocolate?



If you were deserted on an island, which author would you want to be stranded with?

Lee Child. I think he would keep me well entertained.



[caption id="attachment_7804" align="alignright" width="300"]Tess Gerritsen, © Leonardo Cendamo / Blackarchives Tess Gerritsen, © Leonardo Cendamo / Blackarchives[/caption]
Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.

While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, "Adrift", which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson.

Tess's first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), The Bone Garden (2007), The Keepsake (2008; UK title: Keeping the Dead), Ice Cold (2010; UK title: The Killing Place), The Silent Girl (2011), and Last To Die (August 2012.) Her books have been published in forty countries, and more than 30 million copies have been sold around the world.

Her books have been top-3 bestsellers in the United States and number one bestsellers abroad. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon). Critics around the world have praised her novels as "Pulse-pounding fun" (Philadelphia Inquirer), "Scary and brilliant" (Toronto Globe and Mail), and "Polished, riveting prose" (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the "medical suspense queen".

Her series of novels featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the TNT television series "Rizzoli & Isles" starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.


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