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Praise for Body Double
“NEVER FAILS TO DELIVER CHILLING SUSPENSE . . .
leaves the reader breathless.”
–The Philadelphia Inquirer
“IT’S SCARY JUST HOW GOOD TESS GERRITSEN IS–this is crime writing at its unputdownable, nerve-tingling best.”
“THE STORY ZIPS ALONG. . . . A DELIGHTFULLY BIZARRO PLOT TWIST.”
Dr. Maura Isles had not smelled fresh air all day. Since seven that morning she had been inhaling the scent of death, an aroma so familiar to her that she did not recoil as her knife sliced cold skin, as foul odors wafted up from exposed organs. The police officers who occasionally stood in the room to observe postmortems were not so stoic. Sometimes Maura caught a whiff of the Vicks ointment that they dabbed in their nostrils to mask the stench. Sometimes even Vicks was not enough, and she'd see them suddenly go wobbly and turn away, to gag over the sink. Cops were not accustomed, as she was, to the astringent bite of formalin, the sulfurous aroma of decaying membranes.
Today, there was an incongruous note of sweetness added to that bouquet of odors: the scent of coconut oil, emanating from the skin of Mrs. Gloria Leder, who now lay on the autopsy table. She was fifty years old, a divorcee with broad hips and heavy breasts and toenails painted a brilliant pink. Deep tan lines marked the edges of the bathing suit she had been wearing when she was found dead beside her apartment swimming pool. It had been a bikini--not the most flattering choice for a body sagging with middle age. When was the last time I had the chance to put on my bathing suit? Maura thought, and she felt an absurd flash of envy for Mrs. Gloria Leder, who'd spent the last moments of her life enjoying this summer day. It was almost August, and Maura had not yet visited the beach or sat by a swimming pool or even sunbathed in her own backyard.
"Rum and Coke," said the young cop standing at the foot of the table. "I think that's what she had in her glass. It was sitting next to her patio chair."
This was the first time Maura had seen Officer Buchanan in her morgue. He made her nervous, the way he kept fussing with his paper mask and shifting from foot to foot. The boy looked way too young to be a cop. They were all starting to look too young.
"Did you retain the contents of that glass?" she asked Officer Buchanan.
"Uh . . . no, ma'am. I took a good whiff. She was definitely drinking a rum and Coke."
"At nine A.M.?" Maura looked across the table at her assistant, Yoshima. As usual, he was silent, but she saw one dark eyebrow tilt up, as eloquent a comment as she would get from Yoshima.
"She didn't get down too much of it," said Officer Buchanan.
"The glass was still pretty full."
"Okay," said Maura. "Let's take a look at her back."
Together, she and Yoshima log-rolled the corpse onto its side.
"There's a tattoo here on the hip," noted Maura. "Little blue butterfly."
"Geez," said Buchanan. "A woman her age?"
Maura glanced up. "You think fifty's ancient, do you?"
"I mean--well, that's my mom's age."
Careful, boy. I'm only ten years younger.
She picked up the knife and began to cut. This was her fifth postmortem of the day, and she made swift work of it. With Dr. Costas on vacation, and a multivehicle accident the night before, the cold room had been crammed with body bags that morning. Even as she'd worked her way through the backlog, two more bodies had been delivered to the refrigerator. Those would have to wait until tomorrow. The morgue's clerical staff had already left for the evening, and Yoshima kept looking at the clock, obviously anxious to be on his way home.
She incised skin, gutted the thorax and abdomen. Removed dripping organs and placed them on the cutting board to be sectioned. Little by little, Gloria Leder revealed her secrets: a fatty liver, the telltale sign of a few too many rums and Cokes. A uterus knobby with fibroids.
And finally, when they opened the cranium, the reason for her death. Maura saw it as she lifted the brain in her gloved hands. "Subarachnoid hemorrhage," she said, and glanced up at Buchanan. He was looking far paler than when he had first walked into the room. "This woman probably had a berry aneurysm--a weak spot in one of the arteries at the base of the brain. Hypertension would have exacerbated it."
Buchanan swallowed, his gaze focused on the flap of loose skin that had been Gloria Leder's scalp, now peeled forward over the face. That's the part that usually horrified them, the point at which so many of them winced or turned away--when the face collapses like a tired rubber mask.
"So . . . you're saying it's a natural death?" he asked softly.
"Correct. There's nothing more you need to see here."
The young man was already stripping off his gown as he retreated from the table. "I think I need some fresh air . . ."
So do I, thought Maura. It's a summer night, my garden needs watering, and I have not been outside all day.
But an hour later she was still in the building, sitting at her desk reviewing lab slips and dictated reports. Though she had changed out of her scrub suit, the smell of the morgue still seemed to cling to her, a scent that no amount of soap and water could eradicate, because the memory itself was what lingered. She picked up the Dictaphone and began to record her report on Gloria Leder.
"Fifty-year-old white woman found slumped in a patio chair near her apartment swimming pool. She is a well-developed, wellnourished woman with no visible trauma. External exam reveals an old surgical scar on her abdomen, probably from an appendectomy. There is a small tattoo of a butterfly on her . . ." She paused, picturing the tattoo. Was it on the left or the right hip? God, I'm so tired, she thought. I can't remember. What a trivial detail. It made no difference to her conclusions, but she hated being inaccurate.
She rose from her chair and walked the deserted hallway to the stairwell, where her footfalls echoed on concrete steps. Pushing into the lab, she turned on the lights and saw that Yoshima had left the room in pristine condition as usual, the tables wiped down and gleaming, the floors mopped clean. She crossed to the cold room and pulled open the heavy locker door. Wisps of cold mist curled out. She took in a reflexive breath of air, as though about to plunge into foul water, and stepped into the locker.
Eight gurneys were occupied; most were awaiting pickup by funeral homes. Moving down the row, she checked the tags until she found Gloria Leder's. She unzipped the bag, slipped her hands under the corpse's buttocks and rolled her sideways just far enough to catch a glimpse of the tattoo.
It was on the left hip.
She closed the bag again and was just about to swing the door shut when she froze. Turning, she stared into the cold room.
Did I just hear something?
The fan came on, blowing icy air from the vents. Yes, that's all it was, she thought. The fan. Or the refrigerator compressor. Or water cycling in the pipes. It was time to go home. She was so tired, she was starting to imagine things.
Again she turned to leave.
Again she froze. Turning, she stared at the row of body bags. Her heart was thumping so hard now, all she could hear was the beat of her own pulse.
Something moved in here. I'm sure of it.
She unzipped the first bag and stared down at a man whose chest had been sutured closed. Already autopsied, she thought. Definitely dead.
Which one? Which one made the noise?
She yanked open the next bag, and confronted a bruised face, a shattered skull. Dead.
With shaking hands she unzipped the third bag. The plastic parted, and she saw the face of a pale young woman with black hair and cyanotic lips. Opening the bag all the way, she exposed a wet blouse, the fabric clinging to white flesh, the skin glistening with chilly droplets of water. She peeled open the blouse and saw full breasts, a slim waist. The torso was still intact, not yet incised by the pathologist's knife. The fingers and toes were purple, the arms marbled with blue.
She pressed her fingers to the woman's neck and felt icy skin. Bending close to the lips, she waited for the whisper of a breath, the faintest puff of air against her cheek.
The corpse opened its eyes.
Maura gasped and lurched backward. She collided with the gurney behind her, and almost fell as the wheels rolled away. She scrambled back to her feet and saw that the woman's eyes were still open, but unfocused. Blue-tinged lips formed soundless words.
Get her out of the refrigerator! Get her warm!
Maura shoved the gurney toward the door but it didn't budge; in her panic she'd forgotten to unlock the wheels. She stamped down on the release lever and pushed again. This time it rolled, rattling out of the cold room into the warmer loading area.
The woman's eyes had drifted shut again. Leaning close, Maura could feel no air moving past the lips. Oh Jesus. I can't lose you now.
She knew nothing about this stranger--not her name, nor her medical history. This woman could be teeming with viruses, yet she sealed her mouth over the woman's, and almost gagged at the taste of chilled flesh. She delivered three deep breaths, and pressed her fingers to the neck to check for a carotid pulse.
Am I imagining it? Is that my own pulse I feel, throbbing in my fingers?
She grabbed the wall phone and dialed 911.
"This is Dr. Isles in the medical examiner's office. I need an ambulance. There's a woman here, in respiratory arrest--"
"Excuse me, did you say the medical examiner's office?"
"Yes! I'm at the rear of the building, just inside the loading bay. We're on Albany Street, right across from the medical center!"
"I'm dispatching an ambulance now."
Maura hung up. Once again, she quelled her disgust as she pressed her lips to the woman's. Three more quick breaths, then her fingers were back on the carotid.
A pulse. There was definitely a pulse!
Suddenly she heard a wheeze, a cough. The woman was moving air now, mucus rattling in her throat.
Stay with me. Breathe, lady. Breathe!
A loud whoop announced the arrival of the ambulance. She shoved open the rear doors and stood squinting against flashing lights as the vehicle backed up to the dock. Two EMTs jumped out, hauling their kits.
"She's in here!" Maura called.
"Still in respiratory arrest?"
"No, she's breathing now. And I can feel a pulse."
The two men trotted into the building and halted, staring at the woman on the gurney. "Jesus," one of them murmured. "Is that a body bag?"
"I found her in the cold room," said Maura. "By now, she's probably hypothermic."
"Oh, man. If this isn't your worst nightmare."
Out came the oxygen mask and IV lines. They slapped on EKG leads. On the monitor, a slow sinus rhythm blipped like a lazy cartoonist's pen. The woman had a heartbeat and she was breathing, yet she still looked dead.
Looping a tourniquet around one flaccid arm, the EMT asked: "What's her story? How did she get here?"
"I don't know anything about her," said Maura. "I came down to check on another body in the cold room and I heard this one moving."
"Does this, uh, happen very often here?"
"This is a first time for me." And she hoped to God it was the last.
"How long has she been in your refrigerator?"
Maura glanced at the hanging clipboard, where the day's deliveries were recorded, and saw that a Jane Doe had arrived at the morgue around noon. Eight hours ago. Eight hours zipped in a shroud. What if she'd ended up on my table? What if I had sliced into her chest? Rummaging through the receiving in-basket, she found the envelope containing the woman's paperwork. "Weymouth Fire and Rescue brought her in," she said. "An apparent drowning . . ."
"Whoa, Nelly!" The EMT had just stabbed an IV needle into a vein and the patient suddenly jerked to life, her torso bucking on the gurney. The IV site magically puffed blue as the punctured vein hemorrhaged into the skin.
"Shit, lost the site. Help me hold her down!"
"Man, this gal's gonna get up and walk away."
"She's really fighting now. I can't get the IV started."
"Then let's just get her on the stretcher and move her."
"Where are you taking her?" Maura said.
"Right across the street. The ER. If you have any paperwork they'll want a copy."
She nodded. "I'll meet you there."
* * *
A long line of patients stood waiting to register at the ER window, and the triage nurse behind the desk refused to meet Maura's attempts to catch her eye. On this busy night, it would take a severed limb and spurting blood to justify cutting to the front of the line, but Maura ignored the nasty looks of other patients and pushed straight to the window. She rapped on the glass.
"You'll have to wait your turn," the triage nurse said.
"I'm Dr. Isles. I have a patient's transfer papers. The doctor will want them."
"The woman they just brought in from across the street."
"You mean that lady from the morgue?"
Maura paused, suddenly aware that the other patients in line could hear every word. "Yes," was all she said.
"Come on through, then. They want to talk to you. They're having trouble with her."
The door lock buzzed open, and Maura pushed through, into the treatment area. She saw immediately what the triage nurse had meant by trouble. Jane Doe had not yet been moved into a treatment room, but was still lying in the hallway, her body now draped with a heating blanket. The two EMTs and a nurse struggled to control her.
"Tighten that strap!"
"Shit--her hand's out again--"
"Forget the oxygen mask. She doesn't need it."
"Watch that IV! We're going to lose it!"
Maura lunged toward the stretcher and grabbed the patient's wrist before she could pull out the intravenous catheter. Long black hair lashed Maura's face as the woman tried to twist free.
Excerpted from Vanish by Tess Gerritsen
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
A "Jane Doe" is brought to the morgue.Suddenly, her eyes open. Having been rushed to the hospital, regained consciousness, the mystery woman jumps up and grabs a security guard's gun. She shoots and kills him, then barricades herself along with several hostages, one being the very pregnant Jane Rizzoli. Now it's up to Jane's husband, FBI agent Gabriel Dean to get his wife and child out of this alive. A page-turner, for sure! The best!
5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 9, 2005
Dr. Maura Isles is doing paperwork on an autopsy late one night. She needs some information to continue and goes into the Cold Room to locate it. There, she hears a noise coming from one of the body bags. Upon opening it, Maura is horrified to discover that the woman is still alive! Shortly thereafter, Maura goes to the hospital to follow up on her Jane Doe. She enters Doe's room just in time to see Doe kill a security cop. Doe ends up barricading herself and six other people in the Diagnostic Imaging area. ...................... Jane Rizzoli is a Homicide Detective with Boston Police Department. She is also about to deliver a baby. She naps on the exam table and wakes up to find herself one of six hostages. Then a stranger walks past the police and SWAT Team members without anyone noticing until it is too late. Doe and the stranger know each other. They are on the same side. Rizzoli's husband is FBI agent Gabriel Dean, who is outside the hospital worried about his wife. He becomes frantic when he learns that the stranger is a specially trained black-ops agent, Joseph Roke ... and Joe is NOT on the police's side this time. No one knows what these two, seemingly crazy people, could possibly have in common. ...................... When the crisis is over, Dean, Rizzoli, and Maura cannot seem to drop all their unanswered questions. They begin their own investigation. Soon they realize that Doe and Roke may not have been crazy after all. Sometimes there are secrets so terrible that powerful people will stop at nothing to keep quiet. .......................... ***** You have GOT to read this one! Author Tess Gerritsen has created a story that I can only classify as a 'Medical, Detective, & Political Thriller'. This novel covers all of them. The scariest part about the story is that what it describes, the lost girls, is totally true. These girls ARE out there. And more are added to their numbers daily. ............................ Make sure you do not begin reading this novel until you have a couple days off work with no pressing plans. Once you start reading, you will not be able to stop. Highly recommended reading. *****
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 18, 2005
This was the first book that I read by Tess Gerritsen, I'am looking forward to reading more of her books. This thriller is one of the best I've ever read. This book pulled me into the story immediately and the twist of the plot gave me chills and kept me turning page after page. I was always dying to know what will happen next. Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles were great characters. I also could feel the fear and anger of Olena and Mila. I found myself looking around the room as I read. It was distrubing at times...because it felt so true to life. I read it in one day...very difficult to put down. A great suspenseful thriller that I recommended to our book club. I recommend this book to those who love thrillers that keep your heart pounding.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 8, 2005
One of the best thrillers I've ever read. I didn't think she'd match Life Support or The Surgeon, but she has. This is a great book that I've recommended to my book club.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
Boston Homicide Detective Jane Rizzoli is about to give birth but she still performs her job by testifying against a man she arrested. The man goes berserk and Jane gets off the witness stand, restrains and cuffs him. Her water breaks and she goes to the hospital where her doctor sends her to Diagnostic Imaging for an ultra sound. In another part of the hospital, a Jane Doe kills a security guard and ends up in Diagnostic Imaging where she keeps Jane and five other people hostage. The Feds take over the operation citing national security reasons and before the hostage situation ends the woman and her accomplice is dead. The Feds confiscate the notes and all evidence related to the two dead people. The last thing that the woman says to Jane is ¿Mila knows¿. The woman is traced back to a house where five women were murdered, four of whom w were kept against their will in a white slavery ring. Even though Jane just gave birth she is determined to find Mila and expose the people running the ring who erase all traces of their existence when things get too hot. The Jane Doe was found in the morgue by Medical Examiner Maura Isles. The woman was declared dead when she was fished out of the ocean but revived when she warmed up. She is determined to make her story known to the American people even though people highly placed in law enforcement and government won¿t be stopped until she is dead. Jane is determined to find out her motivation because during the takedown of the hostages, actions were taken that didn¿t make sense. --- Tess Gerritsen writes another exciting and mesmerizing crime thriller that is frightening because it is based on fact. VANISH is the type of novel that is written only rarely, one that appeals to reads who like plenty of action and realistic characters in their novels material. The love between Jane and her husband Gabriel, an FBI agent is so strong that it adds heart and soul to a work that would otherwise have too much tension for the plot to sustain.--- Harriet Klausner
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 8, 2012
Posted January 9, 2007
This is probably the third or fourth book that i've read from Ms. Gerritsen and undoubtly one of the best. Although the book is read and done, the scenes in the book still lingers in my mind. There is a movie made on the LIFETIME channel that is VERY VERy similar to this book. The movie, HUMAN TRAFFIKING, aired about 2 years ago, and you can probably find it in hollywood videos or blockbuster now. I suggest that you watch the movie also. the movie does not relate to this author in any way but will give you insight as to how much of a reality this book actually is. I actually had went to rent this movie while i was reading the book because of how much the book reminded me of the movie. So enjoy!
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 22, 2005
Medical examiner Maura Isles is called to examine the body of a beautiful, nameless woman but she gets the shock of her life when the corpse opens her eyes... The woman, who mistakenly was pronounced dead, is rushed to the hospital where doctors scramble to help her, but things turn deadly as she steals a guard's gun, kills him, and takes hostages. One of the hostages is none other than detective Jane Rizzoli who is on the verge of going into labor. As things begin to spiral more out of control, the crazed woman calls a local radio station with a simple message 'The die is cast.' Now it's up to Jane's husband, FBI agent Gabriel Dean to use all of his negotiating and investigative skills to get his wife and child out of this alive. 'Vanish' is the best novel Tess Gerritsen has written and one of the finest thrillers to come out in a long time. From page one the reader is pulled into a tension filled novel that surprises with each new plot twist. Combining well-drawn characters with expert plotting 'Vanish' is a novel that begs to be read in one sitting. This is a page-turner of the first order and a definite MUST read. Nick Gonnella
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 25, 2015
I found the subject matter of this novell to be very disturbing but it still added allot of depth to the story. It made me care. I also enjoyed the usual detailed writing style of Gerrittson as well as the plot twists. This one makes it clear early on who the "bad guys" are but the journey the characters followed to catch them was still riveting. This was a great addition to the series. Stephanie ClanahanWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 14, 2014
Posted August 28, 2014
Generally, Tess's Rizzoli and Isles books takes me about two days to finish. They are fast-paced, I love the characters, and the villains are top-notch. I didn't get those things in this book. It's taken me about two weeks to get through this book because that's all I felt I was doing: getting through it.
I have a really hard time following multiple POVs aside from the main characters. Not so much that I don't understand what's happening, but that it just bugs me. So when Tess dove into one of the Russian slave's POV, I actually had to put down the book because of the graphic nature of some scenes. I actually loved Gabriel Dean's POV. You got to see how Jane becoming a mother has changed him, how he worries about her going back to work. Unnecessary addition, but welcome.
And now that Jane Rizzoli has had her baby, of course the baby's life needed to be put in danger. I understand how authors need to make a character's worse nightmares come true to keep the reader engaged and make the reader worry about the character. I do the exact same thing. Those experiences make the characters grow. However, as a mother of a toddler, I just can't take books like that anymore. Keep the children out of it!
The writing remained strong, the plot weaving and colliding perfectly, but the book slowed a lot more than I'd expected from the first four books in the series. Good mystery. Too slow for me.
Posted July 20, 2013
Exceptional book with twist and turns. Even better after watching some of TV's Rizzoli & Isles. You have an exact picture in your mind of the characters.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 12, 2013
Posted March 3, 2013
Posted November 25, 2012
Posted July 29, 2012
Posted May 23, 2012
I enjoyed this book although I found it gruesome in places and very difficult to read because of the subject matter. It is about a prostitution slavery ring that has roots in very high places. As always, the detail is both riveting and macabre.
I also had a difficult time dealing with Jane’s attitude towards her newborn child. Having given birth 4 times, I just cannot believe her difficulty in bonding or her desire to get back to work so soon.
Posted May 21, 2012
Posted March 7, 2012
Posted February 6, 2012