Tess Gerritsen: The Mephisto Club (2006) or Why I Prefer Rizzoli & Isles

The Mephisto Club

I’ve read Tess Gerritsen’s The Surgeon pre-blogging. It was an OK read, although looking back I can’t remember all that much. This summer I discovered Rizzoli & Isles, the TV series based on Gerritsen’s books. I really love that series, but the whole time I was wondering whether I’d simply not paid any attention while reading The Surgeon or whether books and series were that different. Since I still had The Mephisto Club somewhere on my piles I read it to find out. I must say, they do not have a lot in common. I did recognize some traits of Rizzoli, the detective, but Isles is a completely different character and so are the others. I basically love Rizzoli & Isles because of the friendship between the two protagonists, which is so endearing. None of that is in the books.  They are never together outside of work and there doesn’t seem any special connection between them at all. And all of the humour is missing. While they are two opposite characters in the series, they still have a deep bond, which evolves over time. So, if I want some of that Rizzoli & Isles friendship magic, I’ll have to stick to the TV series.

What about The Mephisto Club? Like The Surgeon, it’s OK, I’d say I even liked it better and I found the idea behind it quite interesting. The book tries to explore one explanation for the existence of evil. While it’s highly speculative, I still found it an oddly compelling idea.

In The Mephisto Club, Detectives Rizzoli and Frost and medical examiner Dr Isles are chasing a serial killer who commits a gruesome murder, leaving symbols and signs at the crime scene. The first murder is soon followed by others and some traces lead to a mysterious club called The Mephisto Club: a group of people who have dedicated their lives to proving the existence of Satan.

The story line that focusses on the law enforcement and the discovery of the crime was quite suspenseful but there are chapters which are written from the point of view of the perpetrator and some from the point of view of someone he hunts. I found that very heavy-handed and thought that this and the prologue gave away the solution. Finding who is the murderer is less important than catching him and avoiding to become the next victim.

I’ve read a few crime novels this year and while this was a quick read, it’s not one of my favourites and I’ll pick up another author next. I’m really looking forward to the next season of Rizzoli & Isles though. It is a crime series but unlike most others, it dedicates at least 40% of every episode to stories about the lives of the main characters. It’s also nice that for once the central team is composed of two women and not like in so many others (Bones, The Mentalist, Castle) of a woman/man duo.