Evil exists. Evil walks the streets. And evil has spawned a diabolical new disciple in this white-knuckle thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen. PECCAVI The Latin word is scrawled in blood at the scene of a young woman's brutal murder: I HAVE SINNED. It's a chilling Christmas greeting for Boston medical examiner Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli, who swiftly link the victim to controversial celebrity psychiatrist Joyce O'Donnell-Jane's professional nemesis and member of a sinister cabal called the Mephisto Club. On top of Beacon Hill, the club's acolytes devote themselves to the analysis of evil: Can it be explained by science Does it have a physical presence Do demons walk the earth Drawing on a wealth of dark historical data and mysterious religious symbolism, the Mephisto scholars aim to prove a startling theory: that Satan himself exists among us. With the grisly appearance of a corpse on their doorstep, it's clear that someone-or something-is indeed prowling the city.
In this brisk, deftly plotted thriller from bestseller Gerritsen (Vanish ), Boston medical examiner Maura Isles and police detective Jane Rizzoli look into the murder of 28-year-old Lori-Ann Tucker, whose body is found Christmas morning in her apartment amid an unholy mess of severed limbs, black candles and satanic symbols rendered in blood. "Peccavi," reads one word scrawled across Tucker's wall-Latin for "I have sinned." Isles and Rizzoli must sort sinner from innocent among suspects who can be found on several continents and include a group of sophisticates-scholars, an anthropologist, a psychiatrist-who are either cult members or crusaders against evil straight from the pages of Revelation. Other murders follow, all gruesome, all involving apocalyptic messages. On occasion, the action shifts to Europe, to a young woman running from a man she's convinced is descended from a race of fallen angels. Gerritsen has a knack for stretching believability just short of the breaking point-and for amassing details that produce an atmosphere in which the most terrible possibilities can and, indeed, should occur.(Sept.) Copyright 1997-2005 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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September 11, 2006
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Excerpt from The Mephisto Club (A Rizzoli & Isles Novel: #6) by Tess Gerritsen
They looked like the perfect family.
This was what the boy thought as he stood beside his father's open grave, as he listened to the hired minister read platitudes from the Bible. Only a small group had gathered on that warm and buggy June day to mourn the passing of Montague Saul, no more than a dozen people, many of whom the boy had just met. For the past six months, he had been away at boarding school, and today he was seeing some of these people for the very first time. Most of them did not interest him in the least.
But his uncle's family - they interested him very much. They were worth studying.
Dr. Peter Saul looked very much like his dead brother Montague, slender and cerebral in owlish glasses, brown hair thinning toward inevitable baldness. His wife, Amy, had a round, sweet face, and she kept darting anxious looks at her fifteen-year-old nephew, as though aching to wrap her arms around him and smother him with a hug. Their son, Teddy, was ten years old, all skinny arms and legs. A little clone of Peter Saul, right down to the same owlish glasses.
Finally, there was the daughter, Lily. Sixteen years old.
Tendrils of her hair had come loose from the ponytail and now clung to her face in the heat. She looked uncomfortable in her black dress, and she kept shifting coltishly back and forth, as though preparing to bolt. As though she'd rather be anywhere than in this cemetery, waving away buzzing insects.
They look so normal, so average, the boy thought. So different from me. Then Lily's gaze suddenly met his, and he felt a tremor of surprise. Of mutual recognition. In that instant, he could almost feel her gaze penetrating the darkest fissures of his brain, examining all the secret places that no one else had ever seen. That he'd never allowed them to see.
Disquieted, he looked away. Focused, instead, on the other people standing around the grave: His father's housekeeper. The attorney. The two next-door neighbors. Mere acquaintances who were here out of a sense of propriety, not affection. They knew Montague Saul only as the quiet scholar who'd recently returned from Cyprus, who spent his days fussing over books and maps and little pieces of pottery. They did not really know the man. Just as they did not really know his son.
At last the service ended, and the gathering moved toward the boy, like an amoeba preparing to engulf him in sympathy, to tell him how sorry they were that he'd lost his father. And so soon after moving to the United States.
"At least you have family here to help you," said the minister.
Family Yes, I suppose these people are my family, the boy thought, as little Teddy shyly approached, urged forward by his mother.