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Body Double Hardcover – August 17, 2004

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Product Details

  • Series: Gerritsen, Tess
  • Hardcover: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (August 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345458931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345458933
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (281 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Pregnant women play key roles in this bone-chilling fourth novel in Gerritsen's edgy, suspenseful series of thrillers featuring Boston Medical Examiner Maura Isles and Homicide Detective Jane Rizzoli. Both of the usually gritty crime fighters are uncharacteristically vulnerable. Rizzoli is carrying her first child, and Isles—divorced and alone at age 40 and suddenly, unsettlingly aware of her biological clock—is experiencing decidedly unspiritual feelings for her priest. As the novel begins, Isles—an adopted child who never knew the identity of her birth parents—is confronted by the corpse of a murdered woman who is apparently her identical twin. Another detective, Rick Ballard, comes forward to say that he knew the victim and is certain her killer is a powerful pharmaceutical baron known to have stalked her. Isles falls for the handsome Ballard, but she isn't convinced by his theory, and she launches an investigation into her sister's past, following the trail to a state correctional facility and a schizophrenic inmate who may be her mother. This opens the cobwebbed pages of a nightmarish family album and leads Isles to a remote cabin in Maine where the long-dead body of a pregnant woman is discovered buried in the woods. The killer, Isles discovers, has been murdering pregnant women for decades, making periodic sweeps of the country. Meanwhile, brief scenes chronicle the diabolical kidnapping of an affluent pregnant housewife who is kept buried in a crude coffin. An electric series of startling twists, the revelation of ghoulishly practical motives and a nail-biting finale make this Gerritsen's best to date.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Last seen in The Sinner (2003), medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles has just returned from a trip to France to encounter a grisly discovery. A woman has been found shot to death in front of her home, and the woman is a dead ringer for Maura. The woman, whose name is Anna Leoni, turns out to be Maura's twin; both were given up for adoption 40 years ago. The mystery deepens when Officer Rick Ballard shows up and tells Maura and Detective Jane Rizzoli that Anna was on the run from an abusive boyfriend and under police protection. But that still doesn't answer the question of what led Anna to Maura's door, and that question leads Maura to trace her sister's steps to an old house in Maine. Things get even more perplexing when decades-old human bones are found nearby. The human remains lead Maura to her birth mother, Amalthea Lank, who is now in jail for the brutal murder of two women. Maura is unsure whether and how her mother is connected to Anna's death, and she's confused by her growing feelings for Rick, who may have been in love with her sister. Gerritsen's latest taut thriller is sure to appeal to fans who have followed Rizzoli and Isle's previous adventures. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

I'm a physician as well as the New York Times-bestselling author of medical thrillers and the Jane Rizzoli crime thrillers.

Readers who are familiar with my graphic autopsy scenes and forensic details may be astonished to learn that my very first published novels were actually ... romantic suspense. So why did I leave writing romances and turn to thrillers?

It was all because of a chance dinner conversation some years ago. The man sitting beside me at a restaurant one night was an ex-cop who 'd recently been traveling in Russia. Moscow cops had told him that orphans were vanishing from the streets, and they believed the children were being kidnaped and shipped abroad as organ donors.

I was horrified by the tale. Weeks later, unable to forget those missing Russian orphans, I knew I just had to write a book about them. I wanted to bring into it all the medical and autopsy details that I'd learned from my years as a physician. The sights, the smells of the autopsy and operating rooms -- everything.

My first medical thriller, HARVEST, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked my debut on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list. It was followed by my medical thrillers LIFE SUPPORT (1997), BLOODSTREAM (1998), GRAVITY (1999).

In 2001, my books took another abrupt turn, to forensic thrillers. THE SURGEON was my first Jane Rizzoli thriller. Since then, I've written THE APPRENTICE (2002), THE SINNER (2003), BODY DOUBLE (2004), VANISH (2005 -- and an Edgar Award nominee), and THE MEPHISTO CLUB (2006).

I believe my readers want me to tell them secrets. And that's exactly what I try to do. I take them into the autopsy room, and show them what I've seen. But most of all, I hope I'm revealing what lies in the hearts of my characters. Jane Rizzoli and Dr. Maura Isles are real people to me now. I hope they're just as real to everyone who becomes acquainted with them!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Boston medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles returns from a Forensic Pathology conference in Paris to find four Brookline police cruisers, lights flashing, outside her home. When her neighbors, the cops, and finally friend and colleague, homicide detective Jane Rizzoli look at Maura in disbelief, she knows something is really wrong and that it must involve her. A dead woman has been found, sitting in the driver's seat of a car parked in front of her home. The Jane Doe, shot through the head, is Maura's body double. The two could be twins. And, in fact, the corpse shares her blood type and birth date. Further tests will show their DNA is a match. Maura was adopted in infancy and knows nothing about her birth mother or blood ties. The discovery that the same lawyer who handled Maura's adoption also handled the placement of the dead woman, another adoptee, is the final straw which sends Maura on a quest to discover her roots.

Boston Police Detective Jane Rizzoli, in her eighth month of pregnancy, realizes that her search for the killer converges with Maura's own personal investigation. Her findings, which are inextricably linked to Isles' past and present, are gruesome and point to many more than one untimely, violent death. As Maura delves deeply into her history, it becomes clear she may be the killer's next target.

"Body Double" is the first book I have read by Tess Gerritsen, but it won't be my last. Although this compelling suspense thriller is apparently part of an ongoing series featuring Dr. Isles, Detective Rizzoli, etc., it is definitely a stand alone novel. As I found myself riveted to this dark tale, I was glad to know that if I wanted to read more about the fascinating characters, I could do so in the author's previous books. Gerritsen's narrative is extremely well written, and at times, downright scary. Highly recommended!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Maura Isles left her practice as a pathologist at Stanford University because her marriage and life was too complicated. Her husband Victor kept far too many secrets from her...

She's been in Boston for two years---and suddenly she's finding Victor isn't the only one with secrets in their past. When Maura returns from Paris to discover a woman who could be her shot dead in a car parked in front of her home, the first mystery begins.

Then, 9 months pregnant Mattie Purvis is taken from her home. She awakens in what feels like a box. She has food, water, a flashlight---all it takes to survive, but she's not sure what the kidnapper really wants--is it a ransom or something else?

"Body Double" is an extremely well-written medical thriller from internist-turned-author Tess Gerritson. Every chapter has hooks designed to imbed deep and leave you guessing, wanting to read on. Maura Isles, the main voice of the novel and pregnant cop, Jane Rizzoli, as well as Mattie Purvis in her captivity keep the fast-paced action human and personal. These three heroic women take a mundane novel and turn it into something hard to put down.

Definitely going to check out the rest of the Maura Isles novels by Gerritson.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on August 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In the prologue to Gerritsen's latest Maura Isles/Jane Rizzoli thriller, a bullied, unhappy schoolgirl is lured into the woods by a handsome classmate and then cast into a pit to die. Gerritsen then switches to Isles, a Boston medical examiner, returning from a Paris conference (where she takes us on an eerie tour of the catacombs) to find Homicide Detective Rizzoli among the cops on her front lawn, blue lights flashing, shocked to see her. They've just been examining her murdered corpse.

Having got your attention some writers might have trouble maintaining this front-loaded pace, but Gerritsen deepens the mystery then ratchets up the suspense and horror right to the final nail-biting page.

Isles' character emerges through her actions. She is wary of introspection and her shock at her double's murder shows in her altered view of daily details and her dogged pursuit of the mystery wherever it leads, be it an isolated Maine cabin with human bones in the ground outside, or a maximum security prison.

Isles, adopted, has found her twin too late. As she begins to peel away the layers of family identity, similarities strike her - a failed marriage, a career in science. But these poignant revelations are soon disrupted by far more sinister implications. Rizzoli, eight months pregnant and working on the murder, has found Isles' mother, maybe. And she's not a mother to love.

Meanwhile there's a serial killer at work, one the reader is aware of before the cops. His latest victim is the very pregnant wife of a slimy BMW car dealer. Snatched from her home, she wakes up in a coffin-like box where we revisit her from time to time until she goes into labor - the moment the killer has been waiting for.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Bull on December 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
We've had mixed feelings about Tess Gerritsen's medical thrillers. We find her stories tend toward violence and gore, of which we could use less and still be entertained. But her characters Boston ME Maura Isles and, in this novel, a very pregnant homicide Detective Jane Rizzoli, are interesting; and the serial killer plot of "Body" is well crafted. What detracts from the story line is ironically what first grabbed our attention -- at the start, a dead woman is discovered at Maura's curbside who is such a look-alike it fooled all her colleagues into thinking it was her. Then half the book is consumed with a side story about whether she's really a long lost twin, about who was the real mother (Maura was adopted), etc. This meandering preoccupation almost snuffed out the ongoing suspense of the hunt for the killer and discovering his true modus operandus. A satisfying ending helped make the read worthwhile, but we think sharper editing could have increased the thrills with less distraction.

Gerritsen's work is frequently "edgy" and therefore often not for the faint of heart. While she is a good writer and a good story teller, we often come away thinking what we just finished could have been better with just a little more effort. Fearing it might be a matter of taste, perhaps we should stick to Michael Palmer and Kathy Reichs. For sure, Patricia Cornwell has gone over the edge, so it seems this genre might be open for more women to get our attention. We're just not convinced Gerritsen should remain on our "A" list.
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