Thursday, May 8, 2014

Girl Missing by Tess Gerritsen *****

A compact mystery ideal for the beach or the plane. Girl Missing by Tess Gerritsen is a reissue of a delightful shorter mystery after two decades. In the author's introduction, she tells an interesting story about this novel being the transition "romantic suspense" to "thriller." In order to evaluate this transition, I coupled this book with Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen which is a recent "thriller.

The protagonist in Girl Missing is Kat Novak, a Medical Examiner, who we can safely assume grew into Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles in the Rizzoli and Isles series of thrillers. In the Rizzoli and Isles series, Isles is paired with Detective Jane Isles. These two woman make a great team with enough chemistry when needed for tension, but not enough to distract from the main story.

Before the author found this solution, Kat had couple of "romantic" interests: an ex-husband in the District Attorney's office, and the rich Adam Quantrell who alternately served as a possible romantic interest and possible suspect. I found the romance distracting and not a little bit forced. Of course, I already had the author's confession that romance was on the way out here, so I can't be sure how I might have read it without the author's  introduction.

The other major difference was that the early novel was approximately half the length of the more current one. As a fan of tightly written fiction, I really like the early work and felt the later tended to run long and slow in several places.

If you are new to Tess Gerritsen, she writes mysteries with complex plots, relatively high body counts, and children in jeopardy. However the violence, especially the violence to children, is mostly recounted. Definitely recommended for squeamish readers.

Postscript: Tess Gerritsen is a MD who write mysteries with medical professionals as characters, which suggests comparison to Robin Cook.While both fall into sections medical/scientific gobbledygook, Gerritsen does this much, much less and her plots do not center on medical issues. In general I found her novels more enjoyable.

I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway on March 7, 2014. I received a copy of this book April 4, 2014.

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