Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Vanish

[Pic Courtesy Amazon]

Vanish is a typical Tess Gerritsen novel – over-the-top and graphic but always moving with relentless pace. Like Philip Margolin did in Lost Lake, Gerritsen expands her usual canvas here, encompassing prostitution rackets and high-level politics. But she still doesn’t lose the personal touch and that makes the book a winner.

Dr. Maura Isles, a forensic examiner, gets the shock of her life when she realizes that the corpse of a young woman, that is waiting for an autopsy, is actually alive. The woman, Olena, escapes and holes up inside a hospital, taking some of the patients hostage. One of the patients is Detective Jane Rizzoli, who is ready to have her baby. As Olena’s life is threatened and the FBI gets involved, Maura and Jane realize that they are caught up in something much bigger.

The book’s pace is very surprising considering that its two leading characters are women and one of them is very pregnant and gives birth midway through the book. But Gerritsen spends very little time on their personal lives, which is usually what bogs down other thrillers. She manages to add a sense of urgency to the scenarios she creates and there are no sections where the pace slows down. And when Gerritsen does talk about the characters' personal lives, the issues she brings up are very realistic and practical( like Jane's internal struggle as she is torn between caring for her baby and her desire to get back to her job) rather than bland romance or melodramatic sentiments.

The other surprising fact is that there is not much suspense. The regular detours to Mila's first-person accounts tell us quite early what the racket is and how Maura and Jane are going to be linked to it. But Mila's narrative, which is quite graphic, does make us develop an abject dislike of the bad guys.

Its a given that Gerritsen's novels are going to be over-the-top but Vanish becomes a little too fantastic towards the end. When we get scenes like the new mom Jane stepping out of her window and balancing herself on a ledge with her newborn in hand, the book loses the already thin thread that was connecting it to reality so far. The book also ends without a real sense of closure. While get to know who the bad guys are, the book ends before they get their comeuppance, which is somewhat of a disappointment considering how much we get to hate them after Mila's description of events.

If pace and action, rather than realism, are what you're looking for, then Vanish should satisfy you.

5 Comments:

At 9:22 PM, Blogger skanda said...

havent read this book yet but it sounds boring and melodramatic judging by ur review...hey if u like to read a book about politics...i say u take up Dan Brown's Deception Point..which is a brilliant political thriller..,

 
At 9:48 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

skanda, "boring and melodramatic"??! if that was what my review conveyed, then its a very poor review! cos thats exactly what the book is not. it is fast-moving and has a great pace but is rather unrealistic.

i read 'deception point' a long time ago - before dan brown became famous with DVC. I loved it though the climax was quite over-the-top.

 
At 3:47 AM, Blogger Munimma said...

sounds like the type to be adapted to tamil movies :-) although with all the male chauvinism floating around there, don't know how much changes it would take ;-)

 
At 12:41 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

munimma, make the medical examiner a guy, make the cop a guy with a pregnant wife and u could have a tamil movie. remember 'double jeopardy' and 'dhosth'?? :)

 
At 12:49 PM, Blogger Munimma said...

Unlike you, I don't see all the movies that get released ;-P
I think I rented that one in Chennai long time ago, but the print was so bad that I returned it.

 

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