Three children, orphaned twice over, first their birth families, then three years later the families that took them in. Detective Jane Rizzoli doesn’t believe in coincidences but must stand back whilst Crowe chases after the wrong guy. Maura meets two of the children at Evensong when she is visiting Rat at the mysterious boarding school. It would turn out that all the children there have something in common but before Maura can convince Rat to leave, she and Jane start to put together the pieces of a complex puzzle that goes well beyond the streets of Boston.

Last to Die is the 11th (or 10th if you discount The Bone Garden) book in this series and therefore the remainder of this review will contain spoilers for the previous instalments. If you haven’t started yet (and why not?) here’s the reading order:

#1 The Surgeon
#2 The Apprentice
#3 The Sinner
#4 Body Double
#5 Vanish
#6 The Mephisto Club
#7 The Bone Garden
#8 Keeping the Dead
#9 The Killing Place
#10 The Silent Girl
#11 Last to Die

As always with Rizzoli and Isles, it’s a fast-paced, quick read which is the perfect way to spend a lazy Saturday. I did feel that Jane’s family problems were forgotten about, understandably considering the murder investigation, but would have liked to have come back with a solution once everything was settled. What is Angie Rizzoli going to do? Take back her useless husband or be happy with Korsak? It’s not pivotal to the plot but it’s not fair to keep us hanging! Also I was expecting a bit more development with Maura’s love-life, especially as she finally walked away from you-know-who in The Silent Girl.

Evensong was introduced at the end of The Killing Place and it was good to see the school looked at in more detail and pick back up with Rat and his dog, Bear. Although Rat is now referred to with his real name, Julian, and I kept forgetting who he was. Of course, as Anthony Sansone is involved with the school, so are the paranoid Mephisto Society and you start to wonder at their involvement. Could the flashbacks to events in Rome, told in first person, be connected to them? I did feel the plot suffered a little with relying on characters popping up and telling the detectives things rather than good old investigative skills but it was twisty enough to keep me engaged until the end.

The epilogue dwells on Evensong rather than Jane or Maura which leads me to think Gerritsen is setting herself up for a young adult book or series, like many other successful authors are doing. Her younger characters are intriguing enough that I’d be interested in reading more about them if she does go down that road.

When you get attached to characters in series, it’s a little disappointing when the book ends so soon. Would love to see a bit more of their personal lives again, although fans of the action will no doubt love this instalment. I enjoyed, but wanted more!

Last to Die will be published on 16th August 2012 in the UK by Bantam Press, an imprint of Transworld, in hardback and ebook formats. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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