What’s it all about?:
In this Rizzoli & Isles short story from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen, author of The Silent Girl, a bizarre death comes with a supernatural twist. Homicide cop Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles have seen their fair share of mortal crimes, but the death of Kimberly Rayner may qualify as inhuman in more ways than one. When corpse of the emaciated seventeen-year-old girl is discovered next to an empty coffin in an abandoned church, mysterious bruises around the throat suggest foul play. Caught fleeing the scene is the victim’s closest friend, Lucas Henry, an equally skeletal, pale teenager who claims he’s guilty only of having a taste for blood—a craving he shared with Kimberly. But the victim’s distraught father doesn’t believe in vampires, only vengeance. And now, another life may be at risk unless Rizzoli and Isles can uncover the astonishing truth.
What did I think?:
Freaks was such an interesting reading experience for me but first I have to tell you a little story. I’m a huge fan of Tess Gerritsen and about ten years ago, I read everything she ever published up to that point. The author used to be a doctor and so she brought all her experience and first hand knowledge from her career and used it in an excellent way to tell some thrilling tales. In fact the first novel in her famous Rizzoli and Isles series, The Surgeon still remains one of my very favourite thrillers. I approached Freaks with slight trepidation – I haven’t read anything by her for a long time and I was a little concerned that due to the maturation in my reading tastes, I wouldn’t enjoy her writing as much. Now, I don’t know if it’s because it’s a short story and I’m used to reading her novels or that I’ve “grown out” of her work OR that this simply wasn’t one of her best stories but I have to admit, I was a little disappointed by this little tale. Sad face!
Freaks follows Gerritsen’s notorious female protagonists, Maura Isles (a medical examiner) and Jane Rizzoli (a police detective) as they come across an intriguing death that has some very strange hallmarks. The victim is a seventeen year old girl called Kimberley Rayner and she is found inside a church with marks of strangulation around her neck. She is emaciated, pale and filthy and looks to have been malnourished and sleeping rough prior to her death. Rizzoli manages to apprehend a young man of similar age to Kimberley who is still at the scene but he swears that the last time he saw his friend, she was still alive. He also mentions that the two teenagers are vampires and survive every day on just “air and blood,” which, of course causes them to be labelled as “freaks.” However, as with many of their cases there is more to this peculiar death than meets the eye and it takes a chance finding at the post-mortem to reveal what really happened to Kimberley.
So what was my problem? There was only one real nagging issue that I couldn’t get past with this short story and it happened at the end of every single chapter. It was just so sensationalist and every last sentence of the chapter had to be a frightening moment, strong statement or cliffhanger of some sort. Seriously, every single time I came to the close of each little section I had the inevitable “dun, dun, DUN!” noise going off in my head and I’m afraid to say, at some points it did get a little bit eye rolling. The vampire element put me off too, I have to say. It does connect to what happened to Kimberley a little bit I guess, but I think the author could have chosen another reason for why Kimberley’s body was in such a sorry state not just rest on the frankly unnecessary blood-sucker thing. Because of all of this, I was unfortunately bitterly disappointed with the entire experience and although I’ve got the next novel I’m due to read by Tess Gerritsen, Keeping The Dead high up on my TBR for next year, I’m a little put off now and worried that it’s going to be a let down. Perhaps it’s just her short stories I’m not going to be a fan of? Are there others out there that are better and this is just a bad apple in the proverbial fruit bowl? If anyone knows, I’d love to be reassured in the comments but for now, I’ll just have to wait and see.
Would I recommend it?:
Star rating (out of 5):
NEXT SHORT STORY: High House by Rosy Thornton from the collection Sandlands.