The Shape of Night, by Tess Gerritsen

Seven stars

After reading a number of Rizzoli & Isles novels by Tess Gerritsen, I was drawn to her latest piece, a standalone, to see if it held as much excitement for me. Definitely full of mystery, this book will leave those who have loved the aforementioned series with many questions and potential concerns if this is the new path Gerritsen is set to take. Ava Collette has decided to leave the busy life she led in Boston, settling in a small Maine town. With many secrets in the rear view mirror, Ava has a deadline to complete her latest cook book, which she will fill with sea-themed New England classics. After renting a property, Ava discovers some disturbing things that have her wondering about her choice of accommodation. She learns that the house was built by Captain Jeremiah Brodie, who is a local seafaring celebrity. When she is visited by an apparition late one night, the haunting takes on a new level of concern, though things are also a lot more intense for Ava on other levels too. As she digs into the background of the previous owners and renters of the house, Ava discovers something highly disturbing, leaving her little choice but to take immediate action. Question is, will it be enough? A very unique piece by Tess Gerritsen that will surely get people talking, but perhaps not for the right reason.

While I have always enjoyed the Tess Gerritsen books I’ve read, this one was surely out in left field for me. I cannot be sure if this ties in to some of her other standalone novels, but other reviewers seem to be on the same page as I am. Paranormal soft-core pornography is not a genre I want to read about, especially from someone like Tess Gerritsen, so I will have to be very careful about what I read of hers in the future. Ava Collette began as quite the interesting protagonist. Fleeing issues in her life, she settles in a rural community to lose herself, or perhaps find her writing groove. Her backstory emerges throughout the book, which tells an interesting narrative all its own. The development that occurs, particularly in relation to the haunting/paranormal activity. I felt this really lessened the impact of the story, adding to that the sexual encounters that occur throughout. Other characters helped try to make this a strong story, but it was as though Gerritsen could not help returning to this silly theme that really sullied the story for those who have enjoyed her thrillers in the past. The story could have been great, as it had all the needed ingredients, but it flopped on a few occasions and left me wondering why she might want to go in these directions. All the power to those who want to read ‘his pulsing member’ novels, but when you add ‘his pulsing apparition member’, you lose even more level-headed readers. Not all is lost, but some readers like me may not be able to simply ignore it.

Kudos, Madam Gerritsen, for the attempt, but let’s stick to Boston’s crime scene and more Rizzoli & Isles, if you please.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: