Last to Die : my review

Last to Die: Tess Gerritsen


Monsters are born everyday and of course they don’t deserve to live. Those that prey on other people do evil things and some go after them as they did the person they referred to as Icarus in the prologue of this book. A man referred to as Icarus someone with children although young, still was cruel, a monster as our narrator states and the reason why he and others were in Rome.


Thirteen-year-old Claire Ward was supposed to have a date with death. So, how does she escape? Living with her foster parents and quite rebellious and resenting the restrictions they placed on her, Claire decides to take a leap of her own faith, jump from her window to freedom hoping she won’t get caught. But, something will happen to change her destiny and the lives of many others before all is said and done that night. Meeting her friends at midnight was her first mistake and getting caught the second not just for her but also for her foster parents Bob and Barbara Buckley. Told to get into the car that Barbara drove Claire finally did and what happens next will definitely make the reader pause for much thought as a car hurtled its headlights in their direction and the rest is crumpled steel as the lives of her foster parents ended right there. But, someone speaks and Claire hears her name and has no choice but to go with the strange woman or she might be next.


Fourteen-year-old Will Yablonksi loved to hunt for aliens and lived with his aunt and uncle on their farm. His father passed away and his goal was to find a comet and name it after him. Will loved to look up into the sky and enjoyed taking out the equipment with his Uncle Brian to see what the night sky offers as he did this evening alone in the field behind his aunt and uncle’s farmhouse. Comet Neil Yablonkski was his goal to find one and give it his name. An explosion out of nowhere catches his attention as he thought he found the comet and realizes he did not. Farmhouse ablaze and hoping to save his aunt and uncle the same woman appears and takes him to safety. But, why and who she is still remains to be seen and what is the reason these things are happening to young teens?


Jane Rizzoli is trying to stay calm as her mother asks her to model what most would think was a bubble gum dress for her wedding to her boyfriend, Vince. But, Jane hates pink and as they discuss the dress and the wedding in walks her soon to be ex-husband Frank pretending to care and trying to plead his own case. But, something would change the night as Jane receives a phone call about multiple murders and once again a foster child living in the house is the only survivor. Five people dead. Three children and two adults the only one that survived, Teddy Clock is their foster child. As I review this outstanding novel by New York Times Bestselling author Tess Gerristen: Last to Die.


Jane Rizzoli hate wearing pink and her mother can’t wait to see her in the dress she wants her to wear to her upcoming wedding. But, while talking with her and dealing with her father she gets a phone call that would change the complexion of the evening and send her into the world of the rich and definitely important to help solve a multiple murder. But, this is just the tip of the iceberg as she meets her close friend ME Maura Isles at the scene and together they witness a site that would haunt most and terrify others when the bodies almost speak for themselves. Each one shot but not before some tried to run away from the killer and others blocking the oncoming shot, leaving fourteen year old Teddy Clock orphaned once again. Teddy’s birth parents were brutally murdered leaving him alone and now his foster parents about to adopt him were gone. Hoping that Jane would be able to speak with him as the only witness to these murders, Detective Crowe, the lead on the case requests her presence. The anger soars within her as she sees the end result of what the killer did and although she knows Maura feels the same way, she somehow holds her emotions in or in check. Surviving a horrific murder for the second time, Teddy Clock’s life is once again going to change.


When Jane finally meets Teddy you can tell he is traumatized but for some reason he starts to trust her and explains what he saw which was not much. Losing his glasses made it difficult for him to focus on anything more than the killer’s black shoes and the fear that enveloped him did not allow him to come out from under his bed until the next day. Midnight seems to be the link to all three murders as they all occurred around that time.


As you listen to the investigators you get to know Darren Crowe as hardnosed, unfeeling and determined to solve the case at all costs. But, Jane is strong, straightforward and handles his remarks quite boldly as the rest of the team just listen. With Thomas Moore backing her up and hoping to find a link between the murder of his birth parents two years before and now his foster parents, Teddy Clock is fragile, scared and only Jane provides any kind of hope for his safety. Why would he fear her help? Why would she be next to die if she helps him? What is the link between the two murders and why the rich? Why are the foster kids left alive in all three cases but these questions have a long way to go before they are answered as the author once again allows the reader to hear from our narrator who is hoping to catch the man he calls Icarus whose life style mirrors that of rich Italian Don and whose young son stared him right in the eye.


Maura is about to add more to our story as she visits the place where all of these foster children are now living along with Julian Perkins the young man who saved her life and who has the uncanny ability to see things that most don’t or will miss. Sheltered from harm these students live in this amazing structure along with Lily and Anthony whose pasts are scarred whose hopes for the future of these students is high. Now, the pieces might start fitting together as we meet Claire and Will again each hoping to find a place for themselves in this odd world filled with students that are anything but ordinary, Julian and Maura at his side and her instant fear that something in the school is not right. Each foster child is a lone survivor of a mass murder. Each teen has no where to turn and feels alienated and alone. Maura voices her concerns about what she realizes is going on at the school and their objectives for the students. As she contemplates pulling Julian out another child is now whisked in as Teddy Clock’s safety is once again in jeopardy with Jane comes to check on him and someone invades his home. Can all three children’s situations be linked to the same killer. What is the motive and the killer’s mission? Then, three dolls are found covered in blood, concerns are voiced and Julian asks that he and his forensic group be allowed to help in the investigation and find clues on these dolls. Evensong is supposed to be heavily guarded and protected but even behind these locked gates they are not safe. Claire and Will become friends and discuss their tragic pasts which seem to mirror each other. Just who is behind these deaths and who is the predator who wants one more person to be the Last to Die you won’t believe it?


Three teens all connected in some way as Claire breaks open the investigation along with the members of the Jackal Club. Just what she shows the staff and Maura of the school and how it launches another part of the investigation will not only put Rizzoli and Frost in danger but will lead to another death at the school. Why did Welliver die and who was the man found in the woods?


When all of the lies, deceits and truths come out you won’t believe who was behind the murders of the three families, the danger they put the three teens in and the end result will stupefy and amaze the reader. Once again author Tess Gerristen brings the reader front and center into the world of private schools, forensic medicine, police work and one detective and one ME who would not give up before someone else was THE LAST ONE TO DIE? This is Tess at her best. With an ending that will leave you wondering what is next for Jane and Maura and where will the next case take them read Last To Die. Teddy, Claire, Will, Julian and the rest of the teens will teach the adults to take notice and listen. Trust, loyalty, friendship and hope are at the center or core of what these teens learn and who is Icarus and how do all three families tie together. Ask the teens.

Fran Lewis: reviewer











False Friends

False Friends

Stephen Leather


What would you do if you were standing in the same room with Osama Bin Laden? What would you do if you were the one to decide if this man lives or dies? Wanted for more than must mass murder but genocide and for engineering the events of 9/11 would you execute him even if he was unarmed? Would you take him in and let the courts decide? When the Navy Seals go on a mission to capture him, take down those tied to him something snaps in the mind of the man in charge or the mission or did it? As Dan Spider Shepherd and the Navy Seals finally find themselves face to face with this horrific killer it is up to them to decide his fate? But, Dan is there as an observer for the British government and on assignment for the MI5 agency he works for. Those that know him think he is a journalist those that really know him would never reveal the truth. Two young men are aligned with this mission. Two British students named Malik and Chaudhry who provided the Americans with the information to take down Bin Laden. What if al-Qaeda decided to go after them? How would they learn to live and survive undercover? But, will Shepherd be able to stop what they are planning with thousands of lives hanging in the balance?




The operation in Pakistan was supposedly to bring Bin Laden in. But, the end result was what everyone applauded and wanted from the start. Spider was there as an observer as I stated working with a team of US Navy Seals carrying out the mission. But, when one of the helicopters malfunctions and an alternate plan of entry and attack are needed, Shepherd comes up with a backup plan and becomes ensconced in this operation even if he thinks they are wrong.




But, as with anyone that finds out the end result could be monetary and the purse quite steep, these two young men request some of the money or bounty placed on the head of Bin Laden wanting to use the money to advance their careers and lives. Enter Charlotte Button his immediate superior who has another mission for him equally as dangerous and working with the Met’s Covert Operations Group with an old friend named Sam Hargrove. Just what this assignment is will prove to be even more dangerous and what will the end result be for our two young students still remains to be seen? But, they are far from out of the woods and still under the watchful eye of Muslims and one man named Khalid. Just how Khalid and al-Qaeda will go after Shepherd and the Seals remains to be seen. Just how these two False Friends play into his plot you won’t believe. What would happen if they were able to pull off another 9/11 but more devastating this time? Two young men who are being trained, taught and groomed to play an integral part in a huge massive terrorist attack. What if they don’t really want to do this? What happens when the British use them and their own people too? Spider/Shepherd is now in a different role of handler and he has to try and keep these two young men alive.


Going undercover one more time and protecting the two young Muslims would be more than just a full time job for him. Added in we learn more news about Bin Laden and what others are after the truth about who created the map, who the traitors are in their organization, why the map surfaced, what the Pakistanis are really up to and how he is going to protect Malik and Chaudhry. Added in we also learn of his new identity as a British arms dealer, the concerns he airs to Button and the training he will give the two Muslims. Will al-Qaeda find out who was behind the Intel? What happens when the Palestinian investigates?


There are two separate plots created by this outstanding author. Dealing with white fanatics and Muslims fanatics. The Muslims, Raj and Harvey or our two known as Chaudhry and Malik, are two UK born Muslims caught in this dangerous web having supplied the Intel needed to get the Sheik as Bin Laden is referred to.


Charlotte Button his boss at MI5 sends him as we know to the Met under orders from number 10 where he meets up as was stated with his old comrades Jimmy Sharpe and DCS Sam Hargrove to get inside this right-wing group which is part of the English Defense League based in Birmingham and planning a mass terrorist attack. Their goal is to uncover who the suppliers are and get the guns and ammo before its too late.


But there is much more as Shepherd gives the two young men a lesson in surveillance and how to avoid detection by the other side. Teaching them how to spot if they are being followed and how to blend in so no one knows they are doing the following as the story continues with both Shepherd and Sharpe meeting with the two from the English Defense League Kettering and Thompson. John Whitehill as he is referred to by Malik and Chaudhry and other names the author takes us into the world of espionage, deceit, terrorist cells and much more. Added in we learn about his son Liam.


The author shares with the reader his research into how grenades work, AK47’s and the type of ammunition needed, the rationale behind what these terrorists think about Americans, their own cause and other countries and the inner workings of these organizations that handle covert operations. Shepherd is loyal to his friends and even though told not to divulge certain facts to Sharpe he decides to trust him anyway with the information Button shared with him and Hargrove. Added in we are right up there front and center with Khalid and his group of terrorists as we learn some of what they have in mind, can surmise the rest just from the conversation and understand why if not stopped there will be more than just a repeat of 9/11. Adding in how these terrorists are linked to the man who caused the explosion in Norway and much more. But, not every plan goes according to the way they expect and the terrorists step up their mission and the two young students are afraid that they will be asked to cross that proverbial line that they did not sign up for. The MI5 team is on alert and their eyes and ears on the mission but will they be able to save them in time?


The truth behind his plans are revealed and those naïve enough to allow themselves to do his bidding really sad as some will die as martyrs thinking that is the wish of Allah and some will die at the hand of this terrorist as they plan to kill hundreds of people in a shopping mall. The end result you will not expect, as Shepherd has to think fast, hopefully outfox the enemy and save the lives of thousands before it’s too late. When called by Khalid to meet he senses something is wrong but will he be able to stop what they have planned? The two young students are far from out of danger and things heat up until the twists, turns and explosive ending you won’t see coming. What they are planning to do and who they wanted to execute it will let everyone in every country know that you cannot stop watching, listening and understanding that these people can strike at any time and they will. Author Stephen Leather created a plot so realistic, so credible that the reader gets an upfront taste of what these terrorists do, sound like, feel and want in the name of religion and more. This is one ending and one book that will definitely make you wonder just who is one what side and just what is in store next for Shepherd and the two students. Will it ever be over? Are they really safe? Trust no one!


Fran Lewis: Reviewer