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











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