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Body Double    by Tess Gerritsen order for
Body Double
by Tess Gerritsen
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Pathologist Dr. Maura Isles returns from a Paris conference to a shocking scene; multiple police vehicles and homicide investigators gathered outside her home. Friends and colleagues have gathered and are equally stunned to see Maura, since the corpse found in a parked car outside her house is her spitting image. Investigation reveals that the unidentified woman and Maura are indeed twins: their DNA is a match and their birth dates are the same. Though aware that she was adopted, Maura had never considered the possibility of a twin. Now troubling questions arise: who was this mystery woman and why did someone want her dead?

With the help of (eight months pregnant) detective Jane Rizzoli, Maura begins what turns into an increasingly dangerous quest to discover her roots. Out of town detective Rick Ballard offers his help. He identifies Maura's twin as Anna Bishop and explains his part in helping her hide from her wealthy and abusive boyfriend. It's clear that Ballard had fallen for Anna. But when evidence puts doubt on Ballard's claim that Anna's boyfriend killed her, Maura decides to follow other leads. Her hunt takes her to a seaside town in Maine and to a cabin where mass graves are discovered, their grisly contents linked to murders that span more than thirty years. Worst of all, Maura forces herself to confront the woman who might well be her birth mother and also the mastermind behind a countrywide killing spree involving pregnant women.

Tess Gerritsen is at her best in this, her darkest and creepiest thriller to date. Not only are her characterizations exemplary, she unravels clues thread by stingy thread in a wonderfully complex plot. And then just when you think she's tied it all into a neat and tidy bow, she throws in a final shocker that left me thinking, 'I should've seen that one coming!' Body Double is one of those rare, impossible to put down thrillers that should be read with every light ablaze.

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