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Vanish    by Tess Gerritsen order for
by Tess Gerritsen
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Homicide detective Jane Rizolli's fondest wish is that she finally be delivered of her child. However, her baby has other ideas and the overdue mother goes on about her business of testifying at a young man's bail hearing. When he turns violent and attacks the guard, Jane goes into cop mode - and that's when her water breaks. A short time later, she finds herself in her doctor's office, and then waiting for a sonogram as well as the arrival of her FBI agent husband, Gabriel Dean.

Across the way at the morgue, medical examiner Maura Isles is about to go home after a long day when she hears an odd noise coming from a recently delivered body bag. She unzips it and is shocked to discover that the corpse inside is very much alive. The beautiful Jane Doe is rushed to hospital, and while everyone scrambles to find out who she is and why she was wrongfully pronounced dead, the situation turns even more bizarre. The mystery woman attacks a doctor, guns down a security guard and then vanishes into the bowels of the hospital. With equally cool precision, she takes a number of hostages, including Jane Rizolli.

Maura and Gabriel Dean work together to discover what precipitated the young woman's actions. When federal agents arrive to take control of the situation, Gabriel's suspicions that this is much more than just a simple hostage crisis go on full alert. While the various agencies squabble over jurisdiction, no one notices a heavily armed man walk calmly into the hospital. They soon learn that Joe and Olena are working together to shed light on a group of men responsible for shocking crimes against young women. Gabriel is eventually allowed to go inside to try and reason with them, but before he has a chance to hear Joe and Olena's entire story, a tactical team storms the room and executes them, leaving Gabriel, as well as Jane, convinced of a high level cover-up.

Tess Gerritsen delivers a riveting and shockingly timely thriller. The tension-filled plot unravels at a breakneck pace. After various ingenious twists, it reveals a sinister ring of men (including high-level government officials) involved in kidnapping, prostitution and murder. To date, Gerritsen has written five thrillers featuring icy medical examiner Maura Isles and brash, fiery homicide detective Jane Rizolli. Each successive story reveals new layers to these women. Vanish is the best by far and I look forward to the next novel featuring this fine cast of recurring characters.

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