It's okay, if you're looking for a short romance that covers all the typical elements. Sam and Nina's "I love her but it won't work out in the end/heIt's okay, if you're looking for a short romance that covers all the typical elements. Sam and Nina's "I love her but it won't work out in the end/he doesn't love me, he's just a cop" will probably grate on your nerves from the repetition.
Really not big on Gerritsen's older romantic suspenses. Her later medical thrillers are more entertaining....more
**spoiler alert** Sought these out because I'd read all of Gerritsen's medical thrillers and the Isles/Rizzoli series and enjoyed those. Unfortunately**spoiler alert** Sought these out because I'd read all of Gerritsen's medical thrillers and the Isles/Rizzoli series and enjoyed those. Unfortunately, these...aren't quite up to par.
True, I'm really not a good judge when it comes to romances, because I just plain don't like them. Romances that are romances and nothing else can sometimes be okay, since that's the main focus, but "______-romance" (fill in the blank with suspense, thriller, etc.) usually don't fare as well, because on the one side, you need to be focusing on the action and intrigue on the suspense side of things, while the romance part almost always feels forced in. Anyway.
Presumed Guilty - probably my "favorite" of the three, though nothing really special. Mystery, whodunit-type fare, the guy and the gal coming together wasn't too bad.
Whistleblower - The story itself isn't too bad: guy on the run because he knows a maverick group of the government is developing bacterial warfare components and he's not evil enough to hang out with them. Random woman finds him, helps him, gets mixed up in it all, they fall in love. It wouldn't be so bad if the two weren't so goddamned obnoxious "He doesn't really love me; after this he'll leave me, wah wah wah". Shut the fuck up. Basically, would've been better without the romance.
Never Say Die - The most action packed, but pissed me off the most, because dying is exactly what happens to lots and lots of side characters who don't deserve it. Naturally, the two leads get off scot-free, even though it was their goddamned nosing around that got so many people killed. ...more
**spoiler alert** This was one of those books where you just want to throw up your hands in annoyance due to the characters failing so much at being G**spoiler alert** This was one of those books where you just want to throw up your hands in annoyance due to the characters failing so much at being Genre Savvy. The very second (quite early in the book) someone wonders why the hospital just recently switched which labs take care of their blood work, the reader knows "It's them; they're behind whatever this outbreak is about and they're here now to cover their tracks" and from then on it's just a matter of waiting for the characters themselves to realize it too. In some books they have hunches on it around midway through, but in Bloodstream it's not revealed until the very end, which is quite frustrating for the reader.
To add to that, the "bad guy" reveal got a big "Who?" from me. It's a book of fair length, with quite a few characters, a number of them pretty throwaway at that; Mary Rose and Isabel? Forgotten right after they're there to show that the town's teens are becoming violent. Claire's douchey rival doctor? That nosy tabloid writer? Or the officer that was helping her out? Even the new-age vegetarian lady and her complete opposite hick neighbor are shoved out of the picture once there's no longer any need for them, and they were rather enjoyable side characters that I wouldn't have minded seeing more of. So the baddie had definitely been almost completely purged from my memory when they were mentioned at the end, and I had to wrack my brain (and flip back through the book) to remember who they were.
There was one particular thing about this work that I'd like to see more of in Gerritsen's works. Now, she's great at writing characters that can make you rage (not that this is particularly a difficult feat for any author; just make some characters with the usual disgusting personalities: wife-beaters, power-hungry assholes who eagerly wave around lawsuit threats to keep the protagonists down, and you can have a reader hoping they get what's coming by the end of the book. It's a pretty cheap tactic, really.) Despite having read multiple thrillers and knowing they usually all end similarly, she can still make it difficult for me to sleep at night after tensing up through parts where the main character is at the mercy of the bad guy.
One thing that I rarely ever have to deal with when reading Gerritsen's books, however, is an emotional scene that brings that telltale sting to my eyes. A lot of tension, yes, and there are definitely lots of very horrible things happening to many characters in just about all her books, but it's always just shock from gruesomeness than anguish or despair. For example, the scene at the high school dance with Lincoln and Barry after the polices' very bad judgment definitely left me feeling bad. Despite what a small role he had, I was rather fond of the kid, and it definitely wasn't something I was hoping to see. However, like I said, I think the shock factor swallows up any sad emotion one might've had at that scene.
In this book, however, there is an earlier scene dealing with a Warren Emerson. He's shown to us numerous times throughout the book, and from what we see, he seems to be a harmless man with a very unfortunate past. He is completely shunned by everyone in town, as they're all deathly afraid of him, and because of that, Warren is completely alone. The book shows how dear his cat Mona is to him, as she's the only company he's got, yet he even acknowledges that she only cares that he feeds her and has no actual affection for him. Despite being hinted at that he'd done something terrible when much younger (an obvious event to the reader), the present day Warren that we see is only a very lonely, mild-mannered old man, oft injured when he has seizures. His fellow townsfolks refuse to give him rides when he's out in the snow, to meet his eyes or speak with him, and think nothing of letting him seizure on the ground, in the cold, with a head wound.
By this time, the readers are already clued in that the violence that rages through the town's teens is due to some sort of outside factor that they can't control. At one point in his life, Warren was one of those teenagers, and in a fit of that uncontrollable violence, he killed his parents. Shortly after he's admitted to the hospital in the present day, Claire goes to his house to feed his only company, the cat, whereupon she finds his bedroom covered in photos of him and his parents, parents he killed, parents he remembers killing, through no fault of his own.
"Every morning he would wake up alone in this room, to the sight of his parents' photos. And every night, the last image he'd register was of their faces, smiling at him."
That was an emotional gut punch (at least to me) that I'm not used to seeing from Gerritsen, whose works are usually filled far more with the gritty stuff than anything particularly sentimental, but that I wouldn't mind seeing in more of her stuff....more