10.23.2010

The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen: A Break from William H. Gass', The Tunnel



What a perniciously pleasant surprise, The Mephisto Club, by Tess Gerritsen!

I would never have even encountered Tess Gerritsen had Patricia Cornwell, my usual go-to-girl when I need me a good genre, CSI style fix, hadn't gone on such a long downward spiral into her malaise of mediocrity and self-plagiarism with the majority of her recent releases, like The Front (decent TV show, while it lasted) to name but one, which was already hot on the lackluster heels ("c'mon already, Patricia!) of her last four or five Kay Scarpetta novels going back to the turn of the century, so I desperately needed another crime thriller option, another author (a former doctor/medical examiner/coroner/detective type) to infuse some freshness and excitement into the genre since I needed a break from the tedium of reading The Tunnel start to almost finish, and wouldn't'cha know it, Tess Gerritsen, bless her diabolical authorial finesse, was there to see me through some temporary readers-drudgery engendered by reading the difficult (but fantastic) prose of the incomparable, William H. Gass.

The Mephisto Club, sixth in the Jane Rizzoli detective series (though my virgin Rizzoli read) incorporates several favorite interests of mine:  mysterious, though not-at-all-like-The-Da-Vinci-Code, secret societies, apocryphal literature (i.e., The Book of Enoch and The Book of Jubilees), symbiology and, dare I admit it (please don't strike me down dead Lawd, please!) demon ... uh ... ology.  As in, "The sow is mine!"

Now, I'm no aspiring warlock or wiccan, and The Mephisto Club would probably bore a fun loving Aleister Crowley occultist (might as well try interesting a Navy Seal in an exciting game of Battleship™), but for a Luciferian lightweight like me possessing (don't pardon the fun pun) merely an arguably unhealthy interest in stories satanic, The Mephisto Club, with its ritualistic skin carvings, filleting, dastardly dismemberments, demon and devil huntings, priestly affairs (Vatican ordained and carnal), and claustrophobic chases through the narrow cobblestone lanes of the dank back alleys of Rome, beautifully rendered in above-average, often accomplished prose, fit the fun, page-turning, Beelzebubbish bill for me just fine.  Very fine.

2 comments:

jewelknits said...

Thanks for this review! Having for a long time considered myself a mystery fan, I had fallen to the wayside of the genre, as most of the recent books seem to be formulaic rehashing of stories I've already read. This one is now on my goodreads list!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

EnriqueFreeque said...

You're quite welcome Julie. Wish I knew more about mysteries to offer up another suggestion, but I rarely dip into the genre.