Message From The Author
The Devil Inside: Tess Gerritsen's Heroines, Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, Are Back -- And This Time They Are Searching For Evil Incarnate At THE MEPHISTO CLUB
By Faygie Levy
Good versus evil is the epitome of any
good mystery or thriller, but Tess Gerritsen takes the battle one step further in her September release, The Mephisto Club (Ballantine). She poses the question of whether evil walks among us.
"I'm not a religious person by background," says Gerritsen, who majored in anthropology in college before becoming
a doctor turned best-selling author. That may be why she's fascinated by the universal cultural belief that a devil or the embodiment of evil exists. Playing the what-if game that writers do, she asked: "What if there was a physical presence... and what if he was a serial killer now in Boston."
In The Mephisto Club, Detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles team up in the sequel to last year's Vanish.The Mephisto Club is actually the sixth case that Jane and Maura have worked together. But this is the first time that they have seen anything so evil. Jane and Maura hunt the killer, they also become entwined in
a secret international society run by a mysterious billionaire dedicated to hunting down evil wherever it may be. The group is specifically after those it refers to as Nephilim, a race of human hybrids that are mentioned in ancient religious texts like the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees.
Though the Nephilim have disappeared from accepted biblical texts, Gerritsen thought a fictional tale about the Nephilim that still roam the Earth would make a thrilling story.
While the book is first and foremost a crime thriller, Jane and Maura also deal with some incidents in their personal lives that throw their relationships, friendships and even a marriage into turmoil.
"The real secret of pacing a book is putting the characters through emotional turmoil in every way -- not just the crime but their love life, their family," explains Gerritsen. "That's what always keeps me turning pages in other people's books -- [when] something more is always going wrong."
As many readers know, Gerritsen honed her craft writing romantic suspense novels for Harlequin Intrigue. But the move to straight thrillers "was driven by what story
I wanted to write next," she says.
And that story was Harvest, which was inspired by a tale she heard one evening
at a dinner. But getting the story written proved challenging.
"There was a big switch. I think that Harvest was twice as long as my normal Intrigues, and I just had this enormous amount of freedom to go anywhere with the story. It didn't have to have a happy ending"
or a romantic ending, says Gerritsen, noting that the
"extra freedom to do anything
I want[ed] was scary."
But perhaps nothing is scarier than real life, which may explain why some of her thrillers are inspired by actual events. Vanish, for instance, was inspired by a real story about a woman who woke up in the morgue. Says Gerritsen, "You hear a tale like that and you immediately
begin to get your creative juices flowing."
When not writing, the mother of two sons (23 and 21) who lives in Maine with her husband of 29 years, enjoys playing the fiddle and playing Celtic music. "Maine is a hotbed of Celtic music," she says. "About 40 percent of the people in the state
have Irish blood, and so many musicians are here living in the woods. I host a jam session once a month at our house, so I
know lots of musicians here."
Gerritsen's next book is THE BONE GARDEN , a historical mystery set in 1830s Boston, will be a departure for the author. "I've always wanted
to write something like this. It combines my interest in history with my medical background. The book is about grave-robbing and what I consider one of the truly horrifying chapters in international medicine." She's talking about the huge outbreaks of "child bed fever," when women came into the hospital to deliver their babies and died within days.
But fans of her Rizzoli/Isles series should not fear: They'll be back shortly with a new chapter in their lives.
SOME OF TESS' FAVORITE THINGS
FAVORITE MOVIE: Galaxy Quest "I love that film. I watch it every New Year's."
FAVORITE PLACE TO VISIT: Paris
FAVORITE MUSIC: Celtic
FAVORITE FOOD: Impossible to choose
FAVORITE DRINK: Gin and tonic
Learn more about Tess by visiting her online at www.TessGerritsen.com!
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