Select one of the keywords
The Mephisto Club    by Tess Gerritsen order for
Mephisto Club
by Tess Gerritsen
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Audio, CD, e-Book

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Tess Gerritsen has had nine New York Times bestsellers in the last ten years. The Mephisto Club should round that number out to ten. Boston Medical Examiner Maura Isles is called out on Christmas Eve to a horrific murder scene. Satanic symbols mark walls and written in reverse is the word peccavi, Latin for I have sinned.

Thus starts a plot enveloping an age-old debate of religion versus science. Detective Jane Rizzoli and Isles follow a trail that leads them to the Mephisto Club, whose members believe that Satan and his demons have walked among us since the beginning of mankind. Now doesn't that whet your appetite? The telling of the tale takes the reader on a long journey from a small town in upstate New York to Rome to Boston, Egypt and the Mediterranean. It is not your normally guided tourist tour.

I warn you. Read this in a well-lit room, preferably with someone else nearby for comfort, and protection if need be. Blood and severed limbs drip and drop from the pages as the two women follow leads that become more and more unbelievable as their investigations grow. Murder precedes their footsteps at many turns and they begin to question each others take on the club members' philosophy.

The Mephisto Club is not only a fascinating read but one that may make you stop and examine your own beliefs.

2nd Review by Martina Bexte (Rating:3):

Boston medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles is on hand again as she's called to a horrific Christmas Eve murder where Detective Jane Rizzoli is already on scene. The reaction of some of the veteran cops is a warning of what's to come, but once Rizzoli leads Isles to the death scene even the icy and usually unflappable coroner is taken aback. The victim has been dismembered and her body parts arranged within a pentagram surrounded by black candles. Scrawled in blood are various Latin phrases - translated they mean 'I Have Sinned'.

Further investigation leads Isles and Rizzoli to Beacon Hill and an exclusive club whose scholarly members believe that humans are incapable of creating true evil, that it's the human/demon hybrids that walk unseen among us who are responsible for the worst kind of horrors. Both investigators are skeptical: Isles the scientist argues there is always a technical explanation for everything while veteran cop Rizzoli points out that from her experiences humans are indeed capable of committing unspeakable acts against each other. But the charismatic Anthony Sansone and his colleagues argue otherwise, drawing on a wealth of historical data, symbolism and passages from the Old Testament to prove that Satan and his minions walk among us.

The grisly body count rises and leads to a young woman named Lily Saul who's on the run in Europe, certain she's being hunted by the demon who killed her entire family. Using his powerful resources, Sansone steps in and brings Lily back to America to face Rizzoli's numerous questions: what is Lily's connection to the two slain women, what really happened to her cousin Alex, and exactly how deeply is Sansone's elite cabal involved in this entire unsettling mystery?

In her Afterword, Gerritsen explains how she based this story on an actual passage taken from the translated version of the Book of Enoch, which was long thought lost. The passage reads, 'evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men and from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin; they shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits they shall be called'. She goes on to say that these mixed race creatures (called the Nephilim) are again mentioned in another ancient text, The Book of Jubilees, and that most were destroyed during Noah's time. The rest survived and still walk among us.

Gerritsen utilizes this fascinating premise with skill and imagination to create another edge-of-your-seat thriller in The Mephisto Club. Adding to the tension are secondary story lines involving Rizzoli having to deal with her parents' disintegrating marriage and Dr. Isles trying to make sense of her relationship with Father Daniel Brophy. Neither issue is neatly tied up and will certainly be addressed in future books. Nor is the secretive agenda of Sansone and his fellow Mephisto members fully explored either, which leaves me eagerly waiting for a sequel or two.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews