Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Tess Gerritsen - Whistleblower

When Victor Holland came flying out of the night, he ran straight into the path of Catherine Weaver's car. Having uncovered a terrifying secret which leads all the way to Washington, Victor is running for his life - and from the men who will go to any lengths to silence him.

Comment: Since I found out about Tess Gerritsen I have never been disappointed with her books, even with those I found weren't as wonderful. Recently, a friend of mine started to read her romance novels, books she wrote and published before the success of the Rizzoli and Isles series and her stand alone mysteries which is the genre that brought her international fame. The romance novels are older than the mystery centered series and reflect not only the time when they were written but also the beginning of the author's career.
This is the story of Victor Holland, a scientist that finds out his lab is doing work on something they shouldn't and he wants to denounce them to the authorities with the help of a co worker. That person dies and Victor realizes he's in danger and the bosses don't want to the truth to be known. He runs away and the book starts precisely when Victor is running from the company's (sort of) hit man.
He is rescued on a road by Catherine, a woman driving home and that hits Victor when he shows up suddenly in front of her car. Although Victor tries to protect Catherine, she still gets herself involved in the process and somehow the killer after Victor finds out who she is.
From that moment on, many things happen one after the other that put Catherine and Victor in danger but also force them to be together and to admit the attraction between them.
This book reads just like an action movie. It seems this could the plot for any blockbuster, something to numb us for a couple of hours. To be honest, the action isn't that tricky or polished like her most recent books. I find amazing how far she's gone from this book that is so weak in terms of plot/characterization when compared to her recent work, so complex, layered and balanced. It's obvious how she improved over time and how good she's now.
In fact, the way this is written seems unbelievable almost that the same Gerritsen wrote this and such amazing books as the Rizzoli and Isles series, full of human complexities. I understand the passage of time but the same way I can't help living now and basing my opinions on who I am now, I also have to judge what I read based on that and not on what it would have been at that time. Nevertheless, even with that in mind, I admit some situations are classic Gerritsen, and my enjoyment came exactly from my wish to know what happened next. The action is fast paced and the characters were always doing something.
The problem is the lack of complexity in this story, everything is simple or happens in a very expected way. The characters behave as one would think but there's nothing special about them, they aren't as well explored as characters from her recent series, not only because of the amount of installments but because it's clear the author intended something simpler at this time. However, it's still difficult to go from something so amazing and that never lets us down to a book like this so simplistic and obviously naïve in certain aspects, namely the characters' actions.
The relationship between Catherine and Victor faces some obstacles and not only the running they're doing from the killer but I never felt they were in love, everything happened so fast that ended up looking unbelievable to me. Even the secondary characters seem so cliché that I didn't think they were that important in the whole scheme of things.
All in all, this is clearly an attempt of what nowadays is her trademark but not even faithful, devoted fans can say this is as amazing as other books that one simply can't put down. To be truthful, with this one, I had to tell myself to keep reading. It helped that it wasn't a long story but still, I thought had been born the perfect writer but this told me that she, as so many other people, had to improve her work no matter how talented she has always been.
I think I'll stick to her thriller/mysteries from now on...
Grade: 6/10


  1. I love the Rizzoli/Isles series, but I have yet to go back and read her older romantic suspense titles or her stand-alone suspense novels. The romantic suspense titles were originally published by Harlequin Intrigue, which I think probably explains some of the issues you had with this story. I've always felt that's an extremely hard line to write for and the authors really need to keep up the fast pace. I think right now the only author I autobuy in that line is HelenKay Dimon because she excels at writing a good cat-and-mouse-style suspense thread.

    I'm curious to read these older titles by Gerritsen, mostly to see the transition and growth as a writer. One of these days - because, of course, they're all buried in my TBR.

    1. Hello Wendy. Ok, I didn't research that much so thank you for telling me. Nevertheless, it's still obvious how far the author has come. I think part of my problem is I no longer feel the call of books like this where things happen too simply and the romantic relationship doesn't develop with some more complexity. When you dig some of these out of your pile I'll be curious to read your opinion!