Book, screen, stage, festival & event reviews.
“Vanish” is a title true to the plot, but, here in the UK, it did made me think of furniture polish for some reason, and then I had the following conversation with a friend, after I finished the book:
I said, “It reminds me of polish. It’s polish, isn’t it?”
He said, “It’s that stuff that removes all stains, isn’t it?”
Holding the cordless phone on my shoulder, I ventured into the cupboard under the sink, only to see a shocking pink bottle of “Vanish” at the front, “Yes, it is. I use it. I thought it rang a bell…”
But “Vanish” of the shocking pink bottled variety does not ring the same bell as the book and the book lasts a lot longer and does not disappear down the plug hole. Indeed, the book leaves a lasting memory of man’s inhumanity to man – or, if we’re to be pedantic in this case, man’s inhumanity to, and disrespect of, women.
In a nutshell: a batch of Russian illegal immigrants reach the US border, all young and female and hoping for a promised new life of prosperous normality and stability, and good jobs. But, all too soon, their eyes are opened to the prospect of the reality of their lives behind that evil promise.
Jane Rizzoli is not just pregnant, but a week overdue and on “maternity leave”, and in court testifying against a man who has beaten his partner. It is in court that her waters finally break and labour might be enough for a woman to deal with, but Rizzoli finds herself at the hospital and one of the subjects of a kidnapping siege, with the labour ongoing…
The woman who created the hostage scene started out as a ”corpse” in Maura Isles’s morgue. She becomes very much alive, frightened and embittered, and does not trust the authorities to deliver justice. And then, suddenly, she is dead from bullets, following an inhaled drug to combat the hostage situation. The hostages are saved, but what is her story? What meant so much to her that she’d risk the lives of patients in a hospital? What is the story of the last words she uttered to Jane Rizzoli? And who has the final say, in all this mayhem?
This book is a page turner, no doubt about that. There may be a potential plot in your head as you’re reading the book, but the final outcome remains a surprise.
Gerritsen embraces all of life here – the normal and that which sometimes intrudes, for the better or the worse. It is the worst of it we experience here, where humans become a cargo that is for the use of others. But Gerritsen does not tell all up front – we get a picture in our minds, something we fear and hate, with no confirmation within the story, as such – and then we experience the finalé of the results of it.
It’s a good plot and something I so enjoyed reading.
Likewise, I loved the passages of insight into new mother, Jane Rizzoli. I loved the timing and situation of her waters breaking; it was something that spurred the recipient on to embarrassment and much else, in my book. Not so for Gerritsen, but I’ll let her off on that one. (The recipient was only led to more verbal abuse, in the novel…) But later, we get more of this, the great detective Riozzoli is now a mother and her feelings of inadequacy make the fore, as does her later feral love for the child she gave birth to.
Rizzoli, Dean and Isles make a thrilling bunch – as always.
You can’t do better than this novel – "Vanish". Forget what it says on the shocking pink label here in the UK; this is a book that deserves recognition and memory, not disappearance. The memory from that story will, no doubt, come to the fore, as what you read is heart breaking and more. The "more" is a damn good crime thriller.