The Mephisto Club -- Tess Gerritsen

Lori-Anne Tucker, a woman in her late twenties, has been brutally murdered.  The crime scene is like something out of a Laurell K. Hamilton book -- complete with dismembered limbs, the victim's head surrounded by a red circle and five black candles, blood everywhere, detectives vomiting, strange, possibly Satanic symbols and a Latin phrase -- written in reverse -- on the wall.

The Mephisto Club: A NovelBoston medical examiner Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli are on the job.

Almost immediately, they make a interesting find: the killer called someone from Lori-Anne Tucker's house, and that someone just happens to be Joyce O'Donnell, a psychiatrist who just happens to specialize in serial killers and just happens to be Jane Rizzoli's nemesis.  (Maura's not too keen on her either.)  From there, they realize that there is another connection. 

Dr. O'Donnell is a member of the Mephisto Club, a shady and mysterious group devoted to the study of evil.

It isn't long before there's another murder.  And another.  And they all seem to point to the Club.

I realize that I'm a total weenie, but this book gave me nightmares.

I read the first 80 pages Sunday night, spent the night tossing and turning and waking up and staring through the bedroom doom into the living room and imagining some scary murderer coming through the door and hearing noises and sweating and hiding under the blankets (because they're so protective and all) and getting up for the bathroom and imagining the same scary murderer behind the shower curtain and running -- RUNNING -- back to bed and diving in and then checking to make sure that the scary murderer hadn't somehow switched places with Josh while I was gone and being relieved that he hadn't and then starting the whole cycle all over again.

Judging from The Mephisto Club, Tess Gerritsen's thrillers are much more thriller-y than most of the other thrillers I've read in the past.

Anyway, after that miserable night, I woke up, grabbed the book and finished it before I headed into work.  I devoured it.

The characters were well-developed (I suspect I would feel even more strongly about the main characters if I'd read the previous books), the mystery was complex and smart, the forensic science and police procedural aspects were complimented very well by the the connections made to folklore and religion (which were interesting enough to make me wish that the Author's Note had been longer), I didn't see a major plot twist coming (AT ALL) and the writing itself was strong.  Tess Gerritsen is a smart lady.

The Mephisto Club itself -- not to mention the people who populate it -- is interesting enough to warrant its own series.  At the very least, I hope that some of the members pop up in later Isles/Rizzoli books.  A good pick for those who already dig her books, as well as fans of the history/symbology aspects of The Da Vinci Code, fans of the forensic/detective genre and those who enjoy scary stories about eeeeeeeeeevil.