Ballantine, Sep 2008, $26.00
Boston-based medical examiner Maura Isles has examined a lot of corpses while on the job, but this one is special. The Crispin Museum invited the ME to attend a CAT scan of Madame X; the perfectly preserved mummy found in their basement who the curator believes will save their financially troubled facility.
However, instead of an ancient Egyptian royal, the modern medical test proves the mummy is a recent homicide victim. They also find a cryptic note inside. Boston Police Department Detectives Jane Rizzoli and Barry Frost lead the investigation. The message leads the cops to archeologist Josephine Pulcillo, who along with her mom has been on the run from an obsessed serial killer. Soon more modern day mummies are found, but the culprit remains elusively hidden in spite of Egyptian embalming knowledge.
The latest Rizzoli-Isles police procedural is a superb thriller that needs a graphic warning label not to read on a full stomach. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the mummy goes from ancient historical to contemporary and never slows down as obsession keeps a mother and daughter in fear of revealing secrets to the cops. Tess Gerritsen is at her best with this gruesome horrific murder mystery.