Tess Gerritsen gained a whole new audience when her characters, pathologist Maura Isles, and NYPD Jane Rizzoli, were developed into a popular summer series on TNT titled “Rizzoli and Isles.” The series has been renewed and viewers can look forward to watching the duo solve crimes in Boston. These characters start their story at the opening of the novels, both unattached and quite younger.

Fans of Gerritson who have followed the series know that in the novels, both women have lived life and advanced in many ways. SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t read the books and don’t want to know what will happen to these characters, stop reading NOW!

In the novels, Jane Rizzoli has married the sexy FBI agent we see from time to time on TV and has a young daughter; her parents have survived an ugly divorce. Maura Isles has gone on to find love with a priest, and readers have felt the heartache this has caused her and her lover.

Now comes Ice Cold, where a heartbroken Isles, after breaking off the destructive affair with her love, heads out west to Wyoming to a medical conference. Meeting an old friend from medical school, she does something highly unusual for the regulated doc. She impulsively goes off with him, his daughter, and two of his friends for a spur-of-the-moment ski trip. When their SUV stalls on a snowy mountain road and they’re stranded, it proves to have disastrous results.

Seeking refuge and warmth from the blizzard, the group hikes down the mountain and arrives at a remote village called Kingdom Come, where twelve identical houses stand eerily abandoned. With cars still in garages, and evidence of meals still out on the tables, it is obvious something has happened to make the residents disappear.  When days later, Jane Rizzoli receives the grim news that her best friend’s body has been found charred beyond recognition in a mountain ravine, she is determined to find out what happened to her friend. After a memorial service in Boston, she flies out to Wyoming.

The beginning of this book centered around Isles so completely that I thought Rizzoli was going to be left out all together, but Gerritsen neatly incorporates her into the second half of the novel. The enemy they are fighting proves to be merciless and powerful, a combination that has Rizzoli using all of her many resources. A subplot involving someone from Isles’ past and a young teen from this novel satisfyingly round out the action. Gerritsen has the talent to create a readable crime book while letting readers into the emotional life of her recurring characters.