Tess Gerritsen’s book Vanish is a powerful tale of exploitation with political implications that unravel in a swift, pulse-pounding fashion guaranteed to keep you turning the pages as she successfully manages to run parallel story lines while incorporating unbelievable twists and turns that bring about a totally unexpected ending. Gerritsen’s fans will also be pleased to note that this book brings back two familiar heroes, Jane Rizzoli, the risk-taking Boston Police Detective (who debuts as a new mother in this novel), and Dr. Maura Isles, A Boston forensic pathologist and medical examiner. Vanish is about how young girls, deceived with false promises of a better life in America, find their hopes dashed at the hands of border coyotes when they experience murder within their ranks for trying to escape and are then sold as a commodity to the highest bidder as sex slaves.

The heart of the story begins when Dr. Isles is startled to find a not so dead woman, in a body bag, at the morgue. After the Jane Doe is whisked off to the Emergency Room, she regains consciousness only to snatch a security guard’s gun, shoot him, and take hostages that include Jane Rizzoli who is in labor awaiting the birth of her daughter. From that point on the story unfolds as Maura Isles and Rizzoli’s F.B.I. agent husband, Gabriel Dean, race to uncover the woman’s identity only to fall into the depths of a scandal that involves people in the upper echelon of society. Broken up throughout the hostage situation are various scenes, told from seventeen-year-old, Mila’s viewpoint ,that begin in the Mexican desert as she is being transported to what she had believed was a better life in America. In the end Iles and Dean with the help of Rizzoli manage to not only discover a massive conspiracy affecting the hostage taker but also expose an international sex slave ring while solving a series of grisly murders stemming from the peccadilloes of a high-level government bureaucrat.

In my opinion, master storyteller Gerritsen has once again delivered another thought provoking suspense thriller that travels beyond its suspense novel trappings and provides the genesis for real-world considerations but I must note that sensitive readers may be disturbed by the real-life images portrayed in the book. In delivering her story Gerritsen manages to incorporate a very subtle morality tale surrounding the real life issues of so-called victimless crimes, and the people who make their fortunes perpetrating them. Overall, this book is a quick and entertaining read by an author who shows no signs of running out of new ideas and I would recommend it anyone who detests injustice.

[tags]book review, Vanish, Tess Gerritsen, Gerritsen, sex slaves, injustice, prostitution, mystery, suspense, murder, FBI[/tags]