Rizzoli & Isles: Listen to Me: A Novel

Image of Rizzoli & Isles: Listen to Me: A Novel
Release Date: 
July 5, 2022
Ballantine Books
Reviewed by: 

“Part of the fun of any Rizzoli & Isles novel is watching Jane and Maura fit the pieces together to make sense of a puzzle board of clues. Listen to Me is no exception.”

After a five-year hiatus, Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles return to the scene. In Listen to Me, the 13th in Tess Gerritsen’s bestselling Rizzoli & Isles series, we get a double dose of Rizzolis as detective Jane’s mother, Angela, conducts her own unofficial investigation into another “case”—against her daughter’s wishes—while Jane and Maura pursue an official investigation.

The story opens as college student Amy Antrim is run down and nearly killed by a hit-and-run driver, leaving her dependent upon a cane to walk. Several months later, in a seemingly unrelated incident, nurse Sofia Suarez is brutally murdered in her own home, her skull crushed by a blunt instrument.

Rizzoli and Isles are called in to investigate the apparently motiveless killing of a woman who, by all accounts, hadn’t an enemy in the world. As Jane wonders, “A nurse. Who the hell kills a nurse?”

But as the reader knows almost intuitively, there is a motive—there almost always is in a good murder mystery—and that motive will establish the connection between Sofia’s murder and Amy’s hit-and-run. It’s up to Jane and Maura to find that motive and make that connection. Part of the fun of any Rizzoli & Isles novel is watching Jane and Maura fit the pieces together to make sense of a puzzle board of clues. Listen to Me is no exception.

But lest the reader get too carried away with the Suarez murder, and while Jane finds herself immersed in that investigation, Angela Rizzoli vies for her daughter’s attention with a mystery of her own. It seems that there is something suspicious about the new neighbors who have moved in across the street.

Too suspicious, the way Angela sees it. At least too suspicious for her neighborhood, anyway. “If you see something, say something,” Angela says, explaining how being the mother of a homicide detective has made it “second nature for me to keep an eye on my own neighborhood.”

So alarm bells go off for her when a U-Haul pulls up across the street in front of a house that has been vacant for a year. “I see the husband first, as he steps out of the driver’s side: tall, blond, muscular. Not smiling. That’s the first detail that strikes me. When you arrive at your new home, shouldn’t you be smiling?”

But Angela just can’t seem to get Jane’s attention, since Jane is immersed in the Suarez killing. It appears that unsmiling new neighbors are a low priority for Jane, and Angela decides she may just have to take things into her own hands.

Throw in a runaway teenager, an abusive husband, an affair gone bad, a wife on the run, and a kidnapped baby, and you have enough intrigue for several different books. But Gerritsen is a master at weaving storylines together seamlessly to create a gripping narrative that you won’t want to put down.

The multiple storylines are told through multiple viewpoints. The obvious viewpoints, of course, are those of Jane and Maura, not to mention that of Angela.

Some of the more intriguing parts of the book, though, are the sections told through the eyes of the mysterious hit-and-run victim Amy. Who is she and why was she deliberately run down on the streets near the university where she is a student? The answers to those questions are keys to unlocking the mystery of the brutal killing of the nurse.

Beneath the surface level of the mysteries, this is also a book about mothers and daughters, and the lengths the former are willing to go to for the latter. That universal theme is sure to strike a chord for most readers.   

For those who are fans of the series, it’s good to welcome back Jane and Maura. It seems as if they’ve been gone too long. For new readers, this reviewer bets you are only about 300 pages away from becoming new fans, and you’ll soon be scrambling to get your hands on the prior 12 books in the series.