The Shape of Night

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

The Shape of the Night is the fifteenth stand-alone novel by award-winning American author, Tess Gerritsen. Desperate to escape Boston and the events of her year so far, and facing an overdue deadline for her book, food writer Ava Collette is grateful to find an old seaside rental in Maine for the summer. It’s cheap because the owner still has renovations going on; it’s available because the last tenant unexpectedly left early; and inside, Brodie’s Watch turns out to be wonderfully welcoming despite the initially forbidding exterior.

The house is perfect for her book on New England Traditional food, and the carpenters make excellent guinea pigs for her recipes. But when they aren’t there, she notices a presence. She’s not afraid; rather she is enthralled (lustfully so) with what she perceives to be the ghost of the strikingly handsome sea captain who built the house over one hundred and fifty years earlier.

Jeremiah Brodie makes her feel safe. He seems to know exactly what Ava feels, her massive guilt and her need for punishment. But could Ava’s copious consumption of alcohol be altering her perception? Or might the infection resulting from scratches from her large, mean, Maine coon cat be affecting her brain function?

Ava contacts a specialist in the paranormal: “I wanted to know that what I saw and felt in Brodie’s Watch was real. No, I’m not afraid of Captain Brodie’s ghost. What terrifies me is the possibility that he doesn’t exist and I’m going insane”. But Maeve Cerridwyn uncovers some disturbing facts about Brodie’s Watch, and is convinced that Ava is in danger. The body pulled from the water not long after Ava arrives is also a mystery, as are some earlier deaths classified as accidental.

Fans of her work will quickly realise that this is not what they are used to from Tess Gerritsen: this murder mystery has strong elements of the paranormal as well as scenes of BDSM erotica. However, it allows an ambiguity that acts somewhat as a red herring, along with a few more conventional distractions to keep the reader guessing. While the back-cover blurb is a little misleading this one is intriguingly different.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK
Was this review helpful?
I really wanted to enjoy this as I've loved Tess Gerritsen's other books but this was not for me. I found it a really slow start that was not even a slow burn opening but a trying to find a match to light this opening. The main character seemed interesting but the writing just did not hold me in the slightest. I would pick up another book by this author though as i feel like this was just a fluke book.
Was this review helpful?
I’ve read quite a lot of Tess Gerritsen. She is famous for her Rizzoli & Isles (R&I) series – a detective and a medical examiner who solve all the crimes. As one came out, it was  downloaded to Kindle (by my husband and me) and then devoured at a cracking pace. In between, I went on the hunt, and found her older, romantic suspense novels, which I also enjoyed. And lately, I loved Playing With Fire, which was a standalone, and far better than her recent R&I, Die Again, where I wondered if Tess was not perhaps a teensy bit bored.

Cue The Shape of Night – another standalone. This is not your average “mystery thriller”, as it claims on the blurb. Ava escapes Boston, where some shit went down and heads for the coastal village of Maine – Brodie’s Watch, specifically. This is a rental house – old, haunted, wuthering, creaky and squeaky. But it’s all good – she has her cat Hannibal to help her uncover the legends and the sightings of Captain James Brodie, the captain who built and lived in the house. She’s come because she needs to complete a cook book, and there are some mouth watering descriptions of the food, eerie evenings in the house,  some strange stories of past visitors and even stranger appearances of visitors and strangers. Who do you trust? Ava didn’t expect to have to confront all her demons and then some more in sleepy Maine.

All good. The part that requires some suspension of belief is the interaction with the paranormal sojourners. While I wouldn’t describe it as “ghost porn”, as some of my fellow reviewers have, it’s certainly raunchy, and more than a little weird. Not sure about this part, but the book does work. And with Tess, you know you’re in good hands, she sets a great pace, and most of the sexy scenes with “suspicious” characters are forgivable. I still think she was veree bored when she wrote this though.

Not a yawn, but maybe a miss if you’re not into paranormal thrillers.
Was this review helpful?
I love Tess Gerritsen's mysteries so was very pleased to score an ARC from NetGalley. Many thanks to the publisher.

But, I feel really ambivalent about this book. Ava is a cookbook author who decamps to a small town in Maine due to a personal tragedy. She and her, very excellent, cat Hannibal, move into Brodie's Watch, a recently renovated clifftop mansion. And weird stuff happens.

I couldn't quite work out what this book wanted to be. Was it a romance? Mystery? Thriller? 50 Shades knockoff? Not super sure. However, the setting was quite glorious. Gerritsen's description of the house, the beach, and the town was lovely.
Was this review helpful?
Sorry, but this was not what I was expecting having read previous books by Tess Gerritsen. Afraid I didn't finish it. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read it, however.
Was this review helpful?
As a long time fan of Tess Gerritsen, I have to admit I was a little surprised by this story. It’s not that I’m not happy she’s doing something different but this felt like one of those romantic suspense (with the emphasis on romance) books she wrote way back at the start of her career. I didn’t particularly mind this as I’ve loved pretty much everything she’s written but I suspect fans of her more recent thrillers may be a little disappointed.

It does have the quality of writing regular readers have come to expect from Gerritsen and I can’t deny it made for addictive reading, I read the whole thing in a day, but I’m not sure the combination of ghost story, murder mystery and romance really comes together. It feels like the romance takes centre stage and considering this is a Fifty Shades style relationship it makes for slightly disturbing reading.

I did find Ava to be a very intriguing character and for the most part likeable. She’s in Maine for the summer ostensibly to finish the cookbook she’s writing but in reality she’s running away from something terrible she’s done. She’s plagued by guilty feelings and has developed a bit of a drinking problem which makes you wonder just how reliable she is when she starts to question the disappearance of the previous resident in the house she’s renting and even more so when a ghostly apparition appears to her. I will admit I found it hard to accept how obsessive she became about the captain but I did like how different she was as a character and how she develops over the course of the story.

Where I struggled was the romance, I’m afraid it just stretched the bounds of credibility for me and there were elements that were problematic. I understand why the author went down that route but it feels abusive and unhealthy a lot of the time, and I’m saying this as someone who enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey. There were a couple of scenes that I found disturbing to read and I suspect I won’t be the only one.

There are however other things to enjoy about this story. I loved the setting of a small town in Maine, the wonderful cast of secondary characters and all of the references to food. It made it very easy to imagine yourself there. I also liked the murder mystery even though I guessed pretty early on who the killer was. I just wish there had been a little more focus on this side of the story and a little less on the “romance”.

Overall therefore, my feelings are decidedly mixed. I did enjoy it for the most part, the speed I read it certainly supports that, I’m just struggling to get past the issues I had with the romance. Don’t let my feelings put you off though, if you’re curious it’s worth a read.
Was this review helpful?
I love Tess Gerritsen's books but this was very different to her usual style. I enjoyed it and and am glad I read it but I prefer her usual genre. 
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for letting me read this book in exchange for a review. I have put this review on Amazon.
Was this review helpful?
Story goes thus, Ava had rented a property, to escape her past, and was haunted by the owner of the property, Capt. Brodie. His visits turned passionate. And she started to investigate the disturbing secret of the town.

My first book by this author, I expected more of spook and mystery. I was not fond of the romance, neither did I like the characters. The mystery was well done and descriptions were detailed and smooth, quite vivid.
Overall a good read.
Was this review helpful?
I don't really want to name-and-shame the authors who endorsed this novel...but did we read the same book? No, this is not the author "at her best" - I remember enjoying her medical thrillers a lot more than this. My three-star rating here might even be overgenerous.

I grew up on V.C. Andrews novels, so I'm not opposed to Gothic tales. This one just didn't work for me. Ava's "shame" was easy to guess early on.

The whole ghost thing was just...weird. I understood the concept, but the execution was dodgy. It tried to push the boundaries, but wasn't willing to fully commit.

(Oh, and if you were wondering about the cat on the cover - he doesn't die. Briefly goes missing, but returns unharmed.)
Was this review helpful?
Tess is an author I've loved for years.  However for me this title is quite a departure from her usual fair as this is a wonderful ghost story that gives the reader a tale that will have you believing in love and forgiveness, self contempt to redemption.  

As you'd expect from Tess, the principle characters come across wonderfully, rounded and believable with thier foibles as well as strengths which when backed with solid dialogue give you a cast that you care about.  The twists within give you a wonderful ride and when added to her top notch understanding of pace all round leave you wondering not only where the time went but wanting more.

All round I was more than enthused with this tale from Tess and at the end of the day, I think that this one will be a good introduction to new readers without them having to buy in to established characters in multi-title series but also gives them a great chance to try her and fall for the writing that has won her fans the world over.  Magic

Review goes live on 11, November
Was this review helpful?
If the walls could talk . . . they'd tell her to leave. Now.
When Ava arrives at Brodie’s Watch, she thinks she has found the perfect place to hide from her past. Something terrible happened, something she is deeply ashamed of, and all she wants is to forget.
But the old house on the hill both welcomes and repels her and Ava quickly begins to suspect she is not alone. Either that or she is losing her mind.
The house is full of secrets, but is the creeping sense of danger coming from within its walls, or from somewhere else entirely?

This is a standalone novel from this author so is different from the usual series of Rizzoli and Isles.
The plot and story line is so well written and engaging.
I have seen other reviews that were not favorable and I disagree with them. I found this very enjoyable read.
The characters were very well fleshed out and believable.
Some twists and turns with a bit of suspense and touch of the paranormal.
Really enjoyed.

Big Thank You to Netgalley, Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and the author Tess Gerristen for my ARC. I read a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A standalone from the author best known for her Rizzoli & Isles crime series. This is a welcome return to her romantic thriller roots with a spooky twist. Cookery writer Ava seeks refuge renting a haunted property in a small Maine seaside town called Brodie's Watch. The previous tenant left unexpectantly and as Ava digs deeper the twists and turns in this tale begin. Expect 50 shades of sauce and I'm don't mean the recipes ;)
Was this review helpful?
I found this book different to those that I've previously enjoyed by the author. I love the characters of the Rizzoli and Isles series so my expectations were that this book would be similar so was a little disappointed when it wasn't. I found it a little too far fetched at times. The whole 'ghost of a dead sailor' thing was not for me but the mystery surrounding the house and the lives of the characters was intriguing and kept me reading.
Was this review helpful?
I've always been a huge fan of Tess Gerritsen's fast paced medical thrillers and have even read some of her standalones. She's one of the reasons for my obsession over thriller novels! So you can probably imagine my anticipation when I picked to read her latest standalone paranormal thriller. I'd be lying if I say this was exactly what I looked for in the book, but it's definitely a different genre by an author who writes about serious stuff. I think The Shape of Night is a beach read that you can probably finish in a day or two. It's not very deep or dark but it is very entertaining. Go ahead, read the plot and my thoughts. Do let me know what you think! Happy reading :)

Ava Collette is a food writer from Bolton who wants to flee home to somewhere secluded so that she could finish her long time pending book. Something terrible has happened back at home, and she can never face her sister ever again. Whatever the tragedy was, it makes Ava crave for punishment and isolation. So when she reaches Maine and finds this secluded, large, old house on the cliff top for a rent she could just afford, she immediately takes it. The Brodie's Watch is named after Captain Jeremiah Brodie who was master of large ships that sailed in the 80s and the house was built by him so that he could stay close to the sea. Now years later, it still stands tall and gorgeous and Ava soon feels welcome into the very large, old house.

Soon she encounters weird things happening at night, especially when her huge attacker cat hunts mice and eats weirdly. She also starts to feel a presence that's watching her every move and knows her darkest secrets. As much as Ava is immersed and mesmerized with the house, she also feels the need to research more about the house and the people who lived in the house before her. As she starts digging into the past, she finds herself in the midst of several layers of history that's buried deep into the house and in doing so, she finds herself coming out of the guilt she's carrying with her for so long.

I finished this book in a single day as I've ever done with Tess Gerritsen's books and definitely enjoyed it. As a resident of Maine herself, she shows us the best locales of the town and some mouth watering food and wine. There's also the paranormal aspect to the book that is both new and exhilarating. Expect all the best features of a Tess Gerritsen if you're her fan - rocket pace, short chapters with twist at the end, meticulous descriptions and an Un-put-down-able storyline. This was an interesting, exciting read for me and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a light, beach read to binge over a day or two!
Was this review helpful?

ARC kindly received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I tried to keep going with this one, but I had to DNF around 23%. Not for me. Which is disappointing because I love the Rizzoli and Isles series, and a few of the other books by Tess Gerritsen that I have read.

The reason I chose to DNF this was because of the interactions with the ghost character. I find them unbelievable, and not something that interests me to read about. I'm sure this book will be fine for others as Gerristsens writing is great, it's just not my cup of tea.

Thanks to the publisher and NG for the chance to read.
Was this review helpful?
I’m a big Tess Gerritsen fan, having read most of her Rizzoli & Isles series, and her medical thrillers, so when this appeared on NetGalley I requested it without even reading the summary or any reviews. She has taken a risk here with a switch of genre, which I respect, but by mixing up paranormal, erotica and cosy mystery, then darkening it into a Girl on the train-ish psychological suspense, I fear she will leave most fan disappointed. She has written (bad) romantic suspense before, but this isn’t even really that, although it is advertised as such.

Ava, a single cookbook writer from Boston, runs away from the wreck of her life to a small coastal town with her massive Maine Coon cat, (named after a serial killer) and moves into a beautiful old mansion, called Brodie’s Rest, that the owner rents out cheap because it’s reputation has deterred any buyers. Her plan is to finish a book about old New England seafarer recipes, which is already a year overdue, but her out of control drinking and guilt over past events keep getting in the way. When the sinister ghostly figure of Captain Jeremiah Brodie starts to visit her at night, she willingly submits to the carnal punishments he tells her she deserves, but after discovering how many previous residents of the house have died there, must decide if she can risk being next...

Gerritsen is a great writer, and I did find myself drawn into the story, although rolled my eyes at the Mummy-porn nocturnal bondage scenes and daytime romance with the handsome town doctor. I’m not that into ghost stories but do feel she sustained the mystery of whether there truly was something supernatural going on, or whether it was all in Ava’s mind, to be well done.
The characters are rather two-dimensional and small-town stereotypes abound.

Unfortunately it’s written in horrible first person present (I wish NetGalley had a warning system for this) so that did prejudice me against it, and I find the all too frequent combination of self-pity and self-loathing in a heroine deeply tedious. Ava is weak, selfish and self-indulgent, so I really didn’t enjoy being inside her head. Her big secret was obvious from the start, and neither was the reveal of the mystery much of a surprise. On the plus side, nothing bad happens to the cat!

I think readers who like ghost stories and light erotica will enjoy this, whereas if you’re after her usual dark serial killer thrillers I would look elsewhere. My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this arc. The Shape of Night is available now.
Was this review helpful?
I just Love Tess Gerritsen's book so when "The Shape of Night" came out I had to find a quiet corner and open my kindle and sit and venture in her new book.......WoW I just Loved it. Her new book it did not disappoint! This book once I read a few pages it was very hard to put down......(Dinner can wait!!! for my hubby)

Ava Collette is the main character in The Shape of Night and she is punishing herself for a terrible tragedy. She flees from Boston and moves to a remote coastal called Peninsula of Maine. Ava rents an old place called Brodie's Watch. Ava needs something to do so she try's to finish her cookbook she started a few months ago on New England Cuisine. Ava feels at home in her new remote house until she starts to see strange shadows and hear strange noises coming from the house! She feels like she is being watched!

Who is watching her?

What are the strange sounds she can hear throughout the day and night! Its not the old plumbing within the house!!!

There's an old rumour that the sea captain named Brodie has haunted this house for decades!!!!! OMG Scary!!!!!

One night while Ava was sleeping peacefully she is woken up and finds herself face to face with an apparition that looks and feels too real to be true!!!

A strange series of accidental deaths that are nearby her, happen and they don't add up. Ava starts to investigate, only to finds out theres disturbing secrets people who live in this peaceful lovely town are hiding from her! and they need it to be kept hidden.

What are they hiding from her?

Is Ava safe? 

A great ghost story full of suspense that had me hooked from the beginning till the end. I loved it.

Big Thank You to Netgalley, Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and the author Tess Gerristen for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
EXCERPT: Even now I still dream about Brodie's Watch, and the nightmare is always the same. I am standing in the gravel driveway and the house looms before me like a ghost ship adrift in the fog. Around my feet mist curls and slithers and it coats my skin in icy rime. I hear waves rolling in from the sea and crashing against the cliffs, and overhead, seagulls scream a warning to stay far, far away. I know that Death waits behind that front door, yet I do not retreat because the house is calling to me. Perhaps it will always call to me, its siren song compelling me to once again climb the steps to the porch, where the swing creaks back and forth.

I open the door.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A woman trying to outrun her past is drawn to a quiet coastal town in Maine–and to a string of unsolved murders–in this haunting tale of romantic suspense from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.

Ava Collette is punishing herself for an unspeakable tragedy. So she flees Boston and rents an old home named Brodie’s Watch on a remote coastal peninsula of Maine, hoping to work on a cookbook inspired by New England cuisine that she’s been trying to finish for months. She immediately feels at peace in the isolated house–until she starts to hear strange noises.

Rumor has it that a sea captain named Brodie has haunted the house for decades. Then, one night, Ava is awakened to find herself face to face with an apparition who looks–and feels–all too real. Meanwhile, there’s been a series of accidental deaths nearby that don’t add up. And as Ava starts to check into the previous renter’s mysterious disappearance, she starts to realize that there’s a disturbing secret some in town are desperate to keep hidden.

Soon all of Ava’s waking hours are consumed by her investigation, and her nights are ignited by Captain Brodie’s ghostly visits. But even as she questions her own sanity, she knows she must uncover the truth before a killer strikes again.

MY THOUGHTS: 12% onto this 5 star read I wrote: "There is something in the cadence of Gerritsen's writing, the atmosphere she has created, that is reminiscent of Du Maurier's Rebecca. This is delicious. It sends tingles down my spine." After finishing The Shape of Night and mulling it over for a couple of days, I would not change one word of my comment.

This is a delicious book set in a house of secrets, in a town with secrets. But Ava has secrets too. And guilt. A terrible, crippling guilt that threatens to smother her and causes her to cut herself off from those she loves most.

Gerritsen introduces a paranormal aspect to her book, something she does not normally do, and something I am not normally attracted by. But this works, and works superbly. I almost fell in love with Captain Brodie myself. There are also several sex scenes in the text, not graphic, but tastefully done with more left to the imagination than not. They are not gratuitous, but a wonderful part of this story.

This is a real departure for Gerritsen, but one I enthusiastically applaud, and I would like to see more in this vein from her. Two comments, and neither a criticism.....each page should come with a bold reminder to 'KEEP BREATHING', because many times during this read I found myself holding my breath with anticipation and/or suspense. And the second....I wish she had included some of the lovely recipes.

One of my favorite passages from The Shape of Night: Brodie's Watch was where I found inspiration, and it's true. Here is where I tested and perfected my recipes, where I learned there is no finer condiment than the scent of sea air. It's where I learned that wine does not cure grief, and when you dine with guilt, even the most tenderly prepared meal is tasteless.

Five brightly shining stars from me :)

THE AUTHOR: Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.

While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, Bantam Press vis Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page, or the about page on

This book review is also published on Twitter, Amazon and my webpage
Was this review helpful?
Fabulous page turner that I couldn't put down. Tess Gerritsen does it again. So many twists and turns, so much depth. I really felt I was in Tucker Cove and could imagine everything really well. So haunting but so gripping I just binge read the whole book. Tess you never fail to surpass my expectations and keep writing the most amazing books I've ever read, so much passion and suspense it makes you shudder and tingle when engrossed in this fabulous novel.
Was this review helpful?
Read all of Tess Gerritsen books, so didn't know really what to expect from this book
Was looking forward some different style of writing, which it was
I don't think the book was badly written, 
but it kept reminding me of the old black and white film The ghost and Mrs Muir
just with different twists to it.

Thank you netgalley, Tess Gerritsen and Random House
Was this review helpful?