The Shape of the Night by Tess Gerritsen #review

The Shape of the Night book cover

Title: The Shape of the Night
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Publisher: Bantam Press


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 Review]

The Shape of the Night wasn’t at all what I was expecting from a new Tess Gerritsen novel – like many other readers I’m sure, I was expecting more of a forensic thriller/ mystery, in the same vein as her Rizzoli and Isles series, but this is very different (which I’d know if I’d read the synopsis again before starting it). It’s a paranormal mystery with gothic elements, and though I am a fan of Gothic novels, I don’t tend to reach for paranormal novels much – which is why this was a nice change.

The Shape of the Night is a very readable novel which took me no time to get through. Main character Ava is likable and has a dark past which is hinted at throughout the novel, leading the reader to wonder what exactly happened in her ‘previous life’ that she’s running away from. There’s an interesting array of characters in the small coastal town Ava has moved to, and the rustic setting is painted vividly – I could imagine being there, swept up in the windy seaside land.

The storyline’s paranormal elements are woven into this novel well, creating a mysterious and tense atmosphere at times. There’s also a lot of romance/ sex scenes in this novel, so if that’s not your thing then you may not enjoy. It definitely had elements of a bodice-ripper and some parts were a little cheesy – though never too cheesy, just on the edge. It makes for entertaining reading though!

I am a big fan of Tess Geritsen’s writing and have been for years, and although this is very different to the work she’s most known for, it’s still a really enjoyable, well-written read that offers something a little different.

[Rating: 3.5/5]

Many thanks to the publisher, Bantam Press, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.



  1. I have read this book too and it wasn’t what i was expecting either. I think i would prefer her other books if they are more of a thriller type genre.
    Great review.

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