I KNOW A SECRET

By Tess Gerritsen

Ballantine Books, 2017

316 pages, $28

ISBN 978-0-345-54388-2

Best-selling Camden author Tess Gerritsen has done it again, with another excellent mystery/thriller featuring her popular crime-fighting duo of Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles. But this time, Rizzoli and Isles may not be smart enough to nab a killer.

This is the 12th book in Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles mystery series, which has also spun off into a long-running television crime drama on TNT, starring Angie Harmon (Rizzoli) and Sasha Alexander (Isles). Gerritsen, however, has not lost her touch for tightly-woven, complex plots and suspense, along with graphic scientific descriptions of gruesome crime scenes and gory autopsies.

Rizzoli is a hard-boiled, profane Boston homicide detective, while Isles is a brilliant, introspective and troubled medical examiner known by colleagues as the Queen of the Dead. They are not prepared for a string of grisly mutilation murders that seem to have just one link: The crimes are staged in horrifying depictions of the deaths of martyred Catholic saints.

Complicating the investigation is the macabre interference of Isles’ mother, an imprisoned serial killer dying of cancer who torments Maura with hints of inside information about the killings.

Determined police work (Gerritsen is very good with police detective procedures) slowly reveals other clues, leading to the identification of the next possible intended victim. Maybe the cops have caught a break and can save a life, but that person seems unconcerned by their warnings, even knowingly risking another life.

Add a sensational criminal case from 20 years ago, a recently released convict with a simmering grudge, an obsessive and well-armed father, and the latest “indie” horror movie by Crazy Ruby Films, and Rizzoli and Isles are stunned by the possibility that maybe there is more than one killer out there.

Get ready for a creepy surprise ending.

THE BELFAST AND MOOSEHEAD LAKE RAILROAD

By Joey Kelley

North Country Press, 2017

97 pages, $14.95

ISBN 978-1-943424-18-4

Of trains, British author G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) once wrote: “The only way of catching a train I have discovered is to miss the train before.” Well, if Chesterton were trying to get from Belfast to Moosehead Lake on the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad, he’d be out of luck. Despite its charming name, the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad’s tracks never got to Moosehead Lake.

Maine has a fascinating history of local railroads, and railroad historian Joey Kelley now offers the 150-year history of the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad, from its founding in 1867 to today. This slim volume tells the intricate story of “the only railroad in the state of Maine still operating under the name it was originally chartered under.”

With clear narrative and supplemented by more than 100 black and white period photographs and illustrations, Kelley tells how the railroad was intended to connect the port of Belfast with Moosehead Lake and its interior, to carry passengers and freight like timber, poultry, milk and crops, but it faced fierce competition from the more influential Maine Central Railroad.

Competition and economic adjustments meant the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad actually runs on just 33 miles of track — all in Waldo County — in the days when local railroads were often owned by the towns they served. Kelley tells how the railroad was financed, and how locomotive-mounted snowplows and gangs of shoveling workmen kept the tracks clear in winter. He also tells of colorful characters like Gertrude Higgins, the only female station agent (Thorndike), and how tourist excursion trains now keep the railroad running.

Learn about the unusual “Rail Bike,” the difference between steam locomotives and diesel-electric engines, and about the silly but exciting “Waldo Station Gang” and its train robberies.

Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.