Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

First Line: Today they will find her body.

Boston PD is racing to find a serial killer the newspapers have dubbed "The Surgeon" due to the precise way he works on his victims. During the course of their investigation, Detectives Thomas Moore and Jane Rizzoli find a victim of a nearly identical crime and hope that she can help them.

Two years ago Dr. Catherine Cordell fought back and survived her attacker's assault, but now The Surgeon is accurately recreating what she endured with each of his new victims. This monster is taunting her, and it's clear that Moore and Rizzoli have to move fast before Cordell is the next victim.

I've been putting off reading this series due to the Rizzoli & Isles television series, but it wasn't necessary. Like Longmire, the producers use the authors' works as springboards to new storylines, so both books and television series can be enjoyed.

I think the detail that threw me the most was the absence of Dr. Maura Isles, who isn't introduced until the next entry, The Apprentice. I had already been informed of the differences between literary Rizzoli and her TV counterpart-- and that's enough comparisons between the two mediums!

I have to admit that the serial killer part of The Surgeon was a tad old hat, but this was written in 2001 when he would've been much fresher. Watching the investigation unfold was fascinating; it took a lot of basic police work, dotting the i's and crossing the t's. Going back over the same ground until some small detail stood out and begged to be followed up on. 

Due to Gerritsen's medical background, readers get an excellent feel for the protocol in hospitals and the split-second decisions that must be made in the emergency room. But the overarching theme of The Surgeon is women competing in what has always been considered a "man's world." Jane Rizzoli and Catherine Cordell both have cores of steel; they have to because of their occupations. Too many times women have been treated as victims, as a sex not worthy of being heard, only of being ignored, protected as something "lesser," or... of being disposed of. Tess Gerritsen makes readers feel every second, every ounce, of this injustice. It's this passion of hers, along with her fast-paced story, her fascinating characters, and her eye for detail that will keep me reading her books.   

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
eISBN: 9780345449436
Ballantine Books © 2016
Originally published 2001.
eBook, 368 pages

Police Procedural, #1 Rizzoli & Isles
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Amazon. 



  1. This is the book that stopped me from reading any other books by Tess Gerritsen. I could not stand the brutalization of the main character and the chapters in between her story and in the mind of the psychopath. Way too much brutality for me. I wouldn't take out the garbage for three nights, and left the lights on.

    I'm amazed that the violence didn't bother you.

    1. Perhaps it's because I have had to deal with both a rapist and a stalker in my life that my perceptions are slightly different. If this was just a "slasher" book, I would've stopped reading, but Jane and Catherine are strong women, and I liked seeing how they dealt with what was happening.

  2. I read both books as part of a reading challenge back in 2007. I thought The Apprentice was the better of the two, but perhaps that was to be expected because I actually read that one first and it spoiled The Surgeon a bit for me.

    1. I can certainly see that happening; things like this had a large part in my former insistence on reading series books in order. (I've since lightened up a bit on that....)

  3. No doubt, Cathy, Gerritsen's medical background is an important part of this series. I admit, it's not one of my 'go-to' series, but I do like the relationship between Rizzoli and Isles, and I like the way both characters have developed. I hope you'll enjoy the series as you go along.


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!