Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

A former internist, Tess Gerritsen, left the practice of medicine to be able to devote more time to writing and her family. She is most widely known for her medical thrillers, much along the same vein as Robin Cook. The Surgeon is billed as the first in the series of Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles books. She has just released the ninth in the series and has even spawned a television show on TNT featuring her two protagonists.

The Surgeon introduces us to Jane Rizzoli, a Boston policewoman, who is struggling to become accepted by the men in her division. This is a predicament that leaves her bitter and desperate to do anything to gain credibility. Maura Isles, a forensic examiner, never does appear in this book. However, having watched the second season of the TNT show, I gather she will be in future books, the antithesis of Rizzoli with whom she forms a bond and friendship.

Gerritsen has written a good solid story that could be a real page turner. I read this book at night over the course of a month on my Kindle app on my iPhone so, although it could be a quick read, it was more prolonged for me. A serial killer is on the loose in Boston. His prey are women who are vulnerable and who have suffered rape or an abusive act. He stealthily enters their homes at night, tortures them and surgically removes that which makes them a woman. For a reason that cannot be divulged in a review/recap of the novel, he is honing in on Dr. Catherine Cordell, a transplanted Atlanta doctor. Gerritsen does an excellent job of building suspense and tension as she relates how the killer stalks Cordell. It is up to Rizzoli, who puts her job on the line, and her immediate superior, Detective Thomas More, dubbed Saint Thomas, to intercede before the surgeon accomplishes his goal.

Gerritsen employs an interesting and effective writing technique as she prefaces chapters with the musings of The Surgeon. The reader is able to get into his mind, although for a long time we didn't know who he was. His thoughts are often related to classical myths and give very subtle clues as to his behaviour. This was a good read that instills enough interest in the characters to pick up additional books in the series. I will be anxious to read the next and, hopefully and finally, meet Maura Isles.

No comments: