The Surgeon – Tess Gerritsen

I am not going to lie. I love the Rizzoli and Isles TV series. It is AMAZING. The new season especially. So, I read on the credits that it is based on the novels by Tess Gerritsen. This straight a way piqued my interest as I tend to find that books are better than the TV series/Film. So, I download the book on my Kindle. And I am confused by the book. Don’t get me wrong. It is a good book. It has great twists, good dialogue and the story keeps you involved till the very end. However, it is very different to the series. Now I know the shows take artistic licence with characters, plots, friendships but the fact that Dr. Maura Isles is not in this first book slightly threw me. When this book is classed as the first in the Rizzoli and Isles series, you expect the second half of that title to appear. This book did have a feel that Gerritsen didn’t know who would be her main character later on.


We have the opening scene as a chilling and masterful way of introducing us to the anonymous killer and allows us to witness the cold intellect of the man. We are then introduced to Detective Thomas Moore, whom many within the precinct have dubbed as St. Thomas due to his inability to seemingly criticise or offend any of his colleagues. Jane Rizzoli is also introduced as a short, frog faced, fierce woman, new to the world of homicide and the only woman to have done so in Boston PD.

We find that there are similarities in the murder being investigated to an old one, where a female doctor managed to escape from her captor. However, it can’t be that man as he was killed by the female doctor (Catherine Cordell). During the investigation, a love triangle emerges between Rizzoli, Moore and Cordell. Of course, Moore and Cordell fall for each other and the loveless Rizzoli is stung by Moore and realises she is losing her only alley within  the Boston Homicide Department, especially when she reminds Moore that his current infatuation is not only part of the investigation but could actually be a potential suspect within the case. Needless to say, Rizzoli ends up working the case on her own, apart from the Boston PD and finds the missing lead they needed.

Cordell is kidnapped by the killer, and Moore becomes useless to the investigation through his love for her. Rizzoli goes on her own to find Cordell on a hunch no one else believes her on. Of course she is correct and ends up being captured by the kidnapper and psychotic serial killer. The ending is scary, gross and breathtaking.


As I said, there is no Maura Isles in this book and Gerritsen does seem to be struggling on who to cast as her leading detective, Moore or Rizzoli. Until the later stages of the book, Rizzoli takes a very back stage role, being cast as the supporting role. Towards the end, she is the main character, being daring, courageous, stupid and ending up in danger. Almost a stereotypical heroine. It is perhaps this why I don’t particularly like the book as a Rizzoli and Isles novel. I went into this book knowing that Rizzoli becomes the main detective and knowing that somewhere down the line, Isles would appear and they would solve the mysteries together. Without this prior knowledge, I’m sure I wouldn’t even have noticed the subtle shift in Rizzoli’s dominance within the book or the lack of Maura Isles. However, this doesn’t take away from Gerritsen’s writing. Like I said, without prior knowledge, this is as good as a murder/serial killer book. The crimes are inventive and descriptive enough to allow your imagination to run with it and make it worse for the individual reader than Gerritsen ever could on mass (a little like Hitchcock films). Unfortunately for Gerritsen (though I’m sure she doesn’t care about my little blog opinion), this book just didn’t sit well with me and I give it 6/10. (It should be noted that I think the next one in the series, ‘The Apprentice’ is miles better and a contributing factor in my low score, I need to be able to have room to improve my score for that one!)

Still well worth a read though, if only to introduce you to Rizzoli and as it is very much a prequel to ‘The Apprentice’.


Filed under Book Review, Crime, Rizzoli and Isles

2 responses to “The Surgeon – Tess Gerritsen

  1. Pingback: Veronica Mars… THE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!! | Book Ends

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