Wednesday, January 1, 2014

First Things First: The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

Happy New Year and welcome to our new feature "First Things First."  Each month I'll be reviewing the first book or few books in a long-standing series. First up, "The Surgeon," book one in Tess Gerritsen's "Rizzoli & Isles" series.  The books are also the basis of TNT's popular drama or the same name.

"In Boston, there's a killer on the loose. A killer who targets lone women, who breaks into their apartments and performs terrifying ritualistic acts of torture on them before finishing them off. His surgical skills lead police to suspect he is a physician - a physician who, instead of saving lives, takes them.

But as homicide detective Thomas Moore and his partner Jane Rizzoli begin their investigation, they make a startling discovery. Closely linked to these killings is Catherine Cordell, a beautiful medic with a mysterious past. Two years ago she was subjected to a horrifying rape and attempted murder but she shot her attacker dead. Now she is being targeted by the new killer who seems to know all about her past, her work, and where she lives.

The man she believes she killed seems to be stalking her once again, and this time he knows exactly where to find her..."

It's important to note that while this book is considered a "Rizzoli & Isles," novel medical examiner Maura Isles does not appear in "The Surgeon," at all.  She makes her first appearance in the second novel in the series "The Apprentice."

This book was different than anything I had ever read before. I normally choose a light cozy mystery.  However, I am so glad I decided to broaden my reading horizons with a darker novel such as "The Surgeon." 

The novel is told from varying points of view including the killer's, the killer's main target Catherine, Jane's partner Thomas, and of course Jane Rizzoli herself.  This provides a unique and detailed look at all angles of the crime and the criminal investigation process.  

The descriptions of the crime scene and the killer's point of view are graphic and disturbing but not in a gratuitous manner. It just added fuel page turning fire that this creeper must be arrested and arrested fast.

While the book was written in 2005 and some of the technology used in criminal investigation may be outdated, it was really interesting and fascinating to read the descriptions of what goes on in a criminal investigation and how the technology works.

Jane's determination to be seen as a great cop rather than a just a great female cop makes her seem not assertive and confident but abrasive at times.  However, it's something her character acknowledges and struggles with.  I had to laugh though at the one passage describing her feelings toward babies because her description of the awkwardness she felt around them was so like my own feelings that I laughed out loud.  I suspect her character and personality grows in subsequent installments as she already shows signs of becoming warmer in "The Apprentice."  

Jane's relentless pursuit of the killer will keep you up all night, not just in fear, but because you simply can't put this book down.  The cliche is definitely true here.  I carried this one around in purse so I could continue reading it whenever I had a free moment.

If you haven't already read "The Surgeon," by Tess Gerritsen, I highly recommend that you do.  I also recommend the second novel in the series, "The Apprentice."  I haven't read the seven subsequent novels in the series yet but I'm looking forward to them.  If you've read them, I'd love to read your non-spoilery comments!  Please share.

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