The Surgeon by T. Gerritsen

TGerritsen - The Surgeon Tess Gerritsen’s The Surgeon is the first book in the Rizzolli and Isles series.  I had been hearing a lot about it, what with the TV show starting on TNT, so I decided to give the series a try.  As I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for a series and I love a good mystery book, so I knew the Rizzolli and Isles series would be right in my wheelhouse.  I was right too because The Surgeon grabbed hold of me from the very first page and didn’t let go until the very last.

In her most masterful novel of medical suspense, New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen creates a villain of unforgettable evil-and the one woman who can catch him before he kills again.He slips into their homes at night and walks silently into bedrooms where women lie sleeping, unaware of the horrors they soon will endure. The precision of the killer’s methods suggests he is a deranged man of medicine, propelling the Boston newspapers and the frightened public to name him “The Surgeon.”

The cops’ only clue rests with another surgeon, the victim of a nearly identical crime. Two years ago, Dr. Catherine Cordell fought back and killed her attacker before he could complete his assault. Now she hides her fears of intimacy behind a cool and elegant exterior and well-earned reputation as a top trauma surgeon.

Cordell’s careful façade is about to crack as this new killer re-creates, with chilling accuracy, the details of Cordell’s own ordeal. With every new murder he seems to be taunting her, cutting ever closer, from her hospital to her home. Her only comfort comes from Thomas Moore, the detective assigned to the case. But even Moore cannot protect Cordell from a brilliant hunter who somehow understands-and savors-the secret fears of every woman he kills.

As I previously stated, The Surgeon is supposed to be the very first book in the Rizzolli and Isles series, but I’m not entirely sure why.  Jane Rizzolli is definitely a large character in the book, but for the most part it felt like we were following the story of Detective Thomas Moore and Dr. Catherine Cordell and to top it off, Isles is not even in the book at all.  So if you’re expecting a book with both characters you’ll be disappointed.  However, I’d be shocked if you’ll even care by the time you’re done reading The Surgeon – it’s that good.

The prologue of the book is written in the killer’s (the surgeon) voice, which made it creepy and fascinating to start off with his point of view. I also found it a great start because once I read his twisted thoughts I was definitely intrigued.  Gerritsen is also wise to continue doing this throughout the book; giving us just enough information into the killer’s mind, without overdoing it.  I love when authors do this, because it often adds to the level of creepiness and suspense, as it does in The Surgeon.

Other than the killer, the first person we meet is Detective Thomas Moore, who is also referred to as Saint Thomas, because he always plays by the rules.  I immediately liked his character and despite being confused as to why I was reading from his point of view instead of Rizzoli or Isles, I just went with it.    Moore is a good cop and a genuinely good guy, who has been through a lot.  The reader quickly finds out he lost his wife about 3 years ago and is still struggling to cope with it.  He is also the only one in the Homicide unit who does not give Rizzoli a hard time, which makes him easy to like and respect.

Jane Rizzoli, as mentioned, is the only woman in the Homicide unit and has to deal with a lot because of it.  The Surgeon is the first case where she’s had the lead and she’s determined to prove herself to everyone by working hard and solving it, preferably on her own.  The only cop in her unit that she learns to trust and tolerate is Moore, because he’s the only one who will acknowledge what a great cop she really is.  I have to admit there is a small part of me that doesn’t like Rizzoli.  I’m not a big fan of “in your face”, tough women.  I feel like you don’t need to be a “witch” in order to make yourself heard.  However, after looking at the way some of the detectives in her unit treat her, I got a better understanding.  I also really enjoyed her relationship with Moore, because the ups and downs of it helped to reveal some of her vulnerability.  I think that Gerritsen should continue to let more of that leek out as the series goes on.  I feel like it’ll help make Rizzoli a more likeable character.

The other major player in this book is Dr. Catherine Cordell.  She was the last and final victim of a serial killer in Savannah, GA.  She was the last because she managed to shoot and kill him before he cut out her uterus and slashed her through, like he did his other victims.  However, The Surgeon appears to be a copycat of that very serial killer and is killing in the city of Boston, where she now lives.  Of all the characters in the book I enjoyed reading from Catherine’s point of view the most.  As the story progresses and they realize that <spoiler> the surgeon is taunting her </spoiler>, you can’t help but feel your heart break for her.  She’s already been through so much and has come so far, only to have to deal with it all over again.  I also really enjoyed her relationship with Moore.  It was a slow burn and one that lead to healing on both sides.

I found The Surgeon to be fast paced, with compelling characters.  There wasn’t a moment that I was bored and it definitely kept me guessing until the very end.  There’s a part of me that loves being able to figure out “who did it” in a mystery, but there’s an even bigger part that loves a book that is not obvious.  Nothing is worse than figuring out what’s going on half way through and then trudging your way through the rest of the book.  LOL  This was definitely not the case with Gerritsen’s The Surgeon.  So for all you mystery lovers out there, this is a definite must read.  I look forward to continuing the series and finding out exactly when Isles comes into the picture.

Read Order:
The Surgeon
The Apprentice
The Sinner
Body Double
The Mephisto Club
Keeping the Dead (aka The Keepsake)
Ice Cold (aka The Killing Place)
The Silent Girl

Also Reviewed by: A Fantastical Librarian, Notes of Life, Dot Scribbles and Doubleshot Reviews

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  1. I don’t blame you! I was just curious when Isles comes into the picture. I thought it strange she wasn’t in the first book. LOL

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