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Smart Crime Book Reviews: Tess Gerritsen

Tess Gerritsen's novels bring a touch of reality to the Smart Crime genre, this is because she is an MD (albeit now retired). Tess Gerritsen has her own website.


Body Double
The Apprentice
The Surgeon
The Silent Girl

Body Double by Tess GerritsenBook Cover of Body Double by Tess Gerritsen

Read by Tracy in October 2011

Tracy recommends as a great crime thriller as the characters are now growing into their relationships.

In Body Double Dr Maura Isles heads to Paris for a conference where she manages to escape for a short burst of sightseeing. On her return she is faced with a housefull of police who believe she is dead. When she is shown the body she thinks she is looking in a mirror and that is where the interest begins. Rizzoli and Frost are on the hunt for an identity of the mysterious woman and we are drawn into the past of Dr Isles, a past she didn't even know about as she was adopted and had been unable to trace her birth mother or uncover much about her past. Father Brophy is still part of Dr Isles life and seems to have a knack of being there just when she needs it, their relationship is still coated in sexual tension, but they have not progressed to the physical. Now that Warren Hoyt is no longer a threat after being shot (he is a qudriplegic), Rizzoli finds that she continues to be his main fantasy which she is advised of at each meeting with Dr O'Donnell she is forced to have as the investigation continues. Rizzoli is now heavily pregnant and along with Agent Dean they are attempting to make their career orientated marriage work. Along comes Detective Ballard who knew the doppelganger Dr Isles and they are instantly on the trail of the suspected murderer, but as usual it is the wrong trail and as each clue is investigated another one is uncovered. The storyline is full of incest, secrets and whether nurture versus nature will be the outcome.

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The Apprentice by Tess GerritsenBook Cover of The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen

Read by Tracy in October 2011

Tracy recommends as a great crime thriller

In The Apprentice, the Surgeon is safely locked up in prison, however Jane Rizzoli is still suffering the psychological legacy that he left behind and it constantly looking over her shoulder. Detective Korsak calls Rizzoli into a murder scene as he uncovers some unexpected parallels to the Surgeon's previous murders and although everyone knows the Surgeon is safely behind bars, it would appear there is a copycat (who is nicknamed The Dominator) now on the streets of Boston and the surrounding suburbs. Soon the team expands with the appearance of FBI Agent Gabriel Dean who is at odds and unable to provide Rizzoli with a reason for his interest in the case. Unbelievably Warren Hoyt (the Surgeon) manages to escape prison and an increase in the number of murders make it apparent that he has a new partner who can help him continue his fantasies. Eventually Agent Dean is able to tell Rizzoli why he is on the case and this leads to an some inevitable fireworks and even some surprising romance. However, now that Dr Maura Isles is a permanent member of the ME's office we also learn small snippets of her life and the growing friendship between Rizzoli and Isles that allows them to rely on each other. In the background is also Korsak who after a near death experience wants to take his life back and include Rizzoli in it. Rizzoli finds herself to be at the forefront of the Surgeon's desires in his attempt to turn her into a victim as he had done with his previous murder victims. There is also the re-appearance of Dr O'Donnell who as usual believes the innocence of murderers due to a childhood accident which has changed their brain activity. Again Gerritson brings some of the scenes to life, particularly the ones relating to the autopsy room and the details of the murder.

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The Surgeon by Tess GerritsenBook Cover of The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

Read by Tracy in September 2011

Tracy recommends as a great thriller

I have recently read and reviewed The Silent Girl and decided to go back to the start of the Rizzoli-Isle series.

This book is based in Boston and starts with an autopsy where you are introduced to Detectives Moore and Rizzoli who have been assigned to the team investigating the horrific murder of Elena Ortiz. Rizzoli is desparate to fit in with the Homicide team and as the only woman is struggling to be accepted and when she finds the link between Cordell and the new murder (which become murders) you feel like she may have cemented her place amongst them. As the case unfolds, we are introduced to the main character - Dr Catherine Cordell who was the only remaining survivor of a serial killer in Savannah some years previously but as she killed the perpetrator of those crimes, the team think they have a copycat killer and are trying to find the link between the new murder and Dr Cordell. There are many twists and turns and although you also have access to the murderers thoughts during the book this makes an interesting twist to the story and doesn't impede on the investigation work. As the story progresses you realise that Rizzoli and Moore have a great working partnership which is tested to the utmost when Rizzoli murders a suspect and Moore breaks the taboo of mixing his professional and personal life. However, the case takes precedence and with them both working on separate leads with Moore going back to the old cases in Atlanta and Savannah, Rizzoli takes some of the information and is able to work out the link between the killer and the ATM cash withdrawals.

Gerritson has a great feel for setting the scene, when she was describing Cordell making dinner my mouth was watering. Gerritson has a medical background and is therefore able to describe everything in detail which is sometimes missing from crime novels, although I did start to get annoyed with the use of the word exsanguinate. This book was written in 2001 and does appear a bit dated in relation to technology with the use of floppy disks, AOL and 3mb pictures. It is amazing how quickly things have moved on from there. The part that lacks pizzazz was the interactions between Peter Falco and Moore there were no fireworks over who wanted Dr Cordell's attentions more.

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The Silent Girl by Tess GerritsenBook cover of The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen

Read by Tracy August 2011

Tracy recommends as an interesting and absorbing thriller

This is my first Tess Gerritsen book and I honestly didnít realise that A Rizzoli & Isles were a series. The book is set in Bostonís Chinatown and I was drawn in Gerritsenís descriptions of the place, never having been there I can only imagine the intrigue and secrecy surrounding the area. This is a detection/thriller book with Jane Rizzoli (detective) starts to investigate the murder of a mysteries red haired woman murdered with the assistance of Dr Maura Isles (medical examiner). They soon find out that this murder is connected to a massacre that happened 19 years earlier. The book is partially narrated by an enigmatic Chinese woman which adds an additional persective and the pace of the book was interesting and I thought believable and I was guessing through the different twists and turns emphasised by the Chinese angle.

I am keen to read some of Tessís other books.

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