I was putting together a list of mystery books to read, specifically looking for mystery authors that were not white men – those are kind of easy to find. One of the authors that came up in various lists to read was Tess Gerritsen, best known for her book series Rizzoli and Isles. If you have happened to seen a bit or two or even all the episodes of the TV show Rizzoli and Isles, the books are nothing like the show.
The first book in Gerritsen’s popular series is The Surgeon. There are a few caveats with this. First the character Maura Isles never appears in the first book of the Rizzoli and Isles series. Second, as Gerritsen explained in an interview, Rizzoli was supposed to be a minor character in the first book. An odd start for a very successful book franchise.
The Surgeon begins from the point of view of the killer, “Today they will find her body.” The story jumps ahead one year and there is a new murder, but now we are getting the cops point of view especially that of Detectives Thomas Moore and Jane Rizzoli. Moore looks at Rizzoli in the autopsy room:
She was the only woman in the homicide unit, and already there had been problems between her and another detective, charges of sexual harassment, countercharges of unrelenting bitchiness. Moore was not sure he liked Rizzoli, or she him. So far they had kept their interactions strictly business, and he thought she preferred it that way.
One of the issues I have with mystery/crime novels is the silliness that occurs when a character goes off on their own and puts themselves in danger. There is this issue as Rizzoli heads off alone to find to track down the serial killer but other than the rather bad use of this horrible plot device, I found Gerrisen’s The Surgeon well done.