The Apprentice by Tess Gerritson

I definitely enjoyed the Tess Gerritson’s first novel, The Surgeon, in the Rizzoli and Isles book series, so I was looking forward to the second installment, The Apprentice. In the latter book, Jane Rizzoli becomes the main character while Maura Isles is introduced only as a significant minor character. So even in the book two, the Rizzoli and Isles series really isn’t about Rizzoli and Isles yet.

Another big misconception that I had from occasional glimpses of the TV show of the same name was that the cop and the pathologist were fast friends; at best they could be considered work acquaintances. Yes, yes, I am aware that TV shows are not books and books are not TV shows, but I thought it was a deviation I should point out.

Before delving into The Apprentice, one should have read The Surgeon prior to it; not because the reader would be lost, but only because of spoilers regarding The Surgeon that are sprinkled liberally throughout The Apprentice. I will try to keep the spoilers of The Surgeon at a minimum in this review of The Apprentice.

Rizzoli finds herself overwhelmed at work; the murders are literally piling up. Naturally, the Newton Police contact Rizzoli to have her come out to see another murder outside her jurisdiction. It turns out Rizzoli is definitely interested as this murder and missing person case is almost an exact copy of the work by the Surgeon who happens to be behind bars. Rizzoli is now off to find the killer as she battles with her peers in Boston, new cops in Newton, and an FBI agent who may or may not be freelancing. And the hunt begins.

The Apprentice like its predecessor is a fun and entertaining read. There is nothing wrong with that. And, by the way, the books are much better than the TV show — much, much better.


The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

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.