* Prices may differ from that shown
I still remember reading the blurb on the back of the book and thinking that it sounded interesting but I wasn't too sure whether to buy it as I had so many unread books collecting dust on my bookshelves. However, I am so glad that I made the purchase as this book had me hooked from the start. I vividly remember reading it in bed and actually feeling scared. This book provoked many emotions other than fear, like intensity, excitement and anger, that I had only ever felt when watching television or a film. The writing was excellent and allowed me to visualise exactly what was happening and drew me into the story with every page turn. It was one of those books that when you had finished a chapter you had to read on, as there was no way I could close the book and not knowing what had happened after the cliffhanger. What impressed me the most was the detail of the postmortems and the medical accuracy. It's little details that made the book more believable and allowed me to feel like part of the drama.
I would highly recommend this book to fans of thrillers and crime novels.
Why do so many people (including women) find the genre of thrillers and forensic medical thrillers in particular so readable with the goriest and bloodiest of books being the most sought after? I haven't got the answer and since I am guilty as charged then the only thing I can say is that somewhere inside us is a lure of the darkness inside us that we prefer to let out by reading such books. Certainly there must be a good reason since I've just read one of the most shockingly explicit book by Tess Gerritsen and it got me glued to its pages well into a (disturbed) night.
The acclaim for this book also adds the fact that it's a deeply disturbing and dark thriller with plenty of excitement, ultra-gory, shocking, efficient scary and one more important fact, it rages against the fact that women suffer such crimes but are strong enough to survive them and it's that last plaudit I held onto.
There's a killer on the loose in Boston- a viscous killer who preys on lonely and traumatized women, rendering them to a bloody prop in his nightmare scenarios. Even hardened detectives such as Thomas Moore and his partner Jane Rizzoli cannot recall ever coming across such vile horrors before and for some of the team it's enough to send them flying for the nearest toilet. Surely only a madman could be so inhuman as to torture a naked woman and remove her uterus while she is still alive, finally applying the killing stroke by a slash across the throat that almost decapitates the victim?
As the stunned team starts their investigation a beautiful local medic becomes involved and for Dr Catherine Cordell it's a recurrence of a terrible nightmare when two years previously she barely escaped with her life from a killer who operated in exactly the same way but she stopped by shooting him dead. Has a copycat killer followed her from Savannah to Boston and if so, how could he know all the details that the police routinely keep back in any investigation? With two women already butchered and more to follow unless they can crack the crime, this is one investigation that will push Moore And Rizzoli to hell and back.
***Setting the crime-scene. ***
Tess Gerritsen is one of my favourite female thriller writers and knows what she writes about from her medical background. This is one of her earlier books and is fourth in a series with Detective Rizzoli, the female cop that has to fight to stay on the ball in a man's world. The book was published in 2001 and for some reason is one I missed. The author writes of what she knows, whether it's from a crime scene or a doctor struggling in surgery to save a person's life, elbows deep inside a chest or stomach cavity, a nurse assisting by mopping up the blood.
There is also a lot of suppressed anger in this book, which I consider is possibly a reaction to the number of women who gets passed over as lightweights in a male dominated world. In this book her victims suffer from rape over long periods of time and are too scared to report it, locking them inside their lives and even their houses where they become victims of murder. The descriptions are explicit and turned my stomach at times as well as angering me, but this does happen and being angry is sometimes not enough. By taking the victim's uterus while she is still alive, the killer is taking away a woman's femininity as well as her life. It's the ultimate obscenity and it made me wonder if I should be reading it.
What Gerritsen does is to take a plot, set a background for her killer, giving him pathology, a voice in the novel and a large part of the story. While we get to know the team in charge of catching the killer, we also follow some of what goes on in the killer's head, so we are taking some part in the discoveries as they happen. It's a rare quality that few writers do so well as Gerritsen and it works because we start to really care about nailing this abominable apology for a man (we learn early on it's a male unsub). If I have one little niggle, it's just that this book takes on a theme of such magnitude by having two sets of killings with a gap in between that the details sometimes get a bit muddled. However, the denouement is worth the page flicking!
I almost feel like listing them to keep track of who belongs to what section and which crime, but as long as you keep paying attention the players soon become as close to you as your family. Naturally there are people you don't want to know, although the killer just happens to be educated and with some knowledge of sacrifice his frequent mentions of Greek Mythology become relevant. It doesn't detract from his abominable crimes but gives some character.
Amongst the police force we have Detective Moore, who is a quietly spoken gentleman who makes all the other cops look like barbarians. Naturally the women fall for him and the reader sees Rizzoli as a woman who stops trying to be one of the lads so Moore will see her as a woman. It adds interest and shows up the crew of other detectives who aren't quite as insensitive as they first appear. There's a lot more to find out about the characters that have been in earlier books and will appear in later books, but this can be read as a standalone without any problems.
Sadly it's the victims that take the awards here for the characters. Catherine Cordell has to be one of the strongest women I've come across next to Agent Starling in 'Silence of the Lambs.' She has already suffered rape by being drugged but fought back and shot her assailant. Moving to a new town and a new job as a trauma surgeon cannot be easy, but when another woman is attacked and left alive as a 'present' to her, you can see the fear this character has to live with. The message is,' you CAN survive' but at what cost?
I took this book to heart for several reasons. Firstly I chose this because I needed something to read while away, both traveling and at nighttime. It has to be a strong story to hold my interest and this fit the bill. Secondly I am presently toying with my own writing, which I feel has gone stale and needed a book I could care about. This really did keep me awake and made me think along the lines of why do women read such books when we fear becoming targets? Thirdly (and by chance) I caught a bad cold and needed a diversion.
I certainly got all my requirements and more. It's a novel that's meant to be read as fiction, but it did make me think a lot about why we read these books and what impact do they have on readers? For me I'm still looking over my shoulder at bedtime, but I have also found another book that's keeping me up at nights. All I can add is that I enjoy being scared to a certain level and after that I reassure myself that on the whole, mankind has far more heroes than villains, at least after reading 'The Surgeon' I hope so.
Highly recommended for those with strong stomachs. If you are even a tiny bit squeamish, forget it!
My book was a charity shop buy at £1 you can buy this for much the same with postage from Amazon.
Thanks for reading.
This review may appear on other sites. ©Lfuller2012.
I am not a huge reader unlike my family. My sister can whizz through a book as fast as a car can go from 0-60 seconds it is really quite astounding.
My family have been trying to get me into reading for a while and I have to admit in the past have found it hard to read and enjoy a book fully.
Then my dad lent me a book by Tess Gerritsen called ''The Surgeon''. As a fan of a bit of blood gore and all things a bit dark I was interested to see how I would get on with this petite little book.
Easing it into my handbag it fit quite snugly and sitting on the train journey up to London every day I decided to give it a go.
**** THE BOOK CONTENT ******
My dad had warned me not to read this when alone at home and I put it down to him being overprotective, but as I began to read I was grateful for the full carriage of people sitting with me.
This is a forensic novel and is an extremely readable thriller. The style in which this is written explains some hideously inhuman crimes, and Gerritsen let's you into the killer's thoughts.
Throughout the book we have little nuggets to provides us with an insight into the killers motivations, but never enough to piece together the story. You find that the lead characters are introduced pretty quickly and I have to admit after the first chapter already had in my mind who I did and didn't like.
Detective Jane Rizzoli is the lead investigator of a young woman's brutal murder in Boston. In addition to her partner, Barry Frost, she requires aid from Detective Thomas Moore--who had headed up the investigation of a similar Boston murder one year earlier.
All of the victims are female, and are strapped to a bed with duct tape. The victims are still alive when their uterus is removed.
The way in which the killer does this is, is to ensure the victims do not bleed to death during this portion of their ordeal. Instead, the killer cuts their throats and watches them die slowly. Then even more horrifically he calmly and quietly, neatly folds his victims' night clothes, leaving them on top of a dresser for the police to find.
As always in many a crime book the detectives Rizzoli and Moore look into the case and see if they can look for any patterns they already may hold by looking through their databases. They discover that several other murders with extremely similar features were committed a few years before in Georgia, and also in Savannah. The only problem is that these are closed cases, because the killerr was shot dead by his last victim, the only woman to survive.
The woman who survived the last Savannah attack has moved to Boston to start her life over. She is a trauma surgeon by the name of Dr. Catherine Cordell, and she works in one of the local Boston emergency rooms. She is still psychologically scarred from her ordeal, and she carefully lives her life behind locked doors. She assures the detectives that she did indeed kill the man who actually attacked her.
A little while after the visit from the police she is scared whitless as the killer they have named ''The Surgeon'' due to his skill (if you want to call it that) begins to send her both verbal and visual messages.
The question is ...who is doing this all again...is there a copycat sadist and why is he trying to get to Catherine??
Reading the back of the book got me scared I have to admit. I was intrigued all the way through this book which took me all in all around 4 hours to read. It was a book that at times made you hold your breath and at times made you want to scream.
I couldn't believe how much this book grabbed my full attention. Opening with the killers point of view unnerves you and makes you automatically feel scared.
It is exciting and disturbing all at the same time. With the thought of the killer coming into your bedroom at night where you feel you are in a safe haven and removing the only thing that makes you female...it sent chills down my spine.
It had a fantastic and unexpected ending which normally I feel is what lets many books down.
I would highly recommend this book but I wouldn't read it if you have a weak stomach!!
This was the first book I read by Boston based author Tess Gerritsen. It was free with a magazine my wife was reading and I had just finished a book so grabbed this one quickly!
The first thing you notice is that Tess is a really fluid writer, using clear language to describe each scene and event in the book. Even the medical terms are covered in such a way so as not to confuse you or sound like she is showing off her substantial human physiology knowledge.
To the plot, without spoiling it of course; someone is killing and keeping body parts as trophies. Detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles, literally have to put the pieces together in a race to stop the evil serial killer known as The Surgeon.
The pace is superb, the plot is compelling and the characters believeable. I have since gone on to read most of Tess's work and will certainly be adding some reviews of he new books after Christmas.
I picked this up recently as I wanted to try a Gerritsen novel since having read several good reviews of her work. I was quite surprised at just how good she is at formulating such a convincing, enthralling book.
The Surgeon comes under the crime genre, with a plot that entails murder, thrills, suspense, detective work and, of course, American cops with guns. Yes it's like a movie, but it has a perfect balance between action and crime, and a good storyline with well-built characters.
Broadly speaking, the plot is about a serial killer, who brutally tortures his female victims, taking from them that which makes them female, their wombs, before killing them.
There is a set of a few main characters with whom we become closely acquainted, including Catherine Cordell. Cordell, a surgeon who came close to being the next victim of the Savannah serial killer, was able to shoot dead her attacker.
After the attack, Cordell moved to Boston to work at the Pilgrim medical centre, where security and suspicion has kept her at a distance from the world with the exception of her job.
It seems a copycat killer may be on the loose as murder follows Cordell to Boston, and detectives Moore & Rizzoli are quickly on his tail.
The 416 pages take us on a detective hunt for the killer, and what seems like a game of copycat killings isn't as straightforward as initially thought. I like the twist to this book, which adds another level of genius and intellect to the plot. It's a clever book and therefore does require you to have your brain switched on to an extent, but it's easy to read and Gerritsen recaps events so that we don't get lost or confused.
The atmosphere is built up very well, especially when the suspected killer is someone with medical knowledge, possibly a surgeon whom Cordell knows. The man who attacked her back in Savannah was a colleague, and this makes the essence of the book all the more terrifying, arousing paranoia because killers can appear so 'normal'.
Underneath the seemingly casual, regular exterior can lurk a killer, and this is a thought that pricks the surface of every page.
The killings themselves are described with great clarity; Gerritsen is able to balance giving the reader the details necessary to build a brutal image without making it too gory or unbelievable. The way in which the killer works is akin to what serial killers have attempted in the past through ritual killings.
Here, the killer is referred to as 'the surgeon' because of his expert incisions. Both the surgeons work and that of Cordell's whilst she operates in the Pilgrim Medical Centre are accurately described; proper terminology is employed to the right degree, giving the novel a realistic edge and a quality feel, without weighing it down with technical jargon.
The front cover reads: 'A real page-turner. A read-in-one go novel if there ever was one' - Independent On Sunday. I would definitely agree with this as I found myself turning the pages without even realising it. It was a book I was eager to read and really enjoyed from the first to last page.
Gerritsen has truly written this fantastically. Each of the 27 chapters is clean-cut and they all flow well, with each character well built into the plot, relationships clearly defined and actions well described. This is probably the best book I've read lately in this genre, and it was as if I were watching the events unfold in a movie because it was that captivatingly vivid.
The Surgeon has a clever edge to it, combining the thrill of the chase from a top quality crime / detective novel, the grimness from a gruesome horror and the chill from a psychological thriller all in one.
Highly recommend if you want something that's extremely well written, thrilling, interesting, addictive and rich enough to really get your teeth into.
Newer 2005 edition RRP £6.99 Amazon £5.49
This particularly chilling tale is written in part from the view point of a serial killer (dubbed the Surgeon) who is stalking female rape victims in modern day Boston, and partly from the perspective of the police officers trying to catch him - Detective Thomas Moore and Detective Jane Rizzoli. From the outset, the detectives see horrifying similarities between the work of the Surgeon and that of another killer who terrorised Savannah until he was killed by the final woman he attacked, a beautiful and successful trauma surgeon, Catherine Cordell. As the investigation continues, it becomes clear that the Surgeon has singled out Cordell as a future target. A gruesome campaign of terror against Cordell ensues, with the Surgeon emailing her photos of one of his mutilated victims and murdering a patient in Cordell's hospital, and culminating in Cordell's abduction by the Surgeon and a suspense filled sequence in which Cordell is defiant even when faced with the Surgeon's knife herself.
I loved this book! I thought the contrast between the fiery Rizzoli and the emotionally guarded Moore was excellent and the insights into the mind of the Surgeon brilliant, although utterly horrific. I also though the romance between Cordell and Moore was beautifully understated and Gerristen, a former physician, was able to bring valuable insights into the medical world and also explore what it can mean to be a female in a male dominated career.
A serial killer is on the loose in Boston. The victims are killed in a particularly nasty way: cut with a scalpel on the stomach, the intestines and uterus removed, and then the throat slashed. The killer obviously has medical knowledge and has been dubbed "the Surgeon" by the media.
Detective Thomas Moore and his partner Rizzoli of the Boston Homicide Unit have discovered something that makes this case even more chilling. Years ago in Savannah a serial killer murdered in exactly the same way. He was finally stopped by his last victim who shot him as he tried to cut her. That last victim is Dr Catherine Cordell, who now works as a cardiac surgeon at one of Boston's prestigious hospitals.
As the murders continue, it becomes obvious that the killer is drawing closer and closer to Dr Cordell, who is becoming so frightened that she is virtually unable to function. But she is the only person who can help the police catch this copycat killer. Or is it a copycat? To complicate matters even further, Detective Moore, often referred to as Saint Thomas as he continues to mourn the loss of his wife, is getting emotionally involved with the doctor.
Having been a chick-lit reader, it never occured to me to pick up any other genre of book. My mum bought Tess Gerritsen's The Surgeon and I picked it up one night after reading the synopsis and thinking it sounded a great read and I wasn't wrong - I've read The Surgeon three times along with the rest of the Rizzoli/Isles series and am never disappointed.
We open with a Prologue written by the Surgeon telling us how the body will be found and carry on from there alternating from the actual dialogue to snippets from the man they call the Surgeon.
What makes The Surgeon different from the other books in the series is: there is no Maura Isles and doesn't focus on Rizzoli as much as the later books do, this one features more on Detective Thomas Moore and Catherine Cordell and I liked it like that - I liked Catherine's character more than Jane's in this novel however at the end Jane becomes more likeable.
The plot is brilliant: Catherine Cordell was attacked years earlier and killed her attacker - however The Surgeon attacks in exactly the same way only no knowledge of what Catherine's attacker did was made public: how on earth does the Surgeon know the details of Catherine's attack?
I liked the way the Surgeon was able to slip in and out of hospital rooms, offices, and constantly evade the detectives. The suspense was brilliant and I could not stop reading.
I also loved all of the support characters: Frost, Marquette, and the rest of the police detectives. There was also the underlying lovestory between Catherine and Thomas which was really great. The ending racks up the suspense level a lot more and I raced to finish the novel and was not disappointed.
All in all it was a fabulous novel and the rest of the series are just as great - although I have my reservations about The Sinner, that was my least favourite however once I get the chance to re-read it, we'll see about that! If you're a fan of suspense novels I guarantee you'll love this novel.
About a few years ago now I bought my weekly magazine, which had a copy of the surgeon as a free gift, I wasn't much of a book reader at the time and I would of normally slipped the book to the side and read the magazine, I was off work at the time and very bored so I decided to give the book a go, and I am so glad I did, after just one chapter I couldn't put it down.
A little bit about the Author:
The Authors name is Tess Gerritsen, and she is a retired doctor from Maine, Her first books consisted of romanced crime and after doing so well she decided to write her first medical thriller book "The surgeon."
The Surgeon is the first instalment in a series of medical thrillers, The story takes place in Boston, where a killer is on the lose and praying on lone woman, he breaks into there apartments and tortures them before killing them, the killer is named the surgeon by detectives because of his surgical skills.
The book introduces the characters Thomas Moore and Jane Rizzoli as lead detectives of the investigation. I don't want to give too much of the book away as I feel the best bits are the suprises and the twist and turns as the story unfolds.
All and all this was a brilliant book and once you start reading you wont be able to put it down, I feel that the book is very well written and the medical terms used are very believable and professional, being a doctor before a writer had definitely given Tess Gerritsen and advantage in writing a fantastic medical thriller.
You can purchase this book from all good bookshops and in paperback it costs around £6.99
THE SURGEON is the second of two novels I have recently read by author, TESS GERITSEN, and is just as tight, tense and gripping a thriller as was BODY DOUBLE; the only other book of hers I have read. Set much earlier than BODY DOUBLE, this novel marks the debut of Detective Jane Rizzoli; on the hunt for a serial killer who removes women's wombs after hours of torment and leaves them to die with their throats slit open. Detective Thomas Moore is called back from vacation when it emerges the case is identical to a murder he investigated a year ago and, reluctantly, the pair form an often uneasy alliance despite their many differences. Rizzoli is relatively new to the Homicide Division and faces much criticism and teasing because she is a female in a predominantly male domain; Moore is still mourning the death of his wife from cancer and, living in her shadow, begins to get a bit too close to the case. Especially when the crimes are linked to a series of murders out of state and the only surviving victim, Dr.Catherine Cordell; a highly attractive woman attempting to get her life back together again in Boston after everything she went through back home. Cordell shot and killed the man responsible for the crimes against her but increasingly it begins to look as though her killer may have returned from beyond the grave to stalk her....either that or this latest killer is a copycat who knows a bit too much about the earlier cases.
Having read BODY DOUBLE, I already knew the killer's name even if I didn't know anything else about him but this didn't spoil my enjoyment of this book and it was good to see the rough edges of Jane Rizzoli before she became the heavily pregnant character we see in Geritsen's later novel. Moore too works well as her foil and, once again, the story is successfully split between the two characters rather than just focusing around one lead. This is a good angle to use and makes for me a much more versatile thriller and a much more entertaining read.
I do wonder if Geritsen's ongoing medical theme to her novels may become a bit repetitive and possibly a little monotonous (much as Jonathan Kellermans ALEX DELAWARE series began to after a while) but think that so long as I don't read too many at once then this hopefully won't become a problem for me. Certainly Geritsen knows what she's writing about and the medical pieces of the book are very well written and come across as being 100 % authentic!! It is also exceptionally good to read something where the story stands out for itself; much as I enjoy reading Reichs, Slaughter, Tracey and their like, all too often they do seem to be trying to out-do each other with their increasingly more shocking and gruesome scenes. Here, as with BODY DOUBLE, although the theme is highly disturbing (more so for the women who read this, I assume, than the blokes who don't have a womb to remove) it is never exploited merely for shock value and the crime scenes, though not played down, are more subtlely described instead of lavishly trying to provoke a gut reaction.
As with the only other novel of Geritsen's I have read, there is nothing mind-blowing about this book but it IS very well written and it doesn't need to totally blow you away to keep you captivated and enthralled; the story itself is strong enough to carry this book to it's inevitable conclusion with little danger of the reader ever becoming bored and this without a shadow of a doubt, is one novel I wouldn't hesitate to reccommend!
The story continues in her next book, THE APPRENTICE, (not featuring Sir Alan Sugar, I'm assuming) and, after the opening chapter included at the end of this novel, I for one can't wait to pick it up. Geritsen is definetly one to watch out for if you have not read her before!!!!
WARNING: THIS IS A TRAILER OF A GRAPHIC NOVEL. "Lie quiet my pretty one. You are part of the chain now. I have put a chain around your neck; a chain from Diana; a chain from one year ago. I found you, I chose you, I stalked you, I came to you in the dark of the night. I know what damaged you; why you have a clinic record. Yes - that sweet, sickly smell, that groggy feeling, that sleepy sensation - that's the chloroform. Yes - I had to bind you, strip you, quieten you, subdue you. Don't struggle now - the duct tape won't release you; relax, lie back, it will be over soon. I waited - waiting here for half an hour; waiting until you were awake again; waiting for you to open your eyes; waiting for you to be aware of me. I used the time to prepare, laid out the instruments. The tape had fixed you well ' across your mouth, around your wrists, your waist, your thighs, your ankles. I knew you could not resist me but I knew when you were awake. I knew the way to go. I took my time ' the scalpel cut through your skin cleanly just above your hair; it parted the muscles; it opened up your belly. I tied off the arteries to stop the blood and then plucked out that very part that makes you woman. I am ready now. I have put away the tools. Your uterus is in my jar - I will take it with me, save it with the others, treasure it until the course is run. The other little trinket is in my bag. I will tidy up your clothes and leave your nightshirt folded on the dresser. Are you ready now- I pull back your head by your hair. Your neck is stretched, the skin is tight. One swift cut - left to right - it will sever your carotid artery, your trachea. Death will soon come. You will see your blood arch across the room and hit the wall; you will feel it flow down your throat; you will hear it gurgle in your lungs as you try to cough it out. You are another link in my chain. Soon the circle will be complete." [Diary of a serial killer - reconstructed from events described in Chapter 1 (c) Newfloridian 2003] Elena Ortiz is found dead at home in a suburb of Boston, her throat cut and a hysterectomy expertly carried out on her before she died. Her death mirrors the similar murder of Diana Sterling one year before. Doctor Catherine Cordell is a Trauma and Vascular Surgeon at the Pilgrim Medical Centre. Two years ago she was a victim of a very similar attack in Savannah. She was fortunate that she was able to fight back and killed her attacker before he could complete the assault. Now the cycle is repeating itself in ways that the police did not disclose at the time. Befriended by detectives Thomas Moore and Jane Rizzoli, they try to protect Doctor Cordell as the assassin closes in on her with ever increasingly devious taunts and attacks. They are also in a race against time to unravel the mystery - who is the killer? What is the motive? What is the link with Catherine's dead killer? This is a terrifying, grim, fast paced murder mystery written by an accomplished author of fiction. The murders come thick and fast in torrid, graphic detail. There are multiple twists and turns, sudden shocks and red herrings to keep you guessing until the final denouement. Once started you won?t want to put this book down. There has been a spate of lurid serial murder novels recently including Boris Starling (Messiah) and Val McDermid (Wire In The Blood). It is also interesting that it is the female authors these days who are the most bloodthirsty. A prime example is Karin Slaughter (Blindsighted) who shares some similar plot themes. This novel is equally tense and gripping. I really don't want to give away any more of the story that that above. My little paraphrase of Chapter One should give you sufficient idea of what to expect. Tess Gerritsen trained as a doctor but gave up her medical practice to concentrate on writing
fiction. Many of her titles (Harvest, Life Support, Bloodstream) are set in a hospital environment. She lives in Maine. Tess Gerritsen has her own website at www.tessgerritsen.com and a spooky place it is too. She certainly has her admirers. Stephen King is reputed to have said: "She is a must read in our house". THE SURGEON (Paperback: 350 pages) ISBN 0345 447840 Available from Amazon.com $7.99 Hardback in the UK - February 2002. Available from Amazon.co.uk £9.09 Paperback - prices vary. The supermarkets have offered this book "on special" recently [POSTSCRIPT: The sequel "The Apprentice" has now been published in paperback format both here in the UK and in the US. It is very much a sequel although there are a couple of unexpected twists. You WILL have to read this book first. There is a rumour that "The Surgeon" is to be made into a major film next year. I can hardly wait]