The Killing of Catherine Cordell

The Surgeon (Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles, #1) - Tess Gerritsen

Opening Line: "Today they will find her body."


The Surgeon has been dubbed as Rizzoli and Isles book #1 and even though it was a very good read I think anyone coming here as a fan of the TV series will be disappointed as the only similarities between the two is the name of one of the characters.
Maura Isles is not in this story and Rizzoli is no Angie Harmon, (and probably one of the most dislikable heroines I’ve ever read- more on that later) If you’re at all sensitive to blood and vivid medical details (or rape) then this probably won’t work for you either as the surgical element here is graphic, bordering on overdeveloped –it’s pretty obvious that author Tess Gerritsen is a physician.

Having said all that, this was still a fantastic read. The writing is excellent, the story fast paced, and all the characters are well developed. The plot is suspenseful, gritty and terrifying concluding with one hell of a bad guy. In fact I would say this was hard to put down except for the fact that I was so creeped out I dreaded picking it up (does that make sense?) Anyways, I definitely felt the need for a change of pace after this, like chick-lit or something fluffy with puppies.

The Surgeon centers around a series of murders taking place in Boston. The young women are all found at home, in their bedrooms and the crime scenes are a bloody mess, the bodies sliced up and missing…an internal body part. The precision of the killer’s methods suggests a medical background and the media dub him “the surgeon”.

Investigating the murders are detectives Thomas Moore and his partner Jane Rizzoli -described as homely, self-loathing, jealous (and just downright bitchy) Through their investigation the police soon discover almost identical killings several years back in Georgia. However that case was closed when the victim fought back, shooting her attacker. Are these Boston slayings the work of a copycat then?

Seeking out that last victim, Moore and Rizzoli find Dr. Catherine Cordell, now also living in Boston. After consulting with her they discover that these new slayings are being recreated with chilling accuracy. As the murder spree continues “the surgeon” gets closer and closer to his intended victim, almost taunting the police and they can’t catch him, and they can’t protect Cordell from a ruthless hunter.

There is a bit of romance here to break up all the medical procedures but Rizzoli remains an unlikeable character throughout, with her guard up to such a degree that it’s no wonder none of her colleagues want to work with her. Luckily we get several other POV’s to choose from and Detective Thomas Moore was a welcome distraction. We also get inside the head of intended target and former victim Catherine Cordell and “the surgeon” himself who remained anonymous to me until the very end. His internal dialogue is freaky. Speaking of which this whole book freaked me out, it’s so well written but just not an enjoyable read, as it’s dark, vivid, bloody and quite the ride. I’ll be looking for more from Tess Gerritsen.