Book review: The Surgeon

The Surgeon, Tess Gerritsen, 2001

This is a fast-paced and gripping serial killer novel. The book was written ten years ago, now, so it may be disingenuous to say that it offers little new to the genre, but if you are coming to the author or series anew then this is what to expect. It is written in what seems to be the standard for this type of novel: the story of the chase and the detectives hunting the killer interspersed with a running commentary from the killer. As I have said, the novel is fast-paced, and this is one of the drawbacks of the story: it is too fast to allow any real atmosphere to build. It is well crafted but not what I would call well written.

The three main characters are well described and we are allowed into their heads. They are engaging and the series character has enough flaws and interesting attributes to ensure that we will want to follow her into later stories. I will say that although this is the first in the Rizzoli and Isles series, only the former appears in this novel.

There are problems with the novel. The police fail to pick up on what I might have thought were some rather obvious leads that might have meant the killer being apprehended before the actual showdown. And the characters seem to react more strongly to the killer than the story warrants. The killer is much less superhuman than they make out. But, that said, these are minor concerns. The twists and turns in the story are inventive and surprising without being unbelievable; Gerritsen has plotted well.

So, if you are a fan of crime novels or of the serial killer sub-genre then I would certainly recommend this novel. It ticks all the right boxes and, being only the first in a series, suggests that better is to come.

Posted on February 24, 2011, in Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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