Rebecca's Reviews > The Surgeon

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
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's review
Nov 29, 2011

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bookshelves: mystery
Read in November, 2011

If you like mysteries where you can try to put the clues together yourself, this book is not for you. You aren't getting the clues much before most of the characters, and you're not going to be able to guess the murderer early on. On the plus side, this means you don't spend much time frustrated at the characters for being idiots. But it was disappointing to discover that most of my theories were pretty much invalid and there was no way I would have been able to work it all out on my own.

But if you like thrillers, this one works quite well. The pacing is good and the protagonists generally aren't stupid. It's nothing we haven't seen before--deranged serial killer is seriously screwed up, sex crimes, attempts at psych profiling, escalating violence, women in peril. But it's perfectly enjoyable, even if it's nothing special.

I do have some bones to pick. Rizzoli has good reasons to be prickly, but it still gets grating. Moore, on the other, hand, apparently falls in love in about three days and is rather too gooey. I would have liked some more red herrings--I would also have liked some more development of the clues. (The murder has a weird skin condition that sounds like a huge deal, but then gets completely dropped, for example.) I'm not entirely sure how they managed to make the arrest at the end, unless they swept some of Rizzoli's rule-breaking under the carpet.

The thing that actually bothered me most, though, was the treatment of the whole uterus-removal thing. Over and over again, especially at the beginning, they hammer home the idea that this is the one thing that makes the victims a woman and that this is the worst possible thing that could be done to them. I don't think most women who have had such procedures done on purpose consider themselves to be no longer women. For that matter, I suspect my trans friends would have Things To Say about this. Is it horrifying and scarring, both physically and mentally? Of course. But were I to be a kidnapped by a deranged serial killer and operated on and managed to survive the ordeal, I'd rather him take that than, say, my hands or my eyes. It just seemed kind of ridiculous and insulting for this to be harped upon as the Worst Thing that could possibly be done. I guess we're talking about a genre where every possible horrible thing has been explored, and the author wanted to make sure that her Horrible Thing was sufficiently Horrible. But it just seemed unnecessary.

Anyway, competent but not inspiring. Triggery as all hell, but if you're inclined to be triggered, you really shouldn't be reading murder mysteries featuring sex crime serial killers.
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