Jerry B's Reviews > The Surgeon

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
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's review
Jul 22, 2010

really liked it
Read in June, 2003

Very bloody medical thriller may nearly scare YOU to death !

Having enjoyed the author's "Gravity", a medical thriller set mostly in space (aboard the shuttle), we wanted to try one of her earthbound offerings. Shake in a bag: Stephen King, for blood-curdling horror; John Sandford, for serial killings galore; and Michael Palmer for a physician's description of real life in the emergency room; and this book might just fall out. Written in first voice of the killer to at times get us inside his head, and narrated at others by the leading lady and intended victim, Dr. Catherine Cordell, we share the chills from both perspectives as the bad guy stalks the good doctor. Cordell had once before been brutally raped and nearly executed by an attacker, until she is able to defend herself and shoot the perp. Two years after relocating to Boston from Savannah, some copycat killings lead to the impossible conclusion that her stalker is at it again. Boston PD Detective Moore, a widower who tries in vain to ward off his romantic attraction to Cordell, and his colleague, Judy Rizzoli, a tough female cop trying to make it in the "man's world" of the homicide squad, pursue innumerable clues and chase new murders as they attempt to unravel the puzzle, ID the killer, and eventually hunt him down. Gerritsen skillfully lays out the clues just slow enough to maintain gripping suspense, but just fast enough to keep us vitally interested and turning pages. An entertaining conclusion wraps things up quite nicely, even though a bit in Hollywood style.

Readers should be warned this is no happy little tale. There are a great deal of explicit scenes featuring bloody brutality to women, as well as the discussion of rape and fear that much of the action generates. The tension between Rizzoli and the men on the squad (and actually, even in her own family) is palpable and, unfortunately, probably quite realistic; and adds to the uncertainty of the plot. "Surgeon" is not for the weak; and Gerritsen has more than amply demonstrated she can fight and claw along with the best of this genre. Do we envision a movie in the making??


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