The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

The SurgeonThe Surgeon is a top-grade thriller from Tess Gerritsen (the jaw-chattering Gravity, 1999, etc.), a former internist who gave up the stethoscope to raise kids and write chillers. This is the first book in Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles series. TNT launches a new TV series based on these characters.

Dr. Catherine Cordell is the main character in this chilling tale. ER trauma surgeon Catherine Cordell first met the killer, called ʺThe Surgeonʺ by Boston newspapers, down in Savannah, where she was his last victim. Luckily for Catherine, after being raped she got a hand free from the cord binding her to the bed, cut herself loose with a scalpel, reached under her bed, grabbed a pistol, and seemingly killed Andrew Capra, the inept medical student about to pluck out her womb. Unable to bear Savannah where everyone seemed to know she’d been raped, Catherine transferred to Boston, holed up for nearly two years, then took a job as a trauma surgeon without disclosing her past.  Good grief! More wombless bodies start showing up in Boston. Did she really kill Andrew? Now, in Boston, as another hot summer begins, he appears to have miraculously returned and embarked once again on his grisly mission: he rapes women, and then surgically removes their wombs. The really awful part is he removes the womb while the naked woman lies awake and can see his power over her. Then “The Surgeon” leaves one victim alive as an ER birthday present for Catherine, so that she can sew up spilled bowels while working through her own rape trauma.

As two intrepid detectives—Thomas Moore and Jane Rizzoli—investigate, Cordell begins to doubt her own memories (or lack of) and discovers that not even her OR is safe.  In the process, detective Tom Moore and Cordell fall in love. But the head of the homicide unit sends him off to Savannah ostensibly to investigate the Capra murder scene but in reality to get him away from Cordell.  Jealous, plainfaced, snappish young Jane Rizzoli, the only female on Boston Homicide, leads his investigation. While perusing Capra’s class picture in an Emory Medical School yearbook, Moore finds the key to both the “surgeon” and his motivation. Back in Boston, Rizzoli mistakenly kills an unarmed assailant, gets dismissed to the Boston equivalent of Coventry, but ultimately saves Cordell from the “surgeon,” though she almost loses her own life.

Gerritsen fans know by now what to expect from her: a fascinating story with a gripping plot and believable human characters. Sharp characters stitch your eye to the page. An all-nighter.

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