Bestselling author Tess Gerritsen is also a physician, and she brings to her novels her first-hand knowledge of emergency and autopsy rooms. But her interests span far more than medical topics. As an anthropology student at Stanford University, she catalogued centuries-old human remains, and she continues to travel the world driven by her fascination with ancient cultures and bizarre natural phenomena. She started off her writing career with romance novels, now published by Mira. But in 1996 she switched to writing thrillers with her novel HARVEST, inspired by the anger she felt about the illegal trade in human organs. It was her first New York Times bestseller. Since then she has become an internationally bestselling author of crime novels, and her thriller series starring Boston detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles is the basis for the hit television series "Rizzoli & isles." She lives with her husband in Maine. For more information on Tess Gerritsen and her novels, visit her website: www.tessgerritsen.co.uk.
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This is my third Tess Gerritsen novel after reading The Surgeon and The Apprentice. While The Surgeon had me hooked from the get-go I was a little disappointed with the last two books.
This story starts with the discovery of a dead nun in a convent in Boston. Found beside her is another nun.....badly injured but still alive. Meanwhile, further across town the corpse of another victim is found in an abandoned building. Dr Maura Isles is the Medical Examiner on both cases and while she tries to figure out the why's surrounding each case she also finds herself having to handle the reemergence of somebody from her past.
Detectives Jane Rizzoli and Barry Frost are the investigating officers on both cases, bringing back the characters from The Surgeon and The Apprentice.
What I liked about The Surgeon was the page-turning drama involved in the search for a serial killer and the fact that the story wasn't focused on just one character. Ms Gerritsen has changed tact for The Sinner and I don't think it worked. The Sinner was disappointing because it didn't have that drama and instead the story seemed to focus more on the love-lives of Dr. Isles and Det. Rizzoli with the cases going on around them acting as mere background.
As for the ending.....it was obvious who the baddie was in the last few chapters but there was no build-up and we still know virtually nothing about our baddie and that in itself was disappointing.
I know this review seems negative and that's not my intention. The Sinner is still a very good book but it lacked the punch I expected after reading The Surgeon. I've now started reading Body Double so we'll see how that turns out before I abandon all hope!
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O E JTOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Sept. 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Anyone who has read THE SURGEON or THE APPRENTICE will know why my expectations were sky-high for this, the third in the Jane Rizzoli series. Those two novels were excellent, full of tension, suspense and pace. But here, Tess has gone way off the boil and has somehow turned what should have been a crime thriller into something of a romantic piece of ho-hum that borders on chick-lit. Borders, I stress, without quite entering. Tess claims that The Sinner was a fresh new challenge for her - and I quote from the great lady herself :-
"I actually found THE SINNER one of my most challenging and satisfying books to write, because it was not a simple serial killer book, and I couldn't rely on that automatic internal drumbeat of tension that a stalking/serial killer novel has. Serial killers are actually easy villains to create and I always feel like I'm taking the easy way out when I do one of those. But taking an overseas corporate horror and turning it into a homicide case in Boston was a lot harder"
Well, if it was a lot harder, it shows. The corporate horror she refers to is, I suppose, at the core of the plot here but it really hardly ever shows its face. I am actually intrigued by corporate crime, fraud or corruption so if anything I would have welcomed it with open arms had I known this in advance. But while there are some gruesome murders early on, followed by the always excellent forensic and medical analysis, in truth the meat and bones of this story is represented by the continuing dilemmas in the private life of Detective Rizzoli, alongside those of her associate in the morgue Dr Maura Isles.Read more ›
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The Sinner is a decent medical thriller which I enjoyed, although not as much as the past two books by the author, The Surgeon and The Apprentice. The strength for me was the plot which had me guessing and the style of writing which was lyrical and descriptive. The characters Jane Rizzoli (a detective) and Dr.Maura Isles (a forensic examiner) were interesting but it seemed strange that they both were successful professionally and yet hopeless with men and relationships in general. The book was written in a way that made it seem as though only cold, extremely tough and blunt women can succeed in a professional arena. In the Surgeon I liked reading about a controversial, edgy female (Jane Rizzoli) and that still stands. However, I found some of Rizzoli's needless rudeness and nastiness towards anyone who shows her concern to be wearying this time around because it was so unnecessary in many cases and she came across as petty rather than angry about sexism in the police force. I also found the dealing of the Catholic Church to be very heavy handed and biased. All the nuns were described many times as old and detached - not a single one of them was given any personality, depth or kindness. The only young nun was written about in an equally negative way. Secondly, both Maura and Jane were lapsed Catholics and were highly cynical about religion of any kind. Of course, this is fine, but there was simply no balance to the book as no religious characters were allowed to speak. In the end I found the constant sniping about faith and belief to be jarring. Overall the Sinner is a competent thriller and the medical details were excellent. There were surprises and shocks along the way and the characters were believable if not always likeable.
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