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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointing
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...
Published on 9 July 2007 by O. Doyle

versus
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars PECCAVI.....I didn't give it 5 stars
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...
Published on 12 Sept. 2006 by OEJ


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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointing, 9 July 2007
By 
O. Doyle "celticshedevil" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Sinner (Mass Market Paperback)
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars PECCAVI.....I didn't give it 5 stars, 12 Sept. 2006
By 
OEJ - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Sinner (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. In Rizzoli's case her focus of attention is enigmatic FBI agent Gabriele Dean (carried over from The Apprentice) but, very disappointingly, Dean has only a bit part to play in this third novel. Meanwhile Dr Isles, who seems to have replaced Dr Ashford Tierney as Medical Examiner (without any explanation that I remember) tussles with the advances of her ex-husband Victor, a man who I kind of assumed to be about 60 years old judging by his name and could never quite remove that image from my vision. He's about 40 as it turns out.

The turmoils in these two women's love lives take centre stage ahead of the plot and storyline, that of the murder and serious assault of two nuns in a Boston convent. The investigation into these crimes, along with one or two other connected killings, never advances beyond background interest, and despite a reasonable allocation of pages to the crimes I have to say that no thrills are generated in doing so. One of the victims, a young nun, seems to have little involvement in the corporate corruption that is claimed to be this novel's mainstay, yet considerable time is spent investigating this story strand which, while interesting on its own, bears little relevance to the main point and direction of the tale itself. If anything, it only serves to contribute towards the unlikely discovery of maternal instincts suppressed within the very single and workaholic Rizzoli. I found Rizzoli to be a superbly drawn character in The Apprentice and could hardly wait for more of the same in The Sinner, but if anything it was an anti-climax due in part to the emergence of the somewhat less interesting `joint central character' of Dr Maura Isles. By having two female leads, as opposed to male/female in The Apprentice (Rizzoli & Dean) Tess has created something of an imbalance with few, if any, strong male characters at all. Gabriele Dean could have filled that role but once again, he hardly features at all even if what he actually does is highly influential.

We also lost the concept of a powerful, evil enemy in any character sense, unlike the `Surgeon' and the `Dominator' (the pseudonym used in The Apprentice). Tess says this was a very deliberate ploy but fans of the two earlier books - of whom there are many thousands if not millions - will be disappointed by the complete change of flavour and style of The Sinner. It was an attractive-sounding title that failed to deliver the expected goods, but I am optimistic that normal service will be resumed in BODY DOUBLE, VANISH and THE MEPHISTO CLUB.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Plot and Characters but Something Missing, 1 Nov. 2003
By 
Veronica (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Sinner (Hardcover)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sinner Sees Gerritsen Get Even Better, 30 Jan. 2009
By 
Simon Savidge Reads "Simon" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Sinner (Mass Market Paperback)
`The Sinner' is the third in the Jane Rizzoli series, and the second with Maura Isles as the medical examiner. Would this be as good as the first two? Would I be hooked and unable to put the book down?

The answer to the above is pretty much. In some ways this is better than the previous two in others its not, overall it's very, very good. Isles and Rizzoli are called to a cloistered convent where one nun has been murdered and another has been left fatally injured. There are no motives and no clues as to why a pair of nuns would be attacked in such a way it's for Rizzoli and Isles to work out together. Then when another faceless, handless and footless body turns up secrets are revealed and our two leading ladies have to work out the link between her (the Rat Lady) and the two nuns, with many a twist along the way.

I actually like these two leading women. Rizzoli has grown in every novel so far, and though she has quite a secret in store she sadly doesn't seem to be in the novel so much as before which makes you feel slightly like your not part of the investigation from a coppers side. You are much more involved in the process of autopsy's as Isles has now gone from being a supporting role to very much a main character role which is great as she is another strong woman with flaws (named Queen of the Dead) in a different way from Rizzoli, also without her the story wouldn't make sense. Two things I wasn't sure about with her was that a) she drank sherry when she got home from a long day (sometimes one thing can just make you think `she wouldn't do that though') b) someone turns up in her life which creates a great back story for her but also is very clichéd in a `oh now I think I know what's coming' way both disappointed me slightly.

Other than that this is a great crime novel/murder mystery with gore galore. Gerritsen knows her terminology (and I figure once I have caught up with the series so will I) of medicine, autopsy's and operations. There is a lot less murder and a lot more mystery in this novel which is both good and bad. If you are expecting a book that fits the last twos plot lines and formula, you won't get quite what you are expecting. But then that's also a good thing right? I picked up the next one this afternoon, but I am being very good and having a Gerritsen break for a while... well as long as I can manage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Secret Worth Killing For, 7 Jan. 2008
By 
Laurel Whitehead (Seattle, WA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Sinner (Mass Market Paperback)
In a remote leper village in India Howard Redfield photographs the dead. He's afraid, and well he should be because what he photographs here will ultimately lead to his murder in Boston a year later. There are secrets that some will kill to protect.

It's snowing, Christmas is close, when Boston M.E. Maura Isles gets the call to go out and investigate the murder in a contemplative order of nuns. She finds Detective Jane Rizzoli at the scene, learns that novice Sister Camille has been brutally murdered and that aging Sister Ursala has been horribly beaten. As it turns out the killer was after Sister Ursala and had thought he'd finished her, but how could he know that the nun had a congenital birth defect, one of her carotid arteries didn't pump blood, so when he checked for a pulse, he found none.

A woman is found dead in a seedier part of town. Her face has been ripped away, her hands and feet had been severed. Maura deduces Hanson's disease, leprosy. The killer hadn't been taking trophies, after all. He'd been trying to hid the illness. From the disease they guess the victim might have been from India. Sister Ursala had worked for a couple years with a group of lepers in India. Was there a connection?

Then Howard Redfield turns up dead.

This book, one of Tess Gerritsen's best, is a thriller of the first order, a mystery full of red herrings that will keep you guessing as you burn through the pages, and there is even that special touch of romance for Rizzoli that will touch your heart, even if you're a guy.

Review submitted by Captain Katie Osborne
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars u ever read a book where a nun was murdered??, 18 Mar. 2006
By 
RD - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Sinner (Mass Market Paperback)
what i like about Ms Gerritsen's series is that she has developed great characters by not being afraid to write a lot about their personal lives... and she still finds time to fit in a game of good guy - bad guy..
The third Isles/Rizzoli begins with an investigation into the murder of a nun and the assault of another. Who would want to harm nuns?
The case becomes even more eyebrow raising when it turns out one of them recently gave birth....Where is the child? Who was the father?
These questions must be answered but its never straight forward...and so begins a case which crosses borders and shakes bonds...
At the same time both women are facing troubles in their personal lives. Det Rizzoli finds out she is pregnant and on the road to being a single mum while Dr Isles has to face the return of her ex-husband into her life.
If you're already into this series then buy this book you will not be dissapointed. If you aren't then i suggest you begin at the beginning with 'the surgeon'...onto 'the apprentice' and then come back to this one...
Happy reading..
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Series that has reached 'critical popular mass', 25 Mar. 2005
By 
Kentspur (Er...Kent) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Sinner (Mass Market Paperback)
Tess Gerritsen was a doctor and it shows in her writing.
The scenes in hospitals, morgues and the the descriptions of medical 'stuff' ooze authenticity, but, I feel, with this book she has 'cracked it' as a detective novelist. I don't suppose she will be too worried about this validation from me, sitting as she will be on the millions of dollars made from the earlier books in the series, but here, with Detective Jane Rizzoli and Dr Maura Isles, she has created characters that you really care about, which is the trick in making people buy not just one of your books, but all of them.
Let's be honest, this book is pants. The crime is ludicrous, the exposition silly, the coincidences amatuerish and the killer was a total 'well, who the Hell is he?' followed by frantic thumbing back. It doesn't matter.
I wanted to know how things were going to turn out for Jane and Maura. I like them (particularly Maura - foxy lady). They are real people. All that tosh about shooting people pales next to the thrill of their personal lives.
I don't feel this gooey about all detective fiction and that these characters do that to me means Ms Gerritsen has done it. Books that can be enjoyed whatever the shortcomings of the plot because the characters are involving. The Holy Grail. Nice one.
No five stars though. Write a decent plot and I'll relent
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, 10 Nov. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Sinner (Hardcover)
This is the third book by Tess Gerritsen involving Jane Rizzoli.
The Surgeon and The Apprentice are much better.
At the end of The Apprentice we are just getting to see the real Jane Rizzoli. Tess Gerritsen has started to give us a broader insight into this character. Then The Sinner throws that all away.
The Sinner is more about Dr Maura Isles than about Jane and its a bit of a let down.
We get fed snippets of info about Jane through the book but its as if we are expected to drop one heroine for another. We may as well be reading a complete different series.
Apart from that The Sinner is not a bad book, is just not a fantastically good book.
Someone has horrifically killed two nuns, a young girl and an old bloke. What is the connection?
The religious undertones started to get a bit too much by the end of the book and i was glad when i got to the end.
There is no wow factor with this one as there was with The Surgeon and The Apprentice. It just trundles along and then finishes.
A bit of a let down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 Star Read For Rizzoli & Isles Fans, 18 Jun. 2012
In the genre of `Forensic Thrillers' the two strong female characters of Dr. Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli are among my favourite crime-crackers. Gerritsen plots with her usual deftness, the crimes are vile and the forensics gory. Rizzoli and Isles are very human and their focus on this case is hampered by the trials and tribulations of their own lives, hassles with their families, work clashes, etc., and for that, is all the more believable. Clues, obvious and less obvious are scattered carefully, along with a stack of whiffy red herrings, decaying nicely in order to take you off trail. You will award yourself points when you guess right on some of the twists and kick yourself when you don't. The evil corporate / crime back story was just a little unconvincing so I'll mark this as not quite up to Tess Gerritsen's superb best but it's still a good read for her fans. Four stars.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an excellent 3rd, 11 May 2004
By 
Claire, Lulu "Lulu" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Sinner (Hardcover)
This is the 3rd in the surgeon series and i have to say it is the third book of gerritsens i have thoroughly enjoyed! as a crime/medi thriller writer gerritsen really gets down to the knitty gritty! everything about this set is gripping and really entices you leaving you wanting more! this one is probably the least scarey of the three with more emphasis on the actual characters rather than the crimes and the brutal killings! there is more romance in this book than the other two with previous "mentions" coming out the woodwork but all in all an excellent read. looking forward to another.
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The Sinner
The Sinner by Tess Gerritsen (Hardcover - 1 Sept. 2003)
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