The Surgeon (Rizzoli and Isles Series #1)

The Surgeon (Rizzoli and Isles Series #1)

by Tess Gerritsen

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A briskly paced, terrifically suspenseful work that steadily builds toward a tense and terrifying climax.”—People (Page-turner of the week)
He slips into homes at night and walks silently into bedrooms where women lie sleeping, about to awaken to a living nightmare. The precision of his methods suggests that he is a deranged man of medicine, prompting the Boston newspapers to dub him “The Surgeon.” Led by Detectives Thomas Moore and Jane Rizzoli, the cops must consult the victim of a nearly identical crime: Two years ago, Dr. Catherine Cordell fought back and filled an attacker before he could complete his assault. Now this new killer is re-creating, with chilling accuracy, the details of Cordell’s ordeal. With every new murder he seems to be taunting her, cutting ever closer, from her hospital to her home. And neither Moore nor Rizzoli can protect Cordell from a ruthless hunter who somehow understands—and savors—the secret fears of every woman he kills.
“[A] top-grade thriller . . . Sharp characters stitch your eye to the page. An all-nighter.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Creepy . . . will exert a powerful grip on readers.”—Chicago Tribune

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345447845
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/30/2002
Series: Rizzoli and Isles Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.91(h) x 1.02(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen earned international acclaim for her first novel of suspense, Harvest. She introduced detective Jane Rizzoli in The Surgeon (2001) and Dr. Maura Isles in The Apprentice (2002) and has gone on to write numerous other titles in the celebrated Rizzoli & Isles series, including The Mephisto Club, The Keepsake, Ice Cold, The Silent Girl, Last to Die, and Die Again. Her latest novel is the standalone thriller Playing with Fire. A physician, Tess Gerritsen lives in Maine.

Read an Excerpt

One year later Detective Thomas Moore disliked the smell of latex, and as he snapped on the gloves, releasing a puff of talcum, he felt the usual twinge of anticipatory nausea. The odor was linked to the most unpleasant aspects of his job, and like one of Pavlov’s dogs, trained to salivate on cue, he’d come to associate that rubbery scent with the inevitable accompaniment of blood and body fluids. An olfactory warning to brace himself.

And so he did, as he stood outside the autopsy room. He had walked in straight from the heat, and already sweat was chilling on his skin. It was July 12, a humid and hazy Friday afternoon. Across the city of Boston, air conditioners rattled and dripped, and tempers were flaring. On the Tobin Bridge, cars would already be backed up, fleeing north to the cool forests of Maine. But Moore would not be among them. He had been called back from his vacation, to view a horror he had no wish to confront.

He was already garbed in a surgical gown, which he’d pulled from the morgue linen cart. Now he put on a paper cap to catch stray hairs and pulled paper booties over his shoes, because he had seen what sometimes spilled from the table onto the floor. The blood, the clumps of tissue. He was by no means a tidy man, but he had no wish to bring any trace of the autopsy room home on his shoes. He paused for a few seconds outside the door and took a deep breath. Then, resigning himself to the ordeal, he pushed into the room.

The draped corpse lay on the table—a woman, by the shape of it. Moore avoided looking too long at the victim and focused instead on the living people in the room. Dr. Ashford Tierney, the Medical Examiner, and a morgue attendant were assembling instruments on a tray. Across the table from Moore stood Jane Rizzoli, also from the Boston Homicide Unit. Thirty-three years old, Rizzoli was a small and square-jawed woman. Her untamable curls were hidden beneath the paper O.R. cap, and without her black hair to soften her features, her face seemed to be all hard angles, her dark eyes probing and intense. She had transferred to Homicide from Vice and Narcotics six months ago. She was the only woman in the homicide unit, and already there had been problems between her and another detective, charges of sexual harassment, countercharges of unrelenting bitchiness. Moore was not sure he liked Rizzoli, or she him. So far they had kept their interactions strictly business, and he thought she preferred it that way.

Standing beside Rizzoli was her partner, Barry Frost, a relentlessly cheerful cop whose bland and beardless face made him seem much younger than his thirty years. Frost had worked with Rizzoli for two months now without complaint, the only man in the unit placid enough to endure her foul moods.

As Moore approached the table, Rizzoli said, “We wondered when you’d show up.”

“I was on the Maine Turnpike when you beeped me.”

“We’ve been waiting here since five.”

“And I’m just starting the internal exam,” Dr. Tierney said. “So I’d say Detective Moore got here right on time.” One man coming to the defense of another. He slammed the cabinet door shut, setting off a reverberating clang. It was one of the rare occasions he allowed his irritation to show. Dr. Tierney was a native Georgian, a courtly gentleman who believed ladies should behave like ladies. He did not enjoy working with the prickly Jane Rizzoli.

The morgue attendant wheeled a tray of instruments to the table, and his gaze briefly met Moore’s with a look of, Can you believe this bitch?

“Sorry about your fishing trip,” Tierney said to Moore. “It looks like your vacation’s canceled.”

“You’re sure it’s our boy again?”

In answer, Tierney reached for the drape and pulled it back, revealing the corpse. “Her name is Elena Ortiz.”

Though Moore had been braced for this sight, his first glimpse of the victim had the impact of a physical blow. The woman’s black hair, matted stiff with blood, stuck out like porcupine quills from a face the color of blue-veined marble. Her lips were parted, as though frozen in mid-utterance. The blood had already been washed off the body, and her wounds gaped in purplish rents on the gray canvas of skin. There were two visible wounds. One was a deep slash across the throat, extending from beneath the left ear, transecting the left carotid artery, and laying open the laryngeal cartilage. The coup de grace. The second slash was low on the abdomen. This wound had not been meant to kill; it had served an entirely different purpose.

Moore swallowed hard. “I see why you called me back from vacation.”

“I’m the lead on this one,” said Rizzoli.

He heard the note of warning in her statement; she was protecting her turf. He understood where it came from, how the constant taunts and skepticism that women cops faced could make them quick to take offense. In truth he had no wish to challenge her. They would have to work together on this, and it was too early in the game to be battling for dominance.

He was careful to maintain a respectful tone. “Could you fill me in on the circumstances?”

Rizzoli gave a curt nod. “The victim was found at nine this morning, in her apartment on Worcester Street, in the South End. She usually gets to work around six a.m. at Celebration Florists, a few blocks from her residence. It’s a family business, owned by her parents. When she didn’t show up, they got worried. Her brother went to check on her. He found her in the bedroom. Dr. Tierney estimates the time of death was somewhere between midnight and four this morning. According to the family, she had no current boyfriend, and no one in her apartment building recalls seeing any male visitors. She’s just a hardworking Catholic girl.”

Moore looked at the victim’s wrists. “She was immobilized.”

“Yes. Duct tape on the wrists and ankles. She was found nude. Wearing only a few items of jewelry.”

“What jewelry?”

“A necklace. A ring. Ear studs. The jewelry box in the bedroom was untouched. Robbery was not the motive.”

Moore looked at the horizontal band of bruising across the victim’s hips. “The torso was immobilized as well.”

“Duct tape across the waist and the upper thighs. And across her mouth.”

Moore released a deep breath. “Jesus.” Staring at Elena Ortiz, Moore had a disorienting flash of another young woman. Another corpse—a blonde, with meat-red slashes across her throat and abdomen.

“Diana Sterling,” he murmured.

“I’ve already pulled Sterling’s autopsy report,” said Tierney. “In case you need to review it.”

But Moore did not; the Sterling case, on which he had been lead detective, had never strayed far from his mind.

A year ago, thirty-year-old Diana Sterling, an employee at the Kendall and Lord Travel Agency, had been discovered nude and strapped to her bed with duct tape. Her throat and lower abdomen were slashed. The murder remained unsolved.

Dr. Tierney directed the exam light onto Elena Ortiz’s abdomen. The blood had been rinsed off earlier, and the edges of the incision were a pale pink.

“Trace evidence?” asked Moore.

“We picked off a few fibers before we washed her off. And there was a strand of hair, adhering to the wound margin.”

Moore looked up with sudden interest. “The victim’s?”

“Much shorter. A light brown.”

Elena Ortiz’s hair was black.

Rizzoli said, “We’ve already requested hair samples from everyone who came into contact with the body.”

Tierney directed their attention to the wound. “What we have here is a transverse cut. Surgeons call this a Maylard incision. The abdominal wall was incised layer by layer. First the skin, then the superficial fascia, then the muscle, and finally the pelvic peritoneum.”

“Like Sterling,” said Moore.

“Yes. Like Sterling. But there are differences.”

“What differences?”

“On Diana Sterling, there were a few jags in the incision, indicating hesitation, or uncertainty. You don’t see that here. Notice how cleanly this skin has been incised? There are no jags at all. He did this with absolute confidence.” Tierney’s gaze met Moore’s. “Our unsub is learning. He’s improved his technique.”

“If it’s the same unknown subject,” Rizzoli said.

“There are other similarities. See the squared-off margin at this end of the wound? It indicates the track moves from right to left. Like Sterling. The blade used in this wound is single-edged, nonserrated. Like the blade used on Sterling.”

“A scalpel?”

“It’s consistent with a scalpel. The clean incision tells me there was no twisting of the blade. The victim was either unconscious, or so tightly restrained she couldn’t move, couldn’t struggle. She couldn’t cause the blade to divert from its linear path.”

Barry Frost looked like he wanted to throw up. “Aw, jeez. Please tell me she was already dead when he did this.”

“I’m afraid this is not a postmortem wound.” Only Tierney’s green eyes showed above the surgical mask, and they were angry.

“There was antemortem bleeding?” asked Moore.

“Pooling in the pelvic cavity. Which means her heart was still pumping. She was still alive when this . . . procedure was done.”

Moore looked at the wrists, encircled by bruises. There were similar bruises around both ankles, and a band of petechiae—pinpoint skin hemorrhages—stretched across her hips. Elena Ortiz had struggled against her bonds.

“There’s other evidence she was alive during the cutting,” said Tierney. “Put your hand inside the wound, Thomas. I think you know what you’re going to find.”

From the Hardcover edition.

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The Surgeon (Rizzoli and Isles Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1378 reviews.
nanktsc More than 1 year ago
This is my first book by this author and it was difficult to put down. I was skeptical at first, being unfamiliar with the author, but I am now a fan. I did expect Rizzoli to be more of a front character in the book, but was still very pleased with the story filled with suspense. I am looking forward to reading the sequel, which I just purchased. I would definitely recommend this book to the people who enjoy suspense thrillers and solving the mystery.
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
This was my first book I had read by this author and I enjoyed this one. It has a story that will keep you entertained for hours.
jkgott13 More than 1 year ago
Oh my gosh!!! I'm not a big review-type of person, but, I do want to say that this is a must read for those who enjoy a good murder/thriller/mystery. Well thought out and written. Draws you right in from the very first chapter!
Lannie More than 1 year ago
A serial killer strikes Boston and detective Thomas Moore, mourning his deceased wife, begins his investigation. This killer butchers his victims with expert medical knowledge and is labeled The Surgeon. While doing background research, Moore discovers that a serial killer in a distant city operated in a similar manner years earlier. That killer was finally stopped when one of his victims shot him. Dr. Catherine Cordell, that woman, now practices in Boston, and the current killer seems to be working his way closer to Catherine. Catherine fears this. So does Thomas, who is becoming emotionally attached to Catherine following his long mourning period. She had shot and killed the serial killer as he was about to make her his fourth victim so who was this guy, a ghost, a copy cat? THE SURGEON is a thrilling, sit on the edge of your seat novel. I definitely recommend!
CafeChocolats More than 1 year ago
A very good read within the contemporary Mystery-Detective genre. The plot line is about the Boston PD's efforts ("Criminal Minds" + "CSI" style) to identify and apprehend a particularly vicious sexual serial killer who has recently started to rape and kill, after a period of no activity. Dr. Catherine Cordell, a trauma surgeon, and a rape victim of 2 years, is the key to the puzzle of the why and the who of the serial killings. However, it is the contrasts in the mental outlooks of a Dr. Cordell, rape victim, and the killer, that provide a deeper human interest than normally present in detective stories. The two mind sets: a rape victim's enduring, persistent, silent and unseen trauma of "life-after-being-raped" contrasted with the killer's self-satisfaction and self-justifying thought patterns, implying that ancient societies' rites of "serial" human sacrifice legitimize his own actions
ladyluckTD More than 1 year ago
Had all the aspects I love, hospital and detective mystery, enjoyed!!
Craft-Lady More than 1 year ago
The Rizzoli and Isles Series is well written, good action, descriptive where needed, interesting, can't wait for the next book kind of read. I would recommend it to people who enjoy reading mystery, women detectives, etc.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read, entertaining very much like the show.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I discovered this book was available for a wonderful well acceptable price, I jumped at the chance to read this on my nook. I researched and found this book was part of a series so I took a chance; bought and downloaded this book and, put the next book in this series on my wish list. I think I put my expectations to high this time sadly. This book was okay to pass a boring rainy muggy day with, but it wasn't great. I was at first hooked by the plot and the beginning chapters and the authors creative touches with the medical world/ field, then everything went downhill from there. I agree with another reviewer, maybe I've just seen one too many murder/mystery shows/movies. I kept finding myself realizing that points in the book reflected many other books/TV specials/movies and then I just lost interest from there. I had to force myself to finish. I did find certain parts in the book that were well above disturbing, but that only kept my attention just so long and then dull predictability showed every other chapter. All in all, this was a decent read, but I will not be purchasing any other book from this series.
milwalk More than 1 year ago
I have read the whole series and can't wait for the new addition to them!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down!
mimisophie More than 1 year ago
Quick read. Read all the rizzoli and isles series in a week. You must read them. The rizzoli and isles series in order, starting with the surgeon. I am now reading one of her stand alone called The Bone Garden...ANOTHER page turner. Full of suspense and you go along for the ride and solve the mysteries with them. Enjoy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was hooked on this book when I opened the first page. I am a big fan of Rizzoli and Isles and noticed it was based on a book. So I picked this up to see what it was all about and I was hooked. It was a struggle to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good entry point to a series albeit without the aforementioned Isles or any real character focus to draw you in. The main character is the story.
Love2Write More than 1 year ago
This book grabbed me by the throat and didn't let go! I loved it. Excellent read!
kittyh More than 1 year ago
Great Book!! It was hard to put down and now I must read the whole series. I have them saved in a wish list to be downloaded at a later date.
snkmurray More than 1 year ago
This was a very good ebook. I cannot wait to read #2
Clarabelle-PA More than 1 year ago
This is the first Tess Gerritsen book I have read. I loved it! The characters are great, the plot full of suspense. I didn't want to but the book, or should I say my Nookster, down. I will definitely read more of her books. I have already download the next 2 books in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book I loved. It is based on the show Rizzoli and Isles which is very good. If you like suspense then this series is for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the entire Rizzoli & Isles series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Any body who loves a mystery will love this book the characters are as serious as the crime yiu will nit be able to stop rrading and enjoy it as much as i am.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love Tess!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had me from the start! It was written well and it flows. Now I have the whole series!
smik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tess Gerritsen was already a well established author when THE SURGEON launched the Jane Rizzoli series in 2001. Jane is a female detective working in a man's world in the Boston Police Department. She's recently moved from Vice and Narcotics to Homicide. She's the only woman in Homicide and already there has been trouble between her and another detective. She's a woman out to make her mark.There's a serial killer on the loose in Boston, his hallmark that he operates on his victims, removing body parts while they are still alive. Jane Rizzoli knows solving this case could be the making of her career. Her assigned partner is "Saint" Thomas Moore, the cop who never stepped over the line, never swore, never lost his cool.THE SURGEON snags the reader straightaway, opening with a prologue from the killer's point of view.Today they will find her body.Today they will know we are back.The Surgeon has a fixation of Boston doctor Catherine Cordell. His victims, we learn, are women who have already been damaged, as has Catherine Cordell, through rape. In their own ways Jane Rizzoli and Thomas Moore both step over the line, Rizzoli in a way that could mean the end of her career.The blurb on the front of the book says THE SURGEON is a page turner - as I read this on my Kindle, the "next page" button got a rapid work out.An excellent read and highly recommended.Perhaps I should warn that some of the medical details may make you a little squeamish.
crazy4reading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Surgeon is mystery, suspense novel. It is based in Boston Massachusetts and Savannah Georgia. The woman Catherine Cordell is a doctor whom was raped 2 years earlier in Savannah Georgia. She has kept the past in the past and doesn't talk about the rape. She has made her life so that she feels secure and is always on the alert for possible things to happen. Dr. Cordell now lives in Boston and the murders start again. It is believed that Catherine has killed the man responsible in Savannah.The detectives involved in this case are, Thomas Moore and Jane Rizzoli. When the first murder happens in Boston Tom and Jane have to talk to Dr. Cordell. Jane is a woman working in a mans field and always feels that she is judged differently then the men. Tom is known as Saint Thomas because he seems to never do anything wrong. I found myself wanting to read when ever I had a free moment. I would hide the book under my desk and read while everyone else was working. I found myself thinking about the story as I would fall asleep at night. The Surgeon is a well executed mystery book. Tess Gerritsen kept me on the edge of my seat during the whole book. If you are looking for a new mystery writer then give Tess Gerritsen a try.