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The Surgeon [Mass Market Paperback]

Tess Gerritsen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 29 2004
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 the killer’s methods suggests that he is a deranged man of medicine, propelling the Boston newspapers to dub him “The Surgeon.” The cops’ only clue rests with the victim of a nearly identical crime: Two years ago, Dr. Catherine Cordell fought back and killed an attacker before he could complete his assault. Now this new killer is re-creating, with chilling accuracy, the details of Cordell’s own ordeal. With every new murder he seems to be taunting her, cutting ever closer, from her hospital to her home. Her only comfort comes from Thomas Moore, the detective assigned to the case. But even Moore cannot protect Cordell from a brilliant hunter who somehow understands—and savors—the secret fears of every woman he kills. . . .

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Tess Gerritsen left a very successful career as an internist to raise her children and devote more time to writing. The Surgeon, following several books that met with moderate success, is a gruesome and frightening story that should put Gerritsen among the top women thriller writers working today.

A serial killer is on the loose in Boston. The victims are killed in a particularly nasty way: cut with a scalpel on the stomach, the intestines and uterus removed, and then the throat slashed. The killer obviously has medical knowledge and has been dubbed "the Surgeon" by the media. Detective Thomas Moore and his partner Rizzoli of the Boston Homicide Unit have discovered something that makes this case even more chilling. Years ago in Savannah a serial killer murdered in exactly the same way. He was finally stopped by his last victim who shot him as he tried to cut her. That last victim is Dr Catherine Cordell, who now works as a cardiac surgeon at one of Boston's prestigious hospitals. As the murders continue, it becomes obvious that the killer is drawing closer and closer to Dr Cordell, who is becoming so frightened that she is virtually unable to function. But she is the only person who can help the police catch this copycat killer. Or is it a copycat? To complicate matters even further, Detective Moore, often referred to as Saint Thomas as he continues to mourn the loss of his wife, is getting emotionally involved with the doctor.

The suspense in The Surgeon is almost unbearable. The writing is superb and the stunning twists and turns make it almost impossible to put down. --Otto Penzler, --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

A creepy cerebral serial killer vaguely reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter pursues a charismatic female doctor in this thoroughly satisfying if somewhat derivative thriller. Skillfully drawn surgical backdrops sizzling with ER intensity balance out the obligatory romantic intrigue and familiar plucky police professionals, attesting to Gerritsen's authentic medical expertise as a former physician. Dr. Catherine Cordell, the main character in this chilling tale, thought she had shot and killed her rapist and would-be murderer two years earlier in steamy Savannah, where he was a surgery intern at her hospital. 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, then surgically removes their wombs. 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. Gliding as smoothly as a scalpel in a confident surgeon's hand, this tale proves that Gerritsen (Harvest; Life Support; Bloodstream; Gravity), originally a romance writer, has morphed into a dependable suspense novelist whose growing popularity is keeping pace with her ever-finer writing skills. (Sept.)Forecast: National print advertising in People, the New York Times and USA Today, plus a major promotion campaign, will ratchet Gerritsen's sales up yet another notch.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chillingly Realistic Suspenseful Thriller Aug. 27 2001
Internist Tess Gerritsen's medical knowledge adds an eerie realism to this novel of mystery and suspense. As the lone survivor of serial killer Andrew Capra, Dr. Catherine Cordell escapes the horror she lived in Savannah to go to Boston and starts to put her life back together again. Though she rarely goes anywhere besides the hospital and lives in a very secure apartment, she is able to function very adequately in her position as a surgeon at Pilgrim Medical Center. But her sense of relative security is short-lived as a new serial killer emerges in Boston, and the killings are uncannily similar to those, which occurred in Savannah two years ago. Okay-Andrew Capra is dead, shot by Dr. Cordell, his almost-victim. Thus begins the quest for the new culprit. The endless possibilities add to the allure of this novel: Dr. Cordell, perhaps, a copycat killer, someone avenging Capra's death? Enter Boston's finest, "St. Thomas Moore", the detective who still brandishes a wedding band two years after the death of his wife, Jane Rizzoli, lone female detective out to prove her worth, Darren Crowe, resident male chauvinist. Moore and Rizzoli are a fine addition to this cast of characters-Moore struggles with his attraction to Catherine while Rizzoli struggles to succeed in a male -dominated profession while trying to understand her jealousy of Catherine. THE SURGEON plays like a finely tuned piano, each chord blending in harmony leading to the final resolution. The skillful use of medical terminology as well as the knowledge of anatomy, while somewhat gruesome, adds a chilling sense of reality to the murders. And, as the clues unfold, leading to the identity of the killer, the reader experiences a sense of dread as to who the next victim will be. Lights will stay on all night for this novel that is impossible to put down, and once finished, you won't want to sleep in the dark.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Gruesome Serial Killer Book Nov. 7 2007
By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A serial killer is brutally raping then removing body parts from his victims. The trail leads the police to a victim who escaped from her assailant two years ago. The crimes are identical, only the previous victim managed to kill her rapist before he killed her. Are the police dealing with a copycat killer?

This was a gruesome, bloody serial killer book. I enjoyed the hard, edgy story. My main problem with the book was that I didn't enjoy the main female character, Jane Rizzoli. She is a bitter, man-hating type of woman which, personally, I found tedious and annoying. She shared equal page time with the main male character though, who I did like. This is also not the type of mystery where you can guess the killer, the killer is an unknown and the story is more about how the police track him/her down than who he/she is. I do prefer the thrill of trying to guess the killer. But overall, the story was compelling and scary and I'm enough interested to want to read the next in the series. I'm interested in seeing if Rizzoli grows as a character, as there were indications in this novel that she might.
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By Haseeb
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The person who wrote this book is actually a real life MD (specializing in Internal Medicine) who gave up her career to write full time. This book she wrote is nothing short of brilliance. Not only was she able to use her medical expertise to write out all of the gory details of the killings, but she does well in putting together great detective work and really makes some interesting and believeable characters.
The story is centered around the search for a serial killer who performs hyterectomies on women in the Boston area while they are still alive and then kills them. The killer is called the surgeon because he seems to have skills that only someone with specialized medical training should have. The killings seem strikingly similar to the style of another killer over two years ago in Savanna, Georga. But the killer in Georga was killed by his would-be victim (Catherine Cordell). One would think that maybe it's just coincidental that another killer just happened to have the same style as another killer who was killed over two years ago. The possiblility of it just being a coincidence was shattered when the police realized that the same woman (Catherine Cordell) who killed the killer two years ago is now living in Boston. The killer starts taunting Catherine by writing her email messages and even writes a message to her on a victim's body. But what is this killer's link to what happened in Georga and why is Catherine being targeted?
Another part of the story focuses on the relationship of a male detective (Thomas Moore) with Catherine and the building resentment of a female detective. It also takes us into the world of a female detective's struggle for recognition and respect on the police force.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and intense Dec 17 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I liked this book but feel compelled to say that many avid mystery and thriller readers will find it not to their taste-it features graphic scenes of sexual violence towards women ,and indeed has an atmosphere of violence so potent as to touch every aspect of the story.Add to this the detailed description of surgical procedures heavy on blood and viscera and you have a novel from which many will flinch.All I can say to such people is "respect "but if you feel the violence is gratuitious then I must demur.The unflinching honesty of the book and its writer extends to not glossing over the physical and emotional distress that violence-and more especially sexual violence-causes its victims,It is tantamount to bereavement in the loss of self confidence and despair that it inflicts on the post trauma lives of those who are the prey of the vile and depraved who prey upon those weaker than themselves-or simply less prepared .
The setting is Boston -a city where the eponymous killer is at work ;his victims are all women who have been raped some weeks before and his modus operandi is surgical mutilation ,namely the removal of the vagina .His particular target is the capable and controlled surgeon Dr Catherine Cordell who when living in Savannah had killed a trainee doctor Andrew Capra who had tried to kill her using the same methods as "the surgeon ".He targets her for a campaign of terror ,
The novel pays attention not merely to Catherine but to the police seeking the killer and in particular to the only female cop ,Rizzoli -driven ,marginalised by her own family and harrassed by most of her colleagues who feel homicide is no place for a woman She is not only marginalised by others but in dreadful danger of allowing their attitude to marginalise herself in her own eyes..
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a good book
This is a 4.5 rating.
Why not a 5.0 like the three books
I read from Tess, because, this story
was a bit as expected with serial Killers. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Alain_in_Ottawa
5.0 out of 5 stars The Surgeon
The Surgeon is a brilliantly written medical thriller, that will have you gripped and terrified from page one until you finish the novel. Read more
Published 4 months ago by coccotoro
The Surgeon has been dubbed Rizzoli and Isles book #1 and even though it was a very good read I think anyone coming here as a fan of the TV series will be disappointed as the only... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Buggy
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
I could not put it down. This book grabs you from the start and doesn't let go. I have read several books by this author and have yet to be disappointed. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Shawn Sinclair
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Worthwhile Read-Exciting Book!
This was the first I have read of Gerritsen's books, and it was a good one!
Catherine Cordell is a surgeon who is highly skilled in repairing broken people's bodies. Read more
Published on July 5 2004 by J. Kirkman
4.0 out of 5 stars The Surgeon - lock your doors
A great read. Kept me up reading long after everyone else was asleep. The ending could have been a little more exciting but was a book that made me lock my doors.
Published on March 23 2004 by Sara Rose
4.0 out of 5 stars Ends very well, but 1st half drags
I am glad I stuck it out and finished this book. The second half is far better and far faster than the first. Read more
Published on March 13 2004 by "ake465"
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Story
I really enjoyed this story. It is a murder mystery, but also a contemporary romance. Dr. Catherine Cordell was almost killed by an attacker years ago. Read more
Published on March 10 2004 by Elizabeth
5.0 out of 5 stars Gerritsen is in a Class by Herself
This was the first book I read by Ms. Gerritsen, and I quickly became a fan. She is absolutely the best at medical thrillers. Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2004 by A. E. Emerson
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Bestseller!
Dr. Catherine Cordell, a trauma surgeon at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, is trying to get her life back. Read more
Published on Dec 16 2003 by A. Vegan
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