How do you catch a killer that has already been killed? That is the dilemma for Detectives Thomas Moore and Jane Rizzoli. A man sneaks into women’s bedrooms at night, cuts them open, rapes them, and ultimately kills them, earning him the nickname The Surgeon. His MO is exactly the same as those of a killer who was killed a few years ago, down to the details that were never released to the press. And his ultimate target may just be Dr. Catherine Cordell, the lone surviving victim from the previous crimes.
This mystery has so many strengths. It is edge of your seat thrilling, disgustingly terrifying, and full of surprises. The two detectives are grappling with their own problems–Moore’s wife died suddenly a couple of years ago and he has yet to move on and Rizzoli is working in a hostile environment where women are not welcome–and the book does a good job of bringing these issues full circle. While I don’t love where Moore’s story ended (it seems a little unrealistic and a bit convenient), I wasn’t distracted by this enough to be truly bothered.
What struck me about this is how different it is from the Rizzoli and Isles series on TV. For one thing, there is no Isles (apparently she comes into the series later). For another, Rizzoli is treated with hostility from the department, whereas in the show she is generally respected and her issues are more about her family and her personality.
If you are expecting the same lightheartedness of the TV show, you will not be finding it, but if you want an exciting mystery (and are not too squeamish), this is the book for you.