Sunday, January 9, 2011

Two out of three ain't bad

The Surgeon
Tess Gerritsen

The Surgeon, like Caesar's Gaul, is composed of three parts. It's a fast-moving, well-written tale of cops, doctors, and a serial killer, and what happens when you shake them all together in a hot Boston summer.

The medical portion is fascinating and seemingly factual - no surprise, since Ms Gerritsen is a medical doctor. The surgery and hospital procedures ring effortlessly and naturally true.

The serial killer portion is repulsive, and utterly gripping. So far as we know, Ms Gerritsen is NOT a serial killer, but her descriptions of how the mind of such a monster works makes one wonder.

It is in the police portion that the novel that falls flat. Despite crediting real-life detectives for their help, The Surgeon's police procedures resemble what one sees on TV more than how detectives actually work. The discrepancies are too many to list - suffice it to say that any page of this novel involving a detective is hackneyed, cliched, TV-flavored nonsense.

I've worked around cops and investigators for several years. This isn't how they talk, act, or work.

That Tess Gerritsen can write is beyond dispute. I thoroughly enjoyed The Surgeon and will read more of her work. I'll just accept the depictions of police work as pure entertainment.

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