It's right at the end of Chapter Four of THE SINNER, Tess
Gerritsen's fine new novel, that readers --- whether familiar with
Gerritsen's previous work or not --- will have to resist mightily
the temptation to stop reading to acquaint or reacquaint themselves
with the other titles in her bibliography. Continued reading of THE SINNER
will ultimately will out, if only by virtue of the fact that it's
difficult to hold two books open at once, and THE SINNER is
impossible to lay down without reading it from cover to cover. But
once a reader is done, it's time to look back at the others.
The opening of THE SINNER takes place in a cloistered convent where
the sins of the outside world have suddenly and violently intruded.
Boston medical examiner Maura Isles is called to a bloody scene
where a young novitiate lies dead and an older nun is grievously
wounded. There are a host of questions surrounding the vicious
attacks: How did the killer breach the security of the convent? Who
would attack the two nuns, and why? Isles and Boston Police
Detective Jane Rizzoli slowly and painstakingly answer these
questions from the perspective of their respective fields.
When a third, apparently unrelated victim is subsequently found,
horribly mutilated, across town, the case suddenly dovetails into
the respective pasts of Rizzoli and Isles, in ways neither of them
suspected. Both women must at the same time deal with personal
issues that by turns interfere with their abilities to make
progress on the cases while holding the key to their resolutions.
What ultimately makes THE SINNER a great, riveting read, however,
is Gerritsen's ability to draw seemingly disparate elements
together into a connective storyline while utilizing those elements
as an explosive propellant to carry the reader rapidly
THE SINNER continues the evolution of Rizzoli, who was previously
featured in Gerritsen's THE SURGEON and THE APPRENTICE, and
utilizes Isles to keep this novel moving down parallel paths toward
its ultimate resolution. If you haven't discovered Tess Gerritsen
yet, THE SINNER is a great place to start.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011