The Apprentice, by Tess Gerritsen

>> Monday, November 08, 2010

TITLE: The Apprentice
AUTHOR: Tess Gerritsen

PAGES: 400
PUBLISHER: Ballantine

SETTING: Contemporary Boston
TYPE: Mystery
SERIES: 2nd in the Rizzoli / Isles series

REASON FOR READING: I loved The Surgeon, the first in the series.

I know I am not the only one of my kind who walks this earth. Somewhere, there is another. And he waits for me…

The Surgeon has been locked up for a year but his chilling legacy still haunts the city, and especially Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli. For now a new killer is at work and Rizzoli senses something horrifyingly familiar about this murderer’s modus operandi. Grim coincidence? Or more terrifying still, could these two monsters have somehow made contact?

It’s when the FBI starts taking an interest in the investigation that Rizzoli begins to wonder just what makes this case so different, so dangerous that the Feds feel the need to get involved. But then the unthinkable happens: the Surgeon escapes. And suddenly there are two brilliant, twisted killers on the loose – master and apprentice, united in their hunt for the most challenging prey of all: the very woman who is hunting them…
If you're new to Gerritsen's Jane Rizzoli/Maura Isles series, I suggest that you don't start with this one. The Surgeon would be a much better starting point, as The Apprentice is a sort of continuation of that story.

When Jane Rizzoli is called in to have a look at a case outside her normal jurisdiction, she immediately gets why the detective in charge called her in. There are some very disquieting similarities to the murders committed by the Surgeon, which is weird, as the Surgeon has been in jail since Jane got to him at the end of book 1.

Unfortunately, she and the detective who called her in are the only ones who find this to be grounds for concern. Everyone else seems to think Jane is just still obsessed with the Surgeon case and not ready to let it go, seeing it in every unrelated murder. The only other person who seems to see what she's seeing is an FBI agent, Gabriel Dean, although why he's so interested, Jane has no idea.

The set-up of The Apprentice reminded me of Nora Roberts' most recent single title, The Search, but these are completely different books. While The Search is very much a romance, with a suspense subplot, The Apprentice is all police procedural, albeit with a bit of romance going on in the background.

The case and investigation were as well done as those in the first book. This is one scary killer, and the fact that the police are still more than a match for him makes this a very satisfying mystery to read. But the best aspect was again the characters, especially Jane. This is as much about who she is and how she feels as she investigates the case, as it is about the investigation itself. It's clear that the Surgeon case has had a big impact on her, and she hasn't completely recovered from it. But she feels she has to go on, and she doggedly does all she can, whether she's really ready for it or not.

The only aspect that didn't really work for me was the introduction of Gabriel Dean. First, I thought it was a bit weird that Jane and her colleagues didn't insist much more strongly and early on knowing exactly why he was interested in this case. After all, nothing they knew explained this interest, so it was obvious there must be more going on, probably something that might help solve the case. And when we find out exactly what Agent Dean is hiding, this is exactly so. Why didn't he share as soon as he was sure this was what he suspected? Why didn't Jane insist earlier? I'm afraid the only reasons I can think of have more to do with the author wanting to pace the plot in a particular way than with any decent police work.

Second, I wasn't too thrilled with the more personal Agent Dean / Jane relationship, either. That whole thing kind of came out of nowhere. I usually see this stuff coming, but I didn't here, and it just felt a bit weird.

Still, this was a good one, and I look forward to continuing with the series. Maura Isles is finally introduced in this book, and though we don't get much of her, she sounds interesting.



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