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Two Heroines Make the Sinner Twice as Good
Posted by Julie Singer on 7/31/2005
Usually I can tell who the protagonist in a novel is right off the bat, lots of times just by reading the inside flap of a hard cover or the back of a paperback. But in this more than excellent thriller/mystery from Tess Gerritsen I had a hard time deciding if the novel belonged to Boston Medical Examiner Maura Isles or Police Detective Jane Rizzoli. In a well written suspense story told from the third person point of view, we get to wander around in the head of enough people to make the book interesting, usually four or five, but not so many that it becomes confusing, however we spend most of the time with our protag. In this book, however, Ms. Gerritsen seems to have divided our head time more or less equally between these two very well crafted characters and she's done it so well that it's frightening.
Dr. Maura Isles is called to a crime scene on a snowy day before Christmas, two nuns in a cloistered order have been attacked, one killed. Detective Jane Rizzoli is already at the scene. Maura discovers the dead nun was pregnant during the autopsy, Rizzoli faints, something this hard as nails cop has never done, but she can't help it, she's pregnant too and she doesn't know if she's going to keep the child as the father is FBI agent Gabriel Dean, who she had a brief affair with and is now back in Washington, a long way from Boston.
During the course of the investigation, Maura and Rizzoli discover that the surviving nun had spent two years in a leper colony in India, then later a body turns up with leprosy, however the face, hands and feet had been removed to hide the disease. Rizzoli and Maura wonder if there could be a connection and the FBI does too. Enter agent Dean to represent the Feds and further complicate Rizzoli's life. Should she tell him about the baby or not? Are the bodies related or not? And is the death of an executive from a major chemical company that just happened to have a plant upwind from that leper colony in India related? How many more are going to die? Maura gets close. The killer has his eyes on her. Can Rizzoli stop him?
There is a lot to take in in this fast moving story that will have you anticipating as much as it will have you guessing. After reading THE APRENTICE I couldn't imagine how Ms. Gerritsen could get any better, but she has, each one of her books is better than the last and that is really saying something.
Posted by S. Gould on 8/23/2003
'The Sinner' takes off where 'The Apprentice' left off, following the pursuits of homicide detective Jane Rizzoli as she investigates the brutal deaths of two cloistered nuns. Rizzoli's assisted by the attractive but aloof new medical examiner, Maura Isles. Isles is a woman running from her recent breakup with ex husband Victor Banks, the handsome and devoted leader of One Earth an organization dedicated to solving health care needs in impoverished countries.
Rizzoli and Isles are each at turning points in their own lives and are both obsessed with these brutal deaths. Together they piece together a strange trail of events leading to the murders. As usual, Gerritsen fully develops her characters and their relationships and so carefully details her story that it appears to have been taken from the pages of an investigator's journal. You leave this book feeling you truly know Rizzoli and Isles and the final unravelling of the investigation with its many turns and twists will surprize the most experienced mystery reader. Enjoy!
Posted by N. Sausser on 3/14/2004
Two nuns are brutally attacked within the walls of a cloistered convent (one of the nuns survives the attack and the reason she survives is revealed eventually and it just blew my mind. Very, very clever). Detective Jane Rizzoli and Medical Examiner Maura Isles are among the first on the scene. At first glance, it seems obvious what happened. One of the nuns who was attacked was young and attractive and had recently given birth. The priest for the nuns is also young and attractive...but no. There is more to this mystery. Much more. The pages of this book just fly by. I have enjoyed Gerritsen's previous novels, but she has outdone herself with this one. I hated to see it come to an end. An exceptionally good read.
Posted by NancyLeeIL on 9/2/2003
It's Labor Day weekend. Lots of outside plans. Lots of unexpected rain...and...
...that's a very good thing. Instead of walking the craft fair and barbequing...I got to stay in and read...the whole book.
I have read both other books in this series, The Surgeon and The Apprentice...and The Sinner...is definitely my favorite to date. Very interesting plot, intermingling of characters, alot of twists and turns.
I'm not an avid fad of reviews that tell you alot about a book so I won't.
It's a great mystery/thriller.
Just enjoy. I know I did.
Exciting and emotionally deep
Posted by booksforabuck on 10/23/2003
Dr. Maura Isles sees a lot of death--the cops even called her Queen of the Dead. Still, the two nuns, one murdered, the other near death, are a little much to take. When she discovers that the younger nun had recently given birth, the mystery seems largely solved. But deeper currents run through the mystery and soon the feds bring in evidence connecting this and other murders to a massacre that took place in distant India. Isles pushes herself to continue the investigation, to find the possible connection. What she finds is more damaging than she could have imagined. In a strange way, even Isles becomes a victim.
Detective Jane Rizzoli suspects that she may be pregnant as a result of a brief affair with a fed. The autopsy on the dead nun's baby pushes her to the limit. But she swears she'll find out the truth. The truths she finds, however, are about something deeper than simply crime.
Author Tess Gerritsen writes an emotionally compelling and exciting adventure. Both Isles and Rizzoli are sympathetic characters caught up in the aftereffects of terrible crimes and in their own emotional nightmares. Each has built a protective shell, but the mystery that they uncover together shreds those shells, leaving them exposed to a world more terrible than even they had wanted to believe. Gerritsen's highly professional writing and her obvious technical understanding of the medical procedures adds to the reader's enjoyment of this exciting story.
A prologue gives the reader more information than the protagonists enjoy about the motives behind the mystery, I'm not sure this was necessary or helpful, but it does add a different type of suspense to the story as we wonder how Isles and Rizzoli will be able to trace the murders back to their cause. THE SINNER is an interesting and emotionally satisfying story. Once I started it, I found I couldn't do anything else until I'd finished it.