The Sinner by Tess Gerritsen: Book Review
The Sinner is the third book in the Rizzoli and Isles series penned by Tess Gerritsen, an American novelist, and famous thriller writer. The novel is a medical crime thriller about the murder of a young twenty-one-year-old nun in a cloistered convent. Along with the young nun, a sixty-eight-year-old nun was also attacked brutally but survived. Detective Jane Rizzoli and Dr. Maura Isles have been allotted this case to find out who the killer was and why would he or she want to attack harmless cloistered nuns. The novel is well written, brilliantly crafted, and highly addicting. Gerritsen has this knack for piecing together jigsaw scenes of her story in their proper spaces and allotted narration times that make the book a thrilling read. The sub-plots: Rizzoli’s pregnancy, the return of Maura’s husband Victor, the sad story of the first murdered victim, as well as the mystery of another dead body found in a grimy abandoned restaurant all add up to the sensational climax that makes this thriller a very interesting and edge of the seat read. Tess Gerritsen gets four stars from me for The Sinner on Goodreads.
I picked up this thriller from the roadside book vendors in Fort, who sell all types of books on the footpath. I love to do my book shopping there as one gets some exciting and rare books. However, I also pick up some thrillers from the road if they are fresh and clean copies. I must have picked this book up in the year 2016. I love thrillers; they are my favorite genre in literature. I try and read many thrillers during the year because they lift my spirits, and I feel like I’m going home to a genre that truly understands my needs. If you want to know more about my love for thrillers, you can purchase my memoir on Amazon or my blog’s products page. The name of the memoir is Scenes of the Reclusive Writer & Reader of Mumbai. Do check it out. You will find many thrillers mentioned there that you could add to your TBR list. Tess Gerritsen is one author I have not read much, but I like her tight plots, unique ideas that stand out, and her characters’ dialogues. Robin Cook, another favorite medical thriller writer of mine, uses chronology to step up his plots. Gerritsen successfully uses only half-veiled information in critical places in her text that make her stories stand out. On reading The Sinner, one will never realize the link between the assaults on the two nuns is more profound than it seems.
The thriller starts with something on the lines of the horror genre. The prologue takes place on my turf in Andhra Pradesh, India, where a middle-aged man is on a mission to find something in a forest area near the Bora Village. Instead of finding what he is seeking, he comes upon and almost assaulted by a woman who seems to have no face. The prologue ends on that revelation, which can send the shivers up your spine. The story then proceeds with Dr. Isle and a case that she is assigned to as a post-mortem surgeon or medical examiner. She finds herself in a cloistered nuns convent where she finds her friend and detective partner Jane Rizzoli looking rather pale and wan. She is equally perturbed by the assault on the nuns and the sick look on Detective Rizzoli’s face. The plot adds exciting pieces to the puzzle, which is only partially solved towards this book’s end. After finishing the book, I have realized that Tess Gerritsen likes to link her thrillers to each other. So more of the questions regarding this book titled The Sinner will only be answered once I read the next book in the Rizzoli and Isle series.
The plot is riveting and terrifying. The winter atmosphere in a spooky cloistered convent where everyone seems to be watching each other can freak the faint-hearted who are not used to thrillers. The characters are few and familiar ones from earlier books in this series. The medical examinations done on the dead are deadly and cringe-worthy enough to make this thriller a good book for medical thriller readers. Even during the victims’ medical examination, Gerritsen manages to change the scene to an image of horror so quickly that it can leave you with goosebumps. In one place, the faint-hearted and pregnant Rizzoli even has a fall in the post mortem examination room. That fall happens so suddenly that it takes your breath away, and you want to know what happens next.
I won’t lie and say that the book was perfect. However, it was an excellent read, but it left one on a sort of cliff hanger because many sub-plots did not come to a conclusive end. But I guess the reason for that is that we should get hooked on to the Rizzoli and Isle series. It’s not that bad an idea for a hardcore thriller lover like me. Certain parts of the book were predictable, which is why the fifth star was cut from my review on Goodreads. One aspect of a particular skin disease suffered by an unknown dead victim is so clear to an Indian like me because we Indians have been living with this disease nearly all the time. So, I guessed what the condition was the moment the examination was being done. However, I’m sure that the Western reader will find it a bit of a googly because such cases have been eradicated almost permanently in developed countries.
The book otherwise is racy. If you want to, it can be finished in a day. The book can be a perfect thriller read for the weekend. Just grab your copy on Kindle and read on. It will not be highly descriptive like Robin Cook’s books nor too obsessed with the past series like Patricia Cornwell’s books. No. The Sinner is an excellent standalone medical thriller. Also, for those who like to read about the horrific side of convents and nuns, you should read this. But it is not as terrifying as a Dean Koontz thriller novel. Grab your copy of this book, and enjoy it!
I liked this book and enjoyed reviewing it for you. I hope to read and review more books published by American writers in the coming days. I also intend to analyze a lot of American short stories in my analysis section of this blog. You can check it out as well and see the American writers I’ve been analyzing so far. All this is in keeping with the current topic of the most significant American election of the century. I have many American short story collections that I am just waiting to read and analyze for you.
If you are interested in book reviews, book analysis, short story analysis, poems, essays, essay analysis, and other bookish content, you can check out my blog insaneowl.com. If you are interested in buying my books, you can check out my blog or Amazon’s products page. There is so much good stuff to buy! Happy reading to you always!
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