Tess Gerritsen used to be a very unique mystery writer. Her Rizzolli and Isles series featured a police officer, Jane Rizzolli, and a medical examiner, Maura Isles, whose unconventional personal lives and intense personalities made the series especially interesting to follow. Gerritsen was a writer who did blood and gore especially well. If you are into the mystery novels filled with descriptions of human entrails glistening against the snow, torture and detailed autopsies, Gerritsen was the writer for you. She never shied away from explicit scenes and, as a result, managed to create some of the most memorable serial killer novels around.
And then television happened. A very stupid show started being filmed based on Gerritsen’s novels. The Silent Girl is the first novel by Gerritsen that came out since Rizzoli & Isles hit TNT. It isn’t a bad book at all, mind you. The mystery is good, the culprit is difficult to identify, the plot has quite a few twists and turns, the book reads very easily. The problem with The Silent Girl is that it isn’t a Gerritsen novel. It’s another installment of a very mediocre TV series. Rizzoli and Isles have been transformed into good girls whose personal lives are boring enough to be suitable for prime time. To give an example, Maura Isles isn’t engaged in her long-standing affair with a priest any more. She has now turned from a cold and harsh person into a weepy, miserable creature who is all of a sudden dedicated to wannabe mothering of a teenager more than to her career. Gory scenes have been substituted with descriptions that would look good on TV: Chinatown, martial artists, an obligatory scene with a mafioso, a grieving parent or two, mythical creatures leaping from roof to roof, etc.
I used to look forward to Gerritsen’s new novels coming out. Now, however, she is no different than hundreds of other authors who produce sanitized, conventional mysteries that aim to be filmed rather than read. Until Rizzoli & Isles gets cancelled, it hardly makes any sense to read another Gerritsen mystery.
The Silent Girl will come out on July 5.