Tess Gerritsen

Tess Gerritsen Wiki

Tess Gerritsen Rizzoli and Isles

Born Terry Gerritsen, the award-winning and bestselling author Tess Gerritsen M.D. is a Chinese-American novelist. She’s a daughter of a Chinese-American seafood chef and a Chinese immigrant. She grew up in San Diego, California and graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology from Stanford University. Tess Gerritsen continued her medical studies at the University of California in San Francisco and received her medical degree in 1979. She went on to practice her profession as a physician in Honolulu, Hawaii before becoming a writer.

Wanting to feminize her name, Tess Gerritsen changed hers from Terry into Tess. When asked what made her pursue a career in writing, Tess Gerritsen said she dreamt of writing her own stories like in the Nancy Drew novels ever since she was a kid. However, Tess Gerritsen’s dreams of becoming a writer was put on-the-side after her family’s intervention and reservations regarding gaining a lucrative career in writing. So, she became a doctor.

When she went on maternity leave with her first child, Tess Gerritsen wrote a short story titled “On Choosing the Right Crack Seed” that she entered in a fiction writing contest sponsored by the Honolulu Magazine. Tess Gerritsen won the price and received five hundred dollars for it.

Tess Gerritsen started writing full time after that, leaving her medical career in the process after she answered her long time calling.

“Adventure’s Mistress” (published in 1985) and “Love’s Masquerade” (published in 1986), both unpublished but are currently listed in the Library of Congress, were Tess Gerritsen’s first novels. These romance novels have a nice enough storyline but wasn’t as good as her suspense thriller and suspense mystery novels.

In the year after she did “Love’s Masquerade”, Tess Gerritsen finally made her breakthrough when she changed genres and penned her first romantic thriller “Call After Midnight”, which was bought by Harlequin Intrigue and was subsequently published in 1987. Shifting from romance to suspense brought Tess Gerritsen to the bestseller lists, establishing herself as a credible and reputable writer. “Call After Midnight” became a Sunday Times bestseller and it was followed by eleven more suspense novels, eight of which were for Harper Paperbacks and Harlequin Intrigue. Tess Gerritsen has been constantly included in the bestseller lists ever since.

Tess Gerritsen has penned other stand-alone novels before starting the Rizzoli and Isles series. There’s “Under the Knife” in 1990, “Whistleblower” and “Never Say Die” in 1992, Presumed Guilty in 1993, “Peggy Sue Got Murdered” (also known as “Girl Missing”) and “In Their Footsteps” in 1994 and “Thief of Hearts” in 1995.

Writing what she knows best, Tess Gerritsen penned her first medical thriller titled “Harvest” in 1996, marking her debut in the New York Time bestseller list. Terry Gerritsen wrote more on the same genre with suspense and mystery undertones. When asked about the inspiration behind “Harvest”, Tess Gerritsen mentioned that she was inspired by a conversation she had with a retired homicide detective, who travelled in Russia, and the young orphans that vanished from the streets of Moscow, making the police believe that these children were kidnapped and sold overseas as organ donors. “Harvest” was the first of Tess Gerritsen’s highly successful medical thrillers. It was followed by “Life Support”, which was published in 1997, “Bloodstream” in 1998, Gravity in 1999 and The Bone Garden in 2007.

Throughout her more than a decade of writing fiction, and with approximately twenty-six stories under her belt, Tess Gerritsen’s commercial success can be attributed to her Rizzoli and Isles suspense/mystery book series, which started with her 2001 novel “The Surgeon”. Terry Gerritsen received a RITA award for Best Romantic Suspense Novel in 2002 for “The Surgeon”.

The Rizzoli and Isles book series centers on two women who help solve crimes and mysteries. Although initially a secondary character in “The Surgeon”, Boston Detective Jane Rizzoli (from the Rizzoli and Isles series) has since become a main protagonist in the succeeding novels along with Dr. Maura Isles, the medical examiner. The Rizzoli and Isles book series prompted television executives in TNT to green-light a TV adaptation, which became a success unlike James Patterson’s “Women’s Murder Club”.

Tess Gerritsen garnered more accolades when “Vanish”, the fifth book in the Rizzoli and Isles series, has been awarded the Nero Award for Best Mystery Novel and nominated for Macavity Award and Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America in 2006. The Rizzoli and Isles book series currently spans nine full length novels and one short story (Freaks), with a tenth installment titled “Last To Die” due to be released in August 2012.

The Rizzoli and Isles reading order is as follows: The Surgeon, The Apprentice, The Sinner, Body Double, Vanish, The Mephisto Club, Keeping The Dead, Ice Cold, The Silent Girl and Last To Die.

With most of her novels from 2001 to 2012 focusing on the Rizzoli and Isles series, Tess Gerritsen wrote “The Bone Garden” in 2007. The novel is a stand-alone thriller inspired by the grisly murders that took place in 1830s Boston. Another bestseller, “The Bone Garden,” which is loosely connected to the Rizzoli and Isles book series through Dr. Maura Isles, has been lauded as a page-turner, historical medical thriller that believably gave readers a glimpse of 19th century medicine in Boston. Tess Gerritsen’s familiar suspenseful writing and her masterful rendering of the historical details in the story, complete with gruesome descriptions of the murders, gave “The Bone Garden” a dark, mysterious undertone told through the eyes of the main protagonist Norris Marshall, whose character is loosely based on Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Because of the dynamic characters in the Rizzoli and Isles book series, TNT (an American television network) has adapted the book series into a television show. It stars Angie Harmon (Crossing Jordan, Women’s Murder Club and Law & Order) as Jane Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander (NCIS, Presidio Med and Wasteland) as Dr. Maura Isles. The Rizzoli and Isles TV series is now on its third season in TNT, airing every Tuesdays at 9PM.

As one of her side projects, Tess Gerritsen wrote the screenplay for the 1993 CBS made for television movie “Adrift” starring Kate Jackson and Bruce Greenwood. Tess Gerritsen also collaborated with other bestselling authors – Raymond Khoury, David Baldacci, Faye Kellerman, Jeffrey Deaver, Michael Palmer, Jeff Lindsay, T Jefferson Parker, Jeff Abbott, John Lescroart, Lori Armstrong, Thomas H Cook, Kathy Reichs, Diana Gabaldon, Jonathan Santlofer, Alexander McCall Smith, Sandra Brown, R L Stine, Andrew F Gulli, Lamia Gulli, Peter James, Marcia Talley, J A Jance, Gayle Lynds, Phillip Margolin, Matthew Pearl, Marcus Sakey and Lisa Scottoline – in the 2011 suspense thriller novel titled “No Rest For The Dead”.

Tess Gerritsen also contributed to seven omnibus collections with other notable writers such as Lynn Barbara Delinsky, Jayne Anne Krentz, Stella Cameron, Linda Lael Miller, Mary Lynn Baxter, Debra Webb, Amanda Stevens, Muriel Jensen and Annette Broadrick. Some of Tess Gerritsen’s previous titles are sold as omnibus collections as well.

So far, there are more than fifteen million of Tess Gerritsen’s books sold worldwide and published in thirty-one countries. Because of her style and success, Tess Gerritsen has won the approval of several prominent writers such as Stephen King and James Patterson. Stephen King even described her as “better than Michael Crichton”.

There is a dedicated Rizzoli and Isles wiki where characters in the book and television series (i.e. Gabriel Dean, Casey Jones, Ethan, Lieutenant Detective Sean Cavanaugh, Joey Grant, et cetera), apart from Rizzoli and Isles characters, are profiled there. Detailed information about Tess Gerritsen books in order can be accessed in the Tess Gerritsen wiki page and in the official Tess Gerritsen website.

Tess Gerritsen now lives in Maine with her husband, Jacob Gerritsen, and their two sons, writing and being a full-time mother.