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Tess Gerritsen Books In Order

Updated on September 11, 2014

What Is The Order In Which I Should Read The Tess Gerritsen Books?

For most people the Tess Gerritsen books in order immediately mean the Rizzoli/Isles series because this is her most popular series and it's quite loved on TV as well. Her previously published books were pretty much stand alone novels - be it romance, romantic suspense or medical thrillers (some of my favorites of her writings actually).

So with all these many books under her belt, many people ask with good reason "What is the order in which I should read your books?".

Having read all Tess Gerritsen's books including her now famous series that has been turned into a TV show, I'd say yes, these books should be read in the order of publication. However the romance novels and her medical thrillers can be read in any order at all, each of them is a stand alone novel that has no connection to other books by this author.

For the longer version and to see why the book series should be read in chronological order, read my reviews of each book below and judge for yourself. While at times it's simply a matter of doing it because it's the 'normal order', at times reading them that way is because you will better be able to understand what is going on with the characters and their progression over time.

The latest Rizzoli & Isles book is called Die Again and it's available from December this year. I can't wait, it's already on preorder.

The Rizzoli And Isles Series - Her Most Popular Book List

The Rizzoli & Isles series is Tess Gerritsen's most famous work. She has so far published three types of books: romance novels, medical thrillers and the mystery series involving the pair Rizzoli And Isles. Interestingly enough when I first started reading her books I was hooked on her medical thrillers.

I was a medical thriller addict so to speak, devouring everything from Robin Cook to Michael Palmer to Peter Clement and finding Tess Gerritsen's books was a great addition to my ever growing library.

Of course once reading her medical mysteries I went on checking her other books and this is when I came across the very first few Rizzoli/Islens novels. At that point she had only written 3, so it was easy to keep up with what Tess Gerritsen would write next. So here is a quick overview of the full list of her Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles books in order of publication.

  1. The Surgeon (Rizzoli & Isles Book #1) - The Surgeons is the first book in the Rizzoli/Isle series, published in 2001. This book introduced the detective Jane Rizzoli.

  2. The Apprentice (Rizzoli & Isles Book #2) - Published in 2002 this is the second book in the Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles, where medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles is introduced.

  3. The Sinner (Rizzoli & Isles Book #3) - The Sinner, the third book in the Rizzoli/isles series was first published in 2003.

  4. Body Double (Rizzoli & Isles Book #4) - The next book, Body Double is the 4th in the already popular series, having been published in 2004.

  5. Vanish (Rizzoli & Isles Book #5) - Vanish is the 5th book in the series being published in 2005.

  6. The Mephisto Club (Rizzoli & Isles Book #6) - And here we have the 6th book published in 2006.

  7. The Keepsake( Rizzoli & Isles Book #7) - Next we have The Keepsakes, the 7th book in the Rizzoli & Isles series, published in 2008.

    Note: the UK edition of this book was called Keeping the Dead

  8. Ice Cold (Rizzoli & Isles Book #8) - Ice Cold is the 8th book in the famous series by Tess Gerritsen and it was published in 2010.

    Note: the UK edition of this book is called The Killing Place

  9. The Silent Girl (Rizzoli & Isles Book #9) - Published in 2011, The Silent Girl is the 9th book in the Rizzoli & Isles series.

  10. Last to Die (Rizzoli & Isles Book #10) - Last to Die is so far the latest published book in the Rizollo/Isles series by Tess Gerritsen, having been published in August 2012.

  11. Die Again (Rizzoli & Isles Book #11) - This book will be released December 2014-January 2015. I can't wait!

The Surgeon (Rizzoli & Isles Book #1)

he Surgeon is the first book in the Rizzoli & Isles series. I picked up this book after I've already read her medical thrillers which I enjoyed very much.

The Surgeon is basically a vicious serial killer. You know how people and the news tend to give names to serial killers (The Butcher, etc). Well, The Surgeon is his name due to the way he kills his victims (without going into details, it's a very nasty way of doing it).

The police soon figured out that the killer must have some medical knowledge, so the name stuck. In this first book we meet detective Rizzoli who works on solving the case along with her partner detective Thomas Moore. Without giving away the plot, it's full of twists and turns and it's really gripping. Beware if you like to read your books in the middle of the night!

I think one reason why I really got drawn to this book early on was because I was already in love with her medical mysteries, and this particular novel was not far away from that genre - afterall it all happens in medical circles, so the transition to the Rizzoli and Isles was quite easy from here on.

The Apprentice (Rizzoli & Isles Book #2)

The Apprentice is the second book in the Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen. Well, this is a prime example why you should read the Tess Gerritsen books in order, at least the Rizzoli & Isles series.

If I hadn't picked up The Surgeon first, I don't think I'd have understood this second book so well, because basically the story line builds up from the first . It is again all about the serial killer who was seemingly put behind bars - so how can he still kill at large?

A very chilling story that makes you turn the pages right from the start to the last page. It's engrossing and doesn't get boring at all, even for a second. The more I read this series, the more it really grew on me.

The Sinner (Rizzoli & Isles Book #3)

The Sinner is the third book in this engrossing serial killer series that once you start, you simply have to go on to see what happens next. This is the first book where Dr Maura Isles and detective Jane Rizzoli really work together as a team. I like the interaction between the two.

Here we are dealing with the murder of a nun (hence the name The Sinner?), however soon two previous killings are also discovered and linked to this third one.

I found this book quite scary and a real page turner. I might be biased though as I really love the type of books that in one of our book circles we call "sick sh*t thriller*, which is all about gruesome murders by serial killers. And this book really doesn't disappoint. I actually found myself even more engrossed in this book than in the previous two. Absolutely recommended!

Body Double (Rizzoli & Isles Book #4)

The 4th book in the series follows the story line introduced in The Sinner. Here we are faced with a gruesome discovery: the body that is lying on her table is that of Dr. Isles...or is it? At least it looks pretty much like her. And that's why a pregnant Rizzoli is totally confused when she sees her friend and partner coming home from a then who is the person at the morgue?

With such an interesting premise, how can we not read the book? I've read it in one sitting and I was not sorry for the hours I've spent on it. It's really a great read, full of suspense, gore and surprises every single chapter. A great read for any fans of serial killer novels.

Vanish (Rizzoli & Isles Book #5)

Vanish is the 5th installment in the Rizzoli&Isles series and it's just as engrossing as the previous books. Here Jane Rizzoli is still pregnant and becomes a hostage in a terrible hostage situation. This time dr Maura Isles works together with the husband of Jane to try to free Jane. One of the things I like a lot in Tess Gerritsen's book is that the suspense starts practically on the first page sucking you in to read without to stop until the last page.

Just imagine of the scenes: Maura is in the hospital doing her routine work when she opens a body bag only to realize that the woman is not dead. Not only that, but she is the one who takes Jane as hostage and kills some others. How's that for a starting cliffhanger?

Personally I like how Tess Gerritsen still keeps at the medical thriller genre, even if she's crossed over to the serial killer theme. She works both brilliantly together and I think this is one of her major charms when it comes to this series.

The Mephisto Club (Rizzoli & Isles Book #6)

Book #6 in the famous Tess Gerritsen series finds Maura and Jane in the middle of Christmas with a gruesome murder where the words I HAVE SINNED are written in blood next to a murder victim. This is an interesting case that almost touches on the supernatural. If you like reading books about demons and evil from 'beyond' and ancient mythology , then you'll love this book.

As for the relationship between the two main characters, in this book they seem much closer as friends than before. It shows that they really grow together as a team and they start to understand each other beyond the basics. I like following them how they evolve throughout the novels.

Did You Know...

The series prompted a TV show by TNT which is already at season 5. The show is already rumored to be renewed for a 6th season.

Janet Rizzoli is played by Angie Harmon and Dr. Maura Isles is played by Sasha Alexander.

The Keepsake (Rizzoli & Isles Book #7)

The Keepsake is the 7th book in the Rizzoli and Isles series. In the UK it was published under the name Keeping the Dead. This book is just as gripping as the previous ones. The tension doesn't leave one bit. I liked the premise of this installment: a mummy is discovered in a museum. While initially everyone believed that the mummy is ancient as it should be, it all becomes a gruesome reality to realize that it's indeed a recent murder victim mummified. How chilling is that?

Shortly other bodies are discovered nearby and it is all evident that yet another serial killer is on the lose. A very fast pacing read with tons of twists and turns and gripping edge of the seat scenes.

Also something that I truly love in this series (in every single book) is that I can't predict how the books end and who the killer is. Usually I'm pretty good at figuring it out at least by the middle of the book. Not here, not in the Rizzoli&Isles series. It always starts with a bang and ends with another bang. Awesome!

Ice Cold (Rizzoli & Isles Book #8)

Ice Cold is the 8th book in the captivating series (with the title The Killing Place in the UK) and the premises seem to be even more gruesome than in the previous books. Can you imagine going to a ghost town where everything looks normal except there are no people anywhere? This is exactly the situation that dr. Maura Isles comes across when she takes a ski trip with friends after attending a medical conference in Wyoming.

Soon Jane Rizzoli gets news that Maura's body has been found burned in the mountains. Is now Maura really dead? And what exactly happened in the wilderness? And where is everyone?

The novel is a real roller coaster from the start to finish. The mystery is dense and I like the interaction between the characters. And again it was one story that I couldn't figure out who the killer was until the last page.

The Silent Girl (Rizzoli & Isles Book #9)

Talk about starting the story line with a bang. A severed hand is discovered in a Chinatown alley so it's up to detective Rizzoli to find the person the hand belongs to - and she does just that in this new book called The Silent Girl - right on the rooftop nearby. This is just one great opening to the book where you simply have to keep reading to find out what happens next.

Basically the main plot evolves around some mass killing in Chinatown from about 19 years before and if you like reading about Chinese traditions and history, along with following a great detective at work, this book will be right up your alley.

The plot is thick with twists and turns as usual. I think however that this is the first book where I found the closeness of the two main characters a bit lacking, as if the plot was more important than character development. It was still a great read though, one that I highly recommend!

Last to Die (Rizzoli & Isles Book #10)

Last to Die is the latest installment of the Rizzoli/Isles series. Published very recently, in August 2012, it is already available to buy at Amazon and other bookstores. I've read this book in the downloadable edition as I didn't want to wait until it got shipped to my home, and I have to say that the latest book really packs a punch. Here we are dealing about a serial killer who targets entire families.

Teddy Clock is the sole survivor of the massacre from years ago when a killer murdered his entire family. He was put in the meantime with a foster family to live with, and now he's just escaped another massacre, this time the killer barely leaving him alive when killing his entire new family - again. He is then taken to a hidden safe house where he meets other children with the same fate and situation. Who is after these children and who is the last to die?

And this the gruesome premise for this new novel. Again, only when reading the book to the last page I realized who the killer was. I can't believe that in all the 10 books I simply couldn't figure it out. The story is so well written that even if you try to guess, in most cases you'll simply get it wrong leaving you with a 'Oh boy!' at the end of the great read.

Check Out Some Of The Funniest Moments Of An Otherwise Gruesome And Chilling TV Series - The Rizzoli And Isles TNT TV Show

Do You Prefer The Books Or The TV Series?

Do You Prefer The Books Or The TV Series?

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Tess Gerritsen Medical Thrillers

The Bone Garden: A Novel
The Bone Garden: A Novel

The Bone Garden, published in 2007 is one of her best stand alone thrillers, however this also includes in a secondary role medical examiner Maura Isles, who is a major player in the Rizzoli & Isles series.. The book is not, however, part of the Rizzoli/isles series. This is more like historical medical murder mystery.

Getting a glimpse of dr. Isles, this is what she looks like, as described by the main character Julia Hamill:

" unsettling sort of woman, neither friendly nor unfriendly, with ghostly pale skin and Goth-black hair."


Tess Gerritsen Books In Order - Medical Thrillers

Before starting with her Rizzoli and Isles murder mystery series, Tess Gerritsen has written a number of medical thrillers that are just as gripping as her later novels. In fact these are the first books by her that I've read before checking out what else she has written and stumbled across the serial killer series.

Ever since I picked her first book Harvest, I was hooked - and I'm still hooked after reading all the suspense novels that she's ever written.

Here are the medical thrillers written by Tess Gerritsen in order of publishing:

* Harvest, published 1996

* Life Support, published 1997

* Bloodstream, published 1998

* Gravity, published 1999

* The Bone Garden, published 2007

* Girls Missing, published 2009

My hardcover copy of Bloodstream


Tess Gerritsen Romance Novels

Early Romance Novels By Tess Gerritsen - In Order Of Publication

It took me a while to realize that Tess Gerritsen has also written romance novels in her 'younger days' so to speak. I've started reading them after I've read everything else by her, fearing that I won't like them. I usually don't like soapy, honey dripping romances.

However much to my surprise most of these books were in fact MIRA style romantic suspense novels, which I'm very fond of. Granted, they're not in the shocking serial killer style writing that she carried on afterwards, but they're really enjoyable and they're a genre by itself.

I highly recommend checking them out, even though they've been written towards the end of the 1980s!

* Call After Midnight, published 1987

* Under the Knife, published 1990

* Whistleblower, published 1992

Which Books Did You Enjoy Most By Tess Gerritsen?

Which Books Did You Enjoy Most By Tess Gerritsen?

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How Familiar Are You With The Author's Work?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Rose Childs

      I had run out of books by Michael Connelly & Peter James when my sister lent Tess Gerritsen's 'never say die', since then I have been hooked, what an amazing author, if you like clever crime novels with loads of twists you will love her work

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      The Rizzoli and Isles series is a fabulous read from start to finish.You have to read them in order to get the feel of the characters

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 

      6 years ago from New Jersey

      I'm not really a big mystery/thriller fan, but I know my mom has read all of Gerritsen's books. Nice, thorough review lens here! Good work!

    • BestRatedStuff profile image


      6 years ago

      Tess Gerritsen is new to me, but from your review, she seems to write books I would enjoy reading. Thanks for the introduction and the detailed reviews.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      How interesting to come across this page about Tess Gerritsen as I just finished reading "Call After Midnight". Like you, I first became a fan of her medical thrillers, then fell in love with the Rizzoli & Isles series, but this book was mislabeled NEW at the library and I didn't realize it was a 'Romance' book. I'm not a fan of romance stories, but I am a fan of Tess Gerritsen, and this turned out to be a 'romantic thriller', so kept me interested all the way through. :) Now I need to get the newest Rizzoli/Isles book. Thanks for listing all the Gerritsen books.

    • Camden1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Tess Gerritsen is a new author to me, but I'll have to check out her medical thriller books.


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