‘I understood all too well what the killer was telling me:
Tell no secrets, or you die like the others…’
I’m kind of swooning writing this blog post as part of me cannot believe I get to interview THE Tess Gerritsen……
When an opportunity arose to join this wonderful tour organised by the fabulous Anne Cater, I literally let out a very loud squeak….thank you so much Anne.
I Know A Secret is #12 in Tess Gerritsen’s fab series featuring Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles. Just released by Transworld Publishers, I am delighted to bring you my review of this excellent page-turner and also my Q & A with the author herself.
So…you know what to do….grab a cuppa folks and enjoy…
In a house decorated with horror movie posters, a young woman’s body is found. She lies on her bed, two bloodied objects clutched in her palm.
Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are called to the murder scene, but even faced with this gruesome sight they are unable to identify the immediate cause of death.
Their investigation leads them to a high-profile murder case that was seemingly solved years before. But when another body is found in horrific circumstances, the link between the two victims is clear. Was the wrong person sent to prison? Is the real killer out there right now, picking off new targets?
One woman knows the killer is coming for her next. She’s the only one who can help Rizzoli and Isles catch him.
But she’s hiding something….
Swirl and Thread interview with Tess Gerritsen
A woman of many talents – a physician, a musician, a writer, a mother and a grandmother….I’m exhausted!!! You are now retired from medicine but as a writer of medical thrillers how much of your own personality and experiences finds itself into your novels?
It’s inevitable that an author’s personality finds its way into every novel she writes. I think the closest I come to writing about myself is the character of Maura Isles.
In so many ways, she’s just like me: her belief in science, her desire for logical explanations, her strong sense of privacy.
I’ve started using my own life as a shorthand for Maura’s, so Maura went to the same schools I did, drives the same car, drinks the same wine, and also plays the piano, just like me.
Jane Rizzoli, on the other hand, is very much my opposite.
After studying anthropology at Stanford University, you left with a fascination for the bizarre in ancient cultures. Can you share with us one of the more unusual facts you have discovered?
While doing the research for KEEPING THE DEAD (The Keepsake in the U.S.) I learned a lot about Egyptian mummies, including the reason why so many are found with fractured legs. It takes about eighty days to turn a cadaver into a mummy, and in the meantime, a built-to-order coffin is being made. Sometimes, the craftsmen don’t take correct measurements and the finished mummy doesn’t fit into his coffin … so bones must be broken to make the body fit.
I also learned how the ancient Egyptians managed to evacuate the brain from the skull, through just a small hole punched in the nostril.
The explanation is both gruesome yet fascinating.
When you visited Poland in 2016, you played a beautiful piece of music on the piano in the lobby of the Hotel Continental, entitled Incendio. (See YouTube link below) What inspired you to compose this piece and how important is music to you when writing your novels?
Both the story and the music came to me in dreams. While in Venice for my birthday, I had a nightmare. I dreamt that I was playing my violin while a baby sat nearby. I remember the music was something dark and disturbing, and the baby’s eyes suddenly turned red and she became a monster. That was the early premise of PLAYING WITH FIRE: that a child is somehow transformed into a monster by music. That premise quickly bloomed into a tale about WWII, a violinist in Venice, and a haunted waltz called “Incendio.”
About halfway through writing the book, I had another dream — and woke up with the melody of “Incendio” in my head. It took me about six weeks to compose the piece for violin and piano, and the music was recorded by concert violinist Susanne Hou.
This was the first time that music has ever played such an important part in my novels. While I am an amateur musician (piano and violin), I have never before used music in a story, and I prefer writing in silence.
So writing PLAYING WITH FIRE was both a unique experience — and a gift from my subconscious.
YouTube Link ~ Incendio
When you initially started writing, your books were categorized as Romantic Suspense, but it was Harvest, your first medical thriller, that marked your debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Since then your novels have been published and translated across the globe. As a writer do you ever feel overwhelmed by your own success? How difficult is it to remain focused on your writing-in-hand at any one time?
I can’t say I’m actually overwhelmed by success because, as a novelist, I do my job alone at a desk, far from the sound of applause. It’s just me struggling to tell a story, fighting through writer’s block, and trying to avoid the temptations of the refrigerator.
True success is just getting paid to do what you love to do, and the hoopla of bestseller lists and TV shows feels a bit distant from where I sit.
Homicide Detective Jane Rizzoli and Medical Examiner Maura Isles are household names and faces with the series Rizzoli & Isles taking to the small screen for over 105 episodes. What was it like seeing your characters transferred to TV?
While they had the same names and the same jobs, the TV characters didn’t look the way I imagined them in my novels. It was as if my Jane and Maura got a makeover and emerged in glamorous versions of themselves.
But it was fantastic fun, and the best part of having a TV series was that people found out about the books.
Your latest novel I Know A Secret, brings a new case for Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles. What is the premise of this book?
Jane and Maura encounter a startling crime scene: a woman whose eyes have been removed, but whose cause of death is a mystery. Then there’s a second bizarre crime scene, this one a young man with arrows in his torso, but whose cause of death is again a mystery.
Maura recognizes that these aren’t just random mutilations, but are staged depictions of the deaths of martyred saints. For answers, she’s forced to consult the man who broke her heart: Father Daniel Brophy.
How do you keep the subject matter and the characters of Rizzoli and Isles fresh in each novel?
I think of Jane and Maura as real people with real lives. As Jane and Maura grow older they experience the same trials we all do: falling in love, making and losing friends, parenthood, etc.
Every stage of life is a challenge, and that’s what keeps these characters moving forward and constantly changing.
And finally Tess, a question I’m sure you have answered many times – how do you feel about reviews? Is it difficult to deal with criticisms of your writing? I have read that many authors feel book reviews are for other readers and not directed at the writer. What would your view on that be?
When you’ve spent a year (or more) wracking your brain over a story, it’s hard to have rocks thrown at it by critics. One of the benefits of being in this business long enough is that eventually you develop tough skin and stop flinching at bad reviews. Every artist, writer and filmmaker knows that critics come with the territory, and some of those critics can be cruel.
But hey, we’re the ones actually doing the creating — and we get paid for it!
Tess thank you so much for being so very generous with your answers here today. I so wish you all the very best with I Know A Secret and with the fabulous Rizzoli and Isles.
In the meantime please do continue reading for my review of I Know A Secret and further details about Tess Gerritsen, with information also included regarding the additional blog stops on the tour..
My Review of I Know A Secret
I’m sure there are very few folk out there who have not picked up a Tess Gerritsen book at some point in their lives. If you happen to be one, not to worry, it’s perfectly ok to jump in at this point and read your first Rizzoli and Isles book. On the other hand, if, like me, it’s been awhile since you last read one, it’s like meeting up with old friends.
Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are called to a scene where the mutilated body of a young women is found laid out in her apartment. Cassandra Coyle is a young film producer with a promising career in horror movies ahead of her. Along with her partners, old college buddies, Cassandra was involved in her next project, a movie they expected would get them noticed. This was going to be their time to shine.
With no apparent enemies, Rizzoli and Isles are initially at a loss as to the actual cause or reason for her death, but when another body is found in different, yet just as horrific circumstances, they soon find themselves in a race against time, one involving an apparent ritualistic killer.
It is initially the job of Maura Isles to see what secrets a dead body can hide. In her dissection during autopsy, her manner is very methodical and it’s almost robotic the way she approaches her job. But Maura Isles has her own personal demons to deal with. In I Know A Secret, the reader is let into the private world of Maura Isles. Maura Isles was adopted from a young age but now her past is revisiting her front door and Maura must attempt to deal with this in the only way she knows how.
Jane Rizzoli is very passionate about her job and finding justice for the victim is the only outcome she will accept. The one area of her life that she cannot control is her personal life. Happy in her own marriage with a loving husband and a young daughter, Jane is now witnessing the collapse of her parent’s marriage. Immersing herself in her job, like Isles, provides a needed distraction for Jane Rizzoli.
Rizzoli and Isles have been through so much together over the years. Their relationship is solid and they have each other’s backs at all times. It is these behind-the-scenes view into the personal lives of the two main characters that adds to the attraction in reading a Tess Gerritsen book. It brings a very human side to the story.
As Rizzoli and Isles continue their search for the truth, they find themselves searching back through the archives of a case that had been ‘solved’ over twenty years ago. The unearthing of this case opens up a can of worms and soon the pair are faced with a very shrewd and manipulative foe.
With the author’s own medical background, there is a very credible feel to I Know A Secret. There are plenty of twists and turns in this novel that will leave the reader none the wiser until the end. Tess Gerritsen has written a story that WILL keep you guessing. With a page-turning plot and fast-paced writing, I felt I was working the case alongside Rizzoli and Isles.
I’m deliberately steering away from the plot in this one…all you need to really know is that I know A Secret is a book full of a wonderful mix of characters that blend so well, making this one very dark, yet very enthralling and compulsive read.
I thoroughly recommend you pick up a copy of this one.
Purchase Link ~ I Know A Secret
About The Author:
Bestselling author Tess Gerritsen is also a physician, and she brings to her novels her first-hand knowledge of emergency and autopsy rooms. Her thrillers starring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the hit TV series Rizzoli & Isles.
But Tess’s interests span far more than medicine and crime.
As an anthropology student at Stanford University, she catalogued centuries-old human remains, and she continues to travel the world, driven by her fascination with ancient cultures and bizarre natural phenomena.
Website ~ http://www.tessgerritsen.com/
Twitter ~ @tessgerritsen