Tess Gerritsen was brought up in San Diego, California, the child of a Chinese immigrant and a Chinese American seafood chef. She was christened Terry, but when she started writing, she changed her name to Tess.
She is married with two sons and lived in Camden, Maine. She enjoys gardening and playing the fiddle. As a youngster, she dreamed of becoming a famous writer, but her parents were worried that she would not be able to survive just by writing. Tess went to Stanford University and graduated with a BA in Anthropology before studying medicine at the University of California. She worked as a physician in Honolulu after gaining her medical degree in 1979.
Tess wrote her first story “On Choosing the Right Crack Seed,” whilst on maternity leave. The story focused on a young male reflecting on a difficult relationship with his mother, which mirrored her own childhood turmoil when her mother repeatedly tried to commit suicide. Tess continued writing during her years as a doctor, writing mainly romantic thrillers.
In 1996, Tess published her first medical thriller novel, “Harvest”. This was her first novel to be published in hardback and it gained her great credibility as an author by becoming number 13 on the New York Times bestseller’s list.
The Surgeon (2001)
Here we find the introduction of Jane Rizzoli, a homicide detective. A serial killer is stalking the streets of Boston, torturing his victims before killing them. The killer has obviously got vast medical knowledge. There are similarities between this killer and another killer from years ago when a doctor, Catherine Cordell, nearly died in similar circumstances.
Body Double (2004)
Returning to Boston from a business trip in Paris, Maura Isles encounters delays at Charles de Gaulle Airport, and finds upon landing in Boston that the airline has lost her luggage. When she finally makes it home, she finds her house taped off as a crime scene and is surprised to see Jane Rizzoli and Rizzoli’s partner Barry Frost there. Maura finds the body of a woman who looks identical to her and who also shares the same birthday.
The woman is found to have been killed by a ‘Black Talon’ bullet. Newton police detective Rick Ballard tells Maura that he believes that a CEO of a pharmaceutical company is the murderer, due to the latter’s obsessive lust over the deceased woman. Maura’s curiosity is aroused further when Rizzoli hands her DNA results showing that the deceased is her identical-twin sister.
Tess Gerritsen wrote the story and screenplay, “Adrift”, which in 1993 starred Kate Jackson and Bruce Greenwood. She has also written essays which have been published by Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She also blogs regularly about the writing business, both on her own website and on a mystery writers’ site, Murderati.com. She has received various awards including a RITA award Romance Writers of America in 2002 for Best Romantic Suspense Novel for “The Surgeon”. Her latest novel (2011) was “The Silent Girl”.