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Playing with Fire: A Novel


Tess Gerritsen, author of the book "Playing with Fire."

Tess Gerritsen’s first medical thriller, Harvest, was written after she had decided to change genres, and garnered immediate success, eventually gaining the number 13 spot of the New York Times bestseller list. It was published in the year 1996, and was inspired by a conversation she had had with a retired homicide detective. This led to her publishing three subsequent medical thrillers, all of which became bestsellers in their own right.

Tess Gerritsen’s first crime thriller, The Surgeon, was published in the year 2001, and was the first book to feature the character Jane Rizzoli. While only a supporting character in the novel, Det. Rizzoli would go to to become her most recognizable character, along with her counterpart and foil, Dr. Maura Isles. Nine books have been published in the Rizzoli and Isles series, with her most recent stand alone work being The Bone Garden, a historical fiction thriller based in 19th century Boston.

Tess Gerritsen, author of the book "Playing with Fire."

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Cover of the book "Playing with Fire" by Tess Gerritsen.

Tess Gerritsen’s most enduring and popular novels are undoubtedly the Rizolli and Isles series(2001 to present). The series focuses on homicide detective Jane Rizzoli, and medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles. The series pairs the two in the investigation of horrific and imaginative crimes, buoyed by Gerritsen’s vast knowledge of both the medical profession and police procedure. Each novel is painstakingly researched and sourced, combining detailed technical knowledge and a masterful sense of timing and plot direction to create suspenseful, yet revealing and intuitive thriller fiction.

While practicing medicine, Tess Gerritsen was deeply interested in reading romances, so naturally, she gravitated towards that genre for her first forays into novel writing. In the year 1987, Harlequin Publishing bought the rights to her first professional romance thriller, Call After Midnight, and for almost a decade published a steady stream of romantic thrillers written by Tess Gerritsen. Influenced but her own extensive technical knowledge and natural talent with the English language to transition to more work with a more serious tone, abandoning the genre of romantic thrillers in 1996.