If you loved the Rizzoli & Isles TV show as much as I did, then you’re probably looking for a list of all the Tess Gerritsen books in order.
Tess Gerritsen is an American mystery/suspense writer and a retired general physician. She has been dubbed “the best crime thriller novelist in publishing today” by many of her colleagues and contemporaries. She is most well-known for her Rizzoli & Isles series, but she has other works, including mysteries, romantic suspense novels, and medical thrillers.
In this article, you’ll find all the Tess Gerritsen books in order, including her Rizzoli & Isles series, Tavistock Family series, as well as all of her standalone novels in publication order.
Who is Tess Gerritsen?
Tess Gerritsen was born in San Diego, California, to Chinese American parents who initially did not support her desire to become a writer. They were uncertain that a writer’s pay would be substantial enough, so she had to choose a different path.
She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from Stanford University, where she studied during her undergraduate years.
In 1979, she graduated from the University of California, San Francisco, with a medical degree. She began practicing medicine full-time after relocating to Honolulu, but she continued to value writing as a method to escape from daily life and as a kind of therapy.
She chose to pursue writing less as a treasured pastime and more professionally after winning a $500 prize for a short tale she authored in her leisure time.
Tess Gerritsen has been dubbed “the best crime thriller novelist in publishing today” by many of her colleagues and contemporaries.
Horror master Stephen King famously claimed that she was “even better than Michael Crichton” and that, “Tess Gerritsen is an automatic must-read in my house; what Anne Rice is to vampires, Gerritsen is to the tale of medical suspense.”
Gerritsen co-wrote the concept and screenplay for Adrift, which featured Kate Jackson and Bruce Greenwood and broadcast on CBS as Movie of the Week in 1993.
As well, she has pieces published in Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers anthologies. She also writes about the writing profession on her own website and on Murderati.com, a mystery author’s website.
What order should you read the Rizzoli and Isles books?
As is the case with many mystery thrillers, it is possible to read the Rizzoli and Isles books by Tess Gerritsen in any order you choose. That’s because each book will have its own case and investigation with a satisfying conclusion.
However, it is recommended to read these books in order of publication. That’s because this reading order will provide the best reading experience for character development. The books will inherently build upon the previous ones as the characters grow and go through life changes.
So, you will likely enjoy the series more overall if you read the books in order of publication. If you read the books out of order then you will encounter small spoilers for previous events in the series and some of the anticipation will be lost.
Is Tess Gerritsen still writing Rizzoli and Isles books?
Tess Gerritsen is still writing Rizzoli and Isles books. However, her focus and pace has shifted to other projects in recent years.
The latest Rizzoli and Isles book came out in 2022, which is five years after the previous installment. This is a big difference from the beginning of her literary career when Gerritsen published a new Rizzoli and Isles book each year for several years.
Part of the reason for this shift is because Gerritsen says that she is aware she has a limited number of years to tell the stories that she wants to tell. This doesn’t mean she is finished with the series, she just has other stories she wants to tell as well. For that reason, the time between new Rizzoli and Isles books is longer than it used to be.
Tess Gerritsen Books in Order
Rizzoli and Isles Books
- The Surgeon (2001)
- The Apprentice (2002)
- The Sinner (2003)
- Body Double (2004)
- Vanish (2005)
- The Mephisto Club (2006)
- The Keepsake (2008)
- Ice Cold (2010)
- Freaks (2011) (Short Story)
- The Silent Girl (2011)
- John Doe (2012) (Short Story)
- Last to Die (2012)
- Die Again (2014)
- I Know a Secret (2017)
- Listen To Me (2022)
Rizzoli & Isles TV Show
Due to the book’s success, TNT’s producer Janet Tamaro bought the rights and started working alongside Tess Gerritsen on a homonymous TV series which premiered on TNT on July 12, 2010. The episode had 7.55 million viewers, which placed it as the second most-watched cable program on that evening.
Like in the books, the narrative follows Boston Homicide police officer Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) and Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander) as they combine their backgrounds and radically different personalities to solve cases. The show ran for seven seasons, with a total of 105 episodes.
It has mostly positive reviews from the public and critics. It has a score of 7.6 on IMDB, and 86% of Average Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes. So, if you are a fan of the books it might be worth it to give it a shot.
The Martini Club Books
Tess Gerritsen Standalone Books in Order
- Adventure’s Mistress (1985) (Out of Print)
- Call After Midnight (1987)
- Under the Knife (1990)
- Never Say Die (1992)
- Whistleblower (1992)
- Girl Missing (1994)
- Harvest (1996)
- Keeper of the Bride (1996)
- Life Support (1997)
- Presumed Guilty (1997)
- Bloodstream (1998)
- Gravity (1999)
- The Bone Garden (2007)
- Playing with Fire (2015)
- The Shape of Night (2019)
- On the Edge (With Rita Herron, 2021)
- Choose Me (With Gary Braver, 2021)
- No Reason to Trust (With Barb Han, 2021)
Tess Gerritsen Anthologies in Order
- In the Shadow of the Master (2003)
- Killer Year: Stories to Die For… (2008)
- No Rest for the Dead (2011)
Tavistock Family Books in Order
Summary of Rizzoli & Isles Books in Order
Rizzoli & Isles is the most well-known of Gerritsen’s works. The books feature main characters Jane Rizzoli, a homicide investigator, and Dr. Maura Isles, a medical examiner.
Gerritsen’s considerable understanding of both the medical profession and police procedure is bolstered by the pairing of these two in the investigation of brutal and inventive murders.
In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the Tess Gerritsen books in order specifically for the Rizzoli & Isles series.
1. The Surgeon
A serial killer is torturing and killing solitary women in Boston. A killer who targets lone women, who breaks into their apartments and performs terrifying ritualistic acts of torture on them before finishing them off. His surgical skills lead police to suspect he is a physician. But a physician who, instead of saving lives, takes them.
However, as homicide detective Thomas Moore and his partner Jane Rizzoli begin their investigation, they make a startling discovery. Closely linked to these killings is Catherine Cordell, a beautiful doctor with a mysterious past. Two years ago she was the victim of a horrifying rape and shot her attacker dead.
Now the man she believes she killed seems to be stalking her once again, and this time he knows exactly where to find her…
2. The Apprentice
Detective Jane Rizzoli believes a sequence of new gruesome killings are all too familiar. They remind her and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles of the crimes perpetrated by the Surgeon, a serial murderer they recently apprehended.
While they continue their search for the new killer, the unimaginable occurs: The Surgeon escapes. Jane finds herself following not one, but two bright and wicked brains that are connected by a common aim… To hone their abilities on the woman who is pursuing them.
3. The Sinner
Within the confines of their monastery, two nuns are viciously assaulted. There doesn’t appear to be any sort of motivation. But then Maura Isles, a forensic pathologist, finds something unusual during the autopsy.
When a second, brutally disfigured body is discovered and related to the case, she and Detective Jane Rizzoli are thrust into the middle of a horrific investigation that appears to involve everyone. Because who can truly claim to be sin-free?
4. Body Double
Maura Isles, a pathologist, has dissected a lot of bodies. This time, though, it’s different. That’s because the body on the table in front of her is the mirror image of Maura, down to the most intimate physical nuances.
Detective Jane Rizzoli begins her investigation and soon finds herself on the trail of a bizarre serial murderer across the country. Meanwhile, Maura must dive into a dark and deadly family past — her own – in order to apprehend the killer.
Maura Isles, a forensic pathologist, unzips a body bag and has the scare of her life. The corpse’s eyes open. The allegedly dead woman is brought to the hospital, where she murders a guard and kidnaps captives, including Detective Jane Rizzoli, who is significantly pregnant.
Nobody has any idea who this woman is or what she wants. Jane is the only one who can solve this mystery, but only if she makes it through the night first.
6. The Mephisto Club
Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli find scribbled in blood the phrase “I HAVE SINNED” at the most horrifying murder scene they’ve ever seen. The victim, a young lady, has been completely drained of blood and mutilated in a terrible manner.
When a second murder occurs, the police discover a link to the Mephisto Club, a clandestine society. Their purpose is terrifying: To discover the actual wellspring of evil on our planet. But it rather seems that it’s evil who has found them.
7. The Keepsake
Maura Isles arrives to a fascinating examination. An ancient mummy has been discovered in a museum basement, but she discovers with horror that it isn’t as old as they assumed. On the scan, a relatively recent bullet appears.
As Rizzoli investigates she finds a second — and eventually a third — mummified body. Who is the assailant? Why does he meticulously preserve his victims? And who will be the next terrible addition to his obscene collection?
8. Ice Cold
Twelve cottages are dark and abandoned in a snowbound Wyoming community; the people who lived in them have vanished.
Maura Isles and her pals are traveling across the countryside when they become stranded in a snowstorm. They come across an abandoned settlement and seek refuge there. But the worst is yet to come for them.
Jane Rizzoli goes to Wyoming to look for her missing colleague a few days later. Four horribly charred remains were discovered inside a damaged car. Is it possible that one of the bodies is Maura’s? Jane’s search for the truth brings her to the village, where the person who had been monitoring Maura now awaits her…
Jane Rizzoli, a homicide detective, and Maura Isles, a medical examiner, have seen their fair share of murders, but Kimberly Rayner’s death may qualify as inhuman in more ways than one.
When the emaciated seventeen-year-old girl’s body is discovered in an abandoned chapel next to an empty coffin, unexplained marks around the throat point to foul play.
Lucas Henry, the victim’s best friend, is caught leaving the scene, an equally skeleton, pale youngster who claims he’s only guilty of having a taste for blood, which Kimberly did too.
The victim’s bereaved father, on the other hand, does not believe in vampires and instead believes in revenge. Another life might be in jeopardy unless Rizzoli and Isles can unearth the shocking truth.
10. The Silent Girl
In Boston’s Chinatown, a severed hand turns up in an alleyway. The rest of the corpse, with the head practically detached, is discovered on a nearby rooftop by Detective Jane Rizzoli.
Jane only has two strands of hair, but it’s enough for Maura Isles to discover a surprising link. This vicious attack has its origins in a 19-year-old unresolved murder-suicide case. The only eyewitness, a beautiful martial arts master, has never spoken up. And it’s possible she’ll never have the chance…
11. John Doe
Maura is longing to ditch a ritzy cocktail party, along with her four-inch heels, when a handsome, charming stranger appears. But somewhere between sipping a fresh glass of champagne and waking up the next day on her sofa lies a black hole of forgotten time.
As Boston’s medical examiner, Maura regularly teams up with police detective Jane Rizzoli on homicide investigations, and Jane’s latest case makes Maura’s blood run cold. A brutally murdered man has been found in a city park with Maura’s address tucked in his pocket. Maura IDs the victim as the charmer she met at the party.
Her alarm turns to terror when she learns the murdered man was a predator with victims of his own. Fearing she may be guilty of a lethal crime she can’t recall, Maura races to recover the missing hours that hold the truth — and that hide a shocking secret.
12. Last to Die
Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles find themselves within a high-security academy along with the students. It’s for their own protection and to protect the orphans that call the academy home.
The school exists to provide a safe haven for rich children who have lost their family due to violence. However, a murder has occurred within their gates. Is the danger coming from the outside…or from within?
13. Die Again
Rizzoli and Isles are looking into the death of a man who was found gutted and hanging at his house in Boston. They realize this murderer has been at work for years when they discover another victim.
A party of travelers embarked on an African safari six years ago. Except for one girl who wandered out of the jungle weeks later, barely alive, none of them were ever seen again.
Is this ‘safari killer’ again on the loose in Boston? Rizzoli goes to Africa to discover the lone survivor of the two incidents and persuade her to confront death once more, in order to bring the killer to justice.
14. I Know a Secret
The crime scene is unlike any that Detective Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles have ever before encountered. The woman lies in apparently peaceful repose on her bed, and Maura finds no apparent cause of death, but there is no doubt the woman is indeed dead.
That’s because the victim’s eyes have been removed and placed in the palm of her hand, a gesture that echoes the terrifying films she produces. Is a crazed movie fan reenacting scenes from those disturbing films?
When another victim is found, again with no apparent cause of death, again with a grotesquely staged crime scene, Jane and Maura realize the killer has widened his circle of targets. He’s chosen one particular woman for his next victim, and she knows he’s coming for her next. She’s the only one who can help Jane and Maura catch the killer.
But she knows a secret. And it’s a secret she’ll never tell.
15. Listen To Me
Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles have what seems like a completely senseless murder. Sofia Suarez, a widow and nurse who was universally liked by her neighbors, lies bludgeoned to death in her own home. But anything can happen behind closed doors and Sofia seemed to have plenty of secrets in her last days.
When Jane finally makes a connection between Sofia and the victim of a hit-and-run from months earlier, the case only grows more blurry. What exactly was Sofia involved in? One thing is clear: The killer will do anything it takes to keep their secret safe.
Meanwhile, Angela Rizzoli hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in all the years since her daughter became a homicide detective. Maybe the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, because nothing in Angela’s neighborhood gets by her.
Unfortunately, Jane writes off Angela’s concerns as the result of an overactive imagination. But Angela’s convinced there’s a real wolf in her vicinity, and her cries might now fall on deaf ears.
With so much happening on the Sofia case, Jane and Maura already struggle to see the forest for the trees, but will they lose sight of something sinister happening much closer to home?
Final Thoughts on Tess Gerritsen Books in Order
Which of the Tess Gerritsen books in order is your favorite? Let us know down in the comments. And if you’re a fan of the Rizzoli and Isles TV show, I’d love to hear from you!