Sunday readin’ and watchin’ tip

Well, okay, it’s actually a Sunday readin’ tip and a Monday watchin’ tip.

Tomorrow (Monday) begins the new season of the detective show Rizzoli and Isles, on TNT. The show features Boston detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles. It’s a great buddy cop show, and actresses Angie Harmon (Rizzoli) and Sasha Alexander (Isles) have a really excellent rapport. Not since Cagney and Lacey have I been as thoroughly entertained by a chick buddy cop show as I am by this one.

So what’s in store for the new season? Here you go!

All rightie, here’s a cool thing, and feeds right into the “readin’ tip” aspect of this here blog. The series is based on books by author Tess Gerritsen. Now, don’t think that means the TV series follows the book series exactly. It doesn’t. The first in what could be called the loose “Rizzoli and Isles” series is Gerritsen’s The Surgeon (2001), in which Detective Jane Rizzoli is introduced, working with Thomas Moore. Boston-based, they’re trying to head off a serial killer who seems to have targeted a doctor who survived an attack by a serial killer elsewhere and two years earlier. Rizzoli is not the primary character in this book, but she is a strong secondary character.

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You’ll find Maura Isles introduced as a secondary character in one of her standalone medical thrillers, 2007’s Bone Garden as well as in the Rizzoli and Isles books.

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So what’s reading Gerritsen’s mysteries like? She’s dark. That is, it’s like reading Patricia Cornwell‘s brilliant first Scarpetta books. Grim but engaging, with accurate medical details because of Gerritsen’s own background — she’s a physician. The TV series has a dark edge, but you’ll find light touches of humor and family that maybe don’t get expressed as readily in the books. I like what TNT has done with Rizzoli’s character, and I like the softer edges of some of the episodes. With regard to the books, Gerritsen is a strong writer, employing excellent craft with an eye for character and dialogue. But it’s not light-hearted work, so if you’re expecting the TV show in book form, you will be disappointed. Instead, think of the TV show as a nice alt-universe for two strong Gerritsen women. Enjoy both books and TV show, for different reasons.

Happy reading, happy writing, happy watching!

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