Chinese-American novelist and retired physician Tess Gerritsen, M.D. was born June 12, 1955 Her first name is really Terry; she decided to feminize it when she was a writer of romance novels. While growing up in San Diego, California, Gerritsen often dreamt of writing her own Nancy Drew novels. Although she longe to be a writer, her family had reservations about the sustainability of a writing career, prompting Gerritsen to choose a career in medicine. In 1975, Gerritsen graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Anthropology, intrigued by the ranges of human behavior.She went on to study medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.She received her medical degree in 1979 and started work as a physician in Honolulu, Hawai’i.While on maternity leave, she submitted a short story to a statewide fiction contest in the magazine Honolulu. Her story, “On Choosing the Right Crack Seed,” won first prize and she received $500. The story focused on a young male reflecting on a difficult relationship with his mother. Gerritsen claimed the story allowed her to deal with her own childhood turmoil, including the repeated suicide attempts of her mother.
Inspired by the romance novels she enjoyed reading while working as a doctor, Gerritsen’s first novels were romantic thrillers. After two unpublished ‘practice novels’, Call After Midnight was bought by publisher Harlequin Intrigue in 1986 and published a year later.Gerritsen continued on to write another eight romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue and Harper Paperbacks. In 1996, Gerritsen published her first medical thriller novel, Harvest. Having already decided to pursue the medical thriller genre, the plot was inspired by a conversation with a retired homicide detective who had recently been travelling in Russia. He told her that youngorphans were vanishing from the streets of Moscow, and police believed the kidnapped children were being shipped abroad as organ donors. Harvest was Gerritsen’s first novel to be published in hardcover, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list at #13. Following Harvest, Gerritsen wrote three subsequent bestselling medical thrillers,Life Support, Bloodstream, and Gravity. In 2001, Gerritsen’s first crime thriller, The Surgeon, was released; it introduced the character of homicide detective Jane Rizzoli. Although Rizzoli was only a secondary character in The Surgeon, the character has been a central focus of a series of nine novels pairing her with medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles. The books inspired the Rizzoli & Isles television series starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. Although most of her recent publications have been in the Rizzoli/Isles series, Gerritsen wrote a stand-alone historical thriller, The Bone Garden in 2007. The Bone Garden, a tale of gruesome murders, takes place primarily in 1830s Boston and includes a character based upon Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Gerritsen’s books have been published in forty countries and have sold 25 million copies, which include Call After Midnight (1987)Under the Knife (1990)Never Say Die (1992)Whistleblower (1992)Presumed Guilty (1993)Peggy Sue Got Murdered (1994) re-released as Girl MissingIn Their Footsteps (1994)Thief of Hearts (1995) re-released as StolenKeeper of the Bride (1996)? Medical thrillers written by Gerrittson include: Harvest (1996)Life Support (1997)Bloodstream (1998)Gravity (1999)The Bone Garden (2007) medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles is a secondary character. THe Rizzoli/Isles series include the novels: The Surgeon (2001) introduces police detective Jane RizzoliThe Apprentice (2002) introduces medical examiner Dr. Maura IslesThe Sinner (2003)Body Double (2004)Vanish (2005)The Mephisto Club (2006)The Keepsake / Keeping the Dead (US / UK, 2008)Ice Cold / The Killing Place (US / UK, 2010) and The Silent Girl.