To help raise money for a disease that killed her father, Maine mystery writer Tess Gerritsen once again is giving readers the chance to name a character in an upcoming Rizzoli & Isles novel.

Gerritsen, who lives in Camden, launched her personal War on Alzheimer’s in 2013 when she encouraged readers to donate to the Scripps Research Institute in California and Florida.

Donations from nearly 400 people amounted to almost $28,000, which Gerritsen matched with a $25,000 donation. In return, she gave two readers the chance to name characters in a book.

She’s doing the same thing with her current Rizzoli & Isles mystery in progress, which is due in 2016. Her father died in 2003.

“We had the resources to pay for in-home care,” Gerritsen said. “But I think about all those people who do not have the resources. How do they take care of their parents?”

The money will support research to find a cure. She chose Scripps because she is from California and is familiar with the institute, and confident that money she helps raise will pay for research and science. She noted that Scripps received high rankings from Charity Navigator, meaning that a large percentage of donations go to research and not administration.

Gerritsen said one of her biggest challenges when writing a book is naming her characters. Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles are constants. They’re the Boston police detective and medical examiner protagonists in Gerritsen’s mystery series, which also is a popular TV show.

But finding the right names for other characters is never easy, she said. “I go through the phone book a lot,” she said.

In her most recent book in the series, “Die Again,” readers named two characters: A detective named Andrea Pearson and the adventurer Millie Jacobson. In each instance, readers named the characters in honor of family members who died after suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Gerritsen’s father was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in his mid-60s. A type of dementia, the disease affects memory, thinking and behavior, with symptoms that eventually interfere with daily tasks.

In 2015, 700,000 people in the United States age 65 and older will die with Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, and costs the country billions of dollars in care.

Gerritsen said she was motivated to begin her campaign because there’s not enough public money spent on research.

“This is something I can do,” she said. “It’s personal for me because of what my family went through, but it’s personal for everybody. We all know somebody suffering from Alzheimer’s,” she said.

The campaign will begin in June. To learn more, visit