Monday, 28 September 2015

Review: Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

Publisher: Ballantine, Random House
Rating: 4.5*

From the beginning in Rome to the end in (… well you’ll just have to read the book to find that out!) this stand-alone thriller, by the always entertaining best-selling author Tess Gerritsen, will enthral and captivate you.  If you’re looking for a Rizzoli and Isles type novel, you won’t find that here.  What you will find is another fascinating side to Tess’s knowledge and abilities and a wonderfully satisfying thriller.

Julia, from whose perspective the book is mainly written, is a professional violinist and happily married mother to three year old Lily living in current-day Boston.  She happens upon a piece of unknown music in a little bookshop while on a trip to Rome, but little does she realise the chain of events that playing this piece will begin upon her return home.  Is Lily really trying to hurt her?  Is something wrong with her precious child?  Why will no-one believe her?  Who is good and who is bad?  From hardly being apart to being afraid of her own daughter, Julia’s story gathers pace quickly really making the reader wonder about the cause of the strange, and very frightening, behaviour.

Interwoven with Julia’s story is another, set in the days before, and early days of, World War 2.  It tells the story of Lorenzo, a Jewish musician and composer living in Venice, and his family and friends.

Though they have never met, and their stories are from different times and places, danger is no stranger to either Julia or Lorenzo making you want to read on and find out more as the pace of this novel accelerates.  Finding out Lorenzo’s story and the history of the Waltz he wrote become vital to Julia (and the reader), leading her own story down unexpected paths with many twists and turns.

Danger is ever present for both Julia and Lorenzo, but so are beauty, love and music.  The whole book is wonderfully written, even though sometimes about painful subjects, leading the reader to change their mind several times about some of the well thought out characters as the story unfolds and ultimately leads to a very satisfactory ending.

Bookstore Links:  |  |  B&N  |  Waterstones  |  WH Smith

Reviewed for MCT by Jan G.