Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Review: Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

I'm hovering my mouse over the 2 and 3- star rating. I usually love any and everything Tess Gerritsen writes. Her Rizzoli and Isles series is one of my favorites. When I got word that she had written a standalone, I was beyond excited to get my hands on a copy. 

Playing with Fire alters between the stories of Julia and Lorenzo. The only thing these two have in common is their love of music and a musical composition by the name ofIncendio. While in Italy, Julia Ansdell finds an enchanting, yet complicated piece that she can barely contain her excitement to try and attempt once she returns home Boston. Julia begins to research the history of this ensemble once it brings out bizarre behavior in her young daughter that borders homicidal... like Julia's mother.

Playing with Fire gets a lot more interesting once the story of the young, naive, violinist prodigy Lorenzo Todesco. I'm always interested in period novels that include the horrors on the Holocaust in the backdrop. I'm still amazed that it happened and the amount of evil the human heart can contain. The Holocaust in Italy isn't always featured in your garden variety quick mystery read, so kudos to Gerritsen for including it here. 

Without giving away too much, I admit, this novel is a quick, fast paced, interesting read. There's no shortage of reasons to turn the page and stay involved in the stories of these two people separated by space and time. The issue is that neither story needed the other. They were too thinly strung together just for the sake of a thicker book, not a better story. The characters were thin enough to be transparent. I swear I'm a huge Gerritsen fan, but I must be honest.

Overall I thought that there were some missed opportunities to have a profound novel that explored the idea of whether our genes could somehow predict our murderous tendencies, or even a well researched historical thriller that told the story of an Italian families plight during World War II. It could have been anything, but instead, it's more interesting to play with fire than read this book.  **

Copy provided by Random House via Netgalley

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