Book Review: Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen


Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen
Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

Title: Playing with Fire

Author: Tess Gerritsen

Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller, Historical Fiction, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Music

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Published: October 27, 2015

Page Amount: 250 pages

Blurb From Goodreads:A beautiful violinist is haunted by a very old piece of music she finds in a strange antique shop in Rome.

The first time Julia Ansdell picks up The Incendio Waltz, she knows it’s a strikingly unusual composition. But while playing the piece, Julia blacks out and awakens to find her young daughter implicated in acts of surprising violence. And when she travels to Venice to find the previous owner of the music, she uncovers a dark secret that involves dangerously powerful people—a family who would stop at nothing to keep Julia from bringing the truth to light.

Why Read: This was, as per tradition, another NetGalley read that I will admit… I picked out because of the cover. I’m a sucker for cool designs and especially when books in the historical fiction section seem to have some sort of supernatural element to them. So it’s really no surprise that I chose this book and I’m lucky that I was selected to receive an advance copy.

Review: I am always at somewhat of a crossroads when it comes to new NetGalley books. Will they be worth reading the full book, or will I inevitably end up disappointed after yet another book that I simply think is not good enough. Well, I should say first that every book is “good enough,” that is just me being the smallest bit egotistical. But on the subject of the book: it was worth it.

Tess Gerritsen’s “Playing with Fire” was an absolute pleasure to read. I have a weakness for books about history and music (especially when they include World War 2). Part of what make this book so fantastic for me as well was the introduction of World War 2 from the Italian perspective. I would have to seriously conduct an investigation into my reading habits, but I think this may be the first book I’ve read which approaches historical fiction from the Italian Jewish perspective.

The character development is a bit rushed, but that is part of the length of the book. I personally could see this novel for another 50 or 100 pages and allow for some slower and natural development on the part of the main protagonist, Julia Ansdell. Her transition from normalcy to “craziness” is very quick, and I was slightly put off by how speedy it was. However, the other characters in the past had no such issues.

The plot itself had a similar feel: the rush and excitement of solving a mystery combined with a sense of urgency. I appreciated how that seemed to match the tone of the writing on multiple levels. Part of what make this book a pleasure to read was the small connections made between the past and present, and I adored each and every moment the connection was made.

I’d recommend this for people looking for a good quick read in the airport or on the go, especially for those with a weakness for World War 2 fiction, music history and psychological thrillers.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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