Review of Playing With Fire – Tess Gerritsen

Posted: July 31, 2019 in Review, thriller
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Julia is terrified by her daughter’s aggressive behaviour. Lily has changed from an angelic little girl into someone she is afraid to be alone with.

What scares Julia most, though, is that she knows why Lily is acting this way, but no-one will believe her. If she is going to help Lily, she will have to find the answers alone, embarking on a search that will take her to the shadowy back streets of Venice.

There Julia finds far more than just answers, and uncovers a heartbreaking, long-buried tale of tragedy and devastation. And this discovery has put her in serious danger . . .

Playing With Fire

Tess Gerritsen

Bantam Press

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan Butterworth

Julia, a talented violinist, is scared of her 3 year old daughter after incidents when Lily turned extremely violent, killing the family cat and stabbing her mother repeatedly.  Julia realises Lily’s behaviourr changes from angelic to psychotic when she plays an original piece of music she found tucked inside a book of Romany tunes she bought in an antique store in Venice. The story starts to intertwine with that of Lorenzo, a young Italian-Jewish violinist in the 1930’s.

Julia enlists a friend to help her find out more about the music and they contact the antique store owner, who is murdered before they get answers.  Meanwhile Lorenzo’s story is slowly played out with the gradual erosion of freedoms for Jewish people.  Julia and her friend fly to Venice in search of answers, where they find out what happened to the composer of the piece of music.  The mystery deepens and soon Julia is in fear for her life…..

This is such a well-written book.   I really enjoyed the two different stories and how they weaved together at the end.  It was hard to read of the Italian family’s refusal to leave – “Mussolini’s a good man and won’t turn on us” – particularly as you know how it will end.  I was screaming in my head for them to run but it gives an insight into why many stayed.

The chapters are prefaced by a page with the name of the person who’s POV it is, so it’s easy to follow whose story you’re reading.  The plot is well thought out, with many twist and turns and the answers to a mystery revealed at the end.  Fans of thrillers will love this book.

READ IT!!!!!

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