Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Review: Playing With Fire by Tess Gerritsen (audio)

Title: Playing With Fire
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Narrator: Julia Whelan & Will Damron
Published: October 2015, Brilliance Audio
Length: 6 hours 56 minutes
Source: Personal copy via Audible

In a masterly new thriller by the New York Times bestselling author of the Rizzoli & Isles series, 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.

My thoughts: I am a big fan of Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles series, but this is the first stand-alone that I've read by her. It is such a hauntingly beautiful tale that kept me hooked as soon as I started it and kept me engaged throughout.

I had no idea when I picked this one up that I was in for such a compelling story. While it is a suspenseful tale that involves a bit of a mystery, it's full of history and engaging characters that really speak to you. I loved the dual narrative - there is Julia's story, which happens in the present day and takes place in the US, and then there is Lorenzo's story, which happens in the past in Italy during the WWII. 

This is not necessarily an easy listen at times as it deals with a dark time in history, but the story is so captivating and the way the two tales are woven together is riveting. It's not a long book, but it will certainly leave it's mark and the author's note is one to make note of. This is definitely a departure from what I am used to reading from this author and yet, it's probably one of my favorites from her. It's got all the usual trademarks we are used to - full of suspense and a good mystery - but with the historical part that adds a little something extra. I do hope we see more books like this from her - she can definitely pull them off!

Audio thoughts: I thought this was a great book to listen to...sometimes you just make the choice to listen to a book as opposed to reading it, and in this case, listening to it turned out to be such a great option! I loved being able to hear the music being played every so often - it just added that little extra touch to the book to make it come alive that you sometimes miss out on with the print version. And in this case, hearing pieces of  "The Incendio Waltz" just added to the impact and emotion of the story.

The narrators were good choices for this book - I adore Julia Whelan and love hearing her narrate a book whenever I have the opportunity. Will Damron is new to me and I really liked the way he narrated his part. I think both narrators did a great job with the story, bringing forth great emotion when needed, using just the right pacing and tone. I look forward to listening to both again soon!


  1. I loved The Surgeon but the 2nd in my opinion was so bad I didn't go on with the series but I want to read more by her so this may be it. I try to get my book club to read more Thrillers and they love history, do you think this could work for a book club? I'm adding it to my list Kristin.

  2. Thanks for letting us know that the audio was well done. I like the idea of the music being included, at least some of it. I've enjoyed Gerritsen's books, but had not taken time for this one. Think I'll make sure it's in audio format.

  3. I'm definitely intrigued by the WWII Italy plot. That's not something you see very often. I always only think of Gerritsen's Rizzoli and Isles books but this sounds even more interesting. Thanks for sharing!


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