I recently read Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen and this book certainly did not disappoint.
Actually, when I say read, I need to give a brief correction; I listened to it. I never thought I’d like audio books – I’ve always gone by the idea that it’s far nicer to see the words on the page for myself. But with a decent amount of miles to drive stretching out before me during the Christmas break – which meant patchy radio reception at best and an already lacklustre musical playlist on my phone – I thought I’d change my tune (no pun intended) and give an audio book a try.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. That is, once I became accustomed to the breathy voice of the female narrator – particularly in regards to her impersonation of the main character’s husband; the narrator made him sound more like a Mafia boss instead of the law-abiding, straight-faced accountant he really was.
The story was excellent. And it helped that the audio story was narrated by two people due to Gerritsen weaving two stories together in this book. One is that of Lorenzo, a young Jewish man who is a gifted violinist in Italy prior to and during World War II. And the other is of Julia, a modern day American violinist who stumbles upon a piece of manuscript of haunting music that is somehow linked to Lorenzo’s life.
I found Playing with Fire particularly moving as it features the plight of Jews in Italy during World War II – a subject that is not often covered in fiction or movies. Possibly because the number of Italian Jews who died during that time was significantly lower than that of the Jews in occupied Europe. But terrible and tragic nonetheless (Gerritsen numbers that over nine thousand Italian Jews perished in death camps during World War II).
And just to add some further dimension to this thriller, Gerritsen throws themes of mental illness and paranoia into the mix. All in all it kept me guessing and wondering all the way through. Which is exactly what you want when you pick up a thriller.
This was the first novel I’ve ready by Tess Gerritsen and I’m now keen to read some of her other works. How about you? Have you read anything by Tess Gerritsen? What were your thoughts?