Friday, October 30, 2015

Playing with Fire

It is National Candy Corn Day and Mischief Night (click on the names for more details).  When I was growing up, this was the night (All Hallows Eve) we went trick or treating.  It was common practice in our area (Columbus, Ohio). They have since changed it and children go out on Halloween night.  

I just finished Tess Gerritsen’s latest novel Playing with FireIt is told from two different perspectives.  Julia Ansdell is in Rome, Italy.  She was playing a festival nearby (she is a violinist).  She is picking up souvenirs for her husband, Rob and her daughter, Lily (a cute, little blonde) before heading home.  Julia notices an antique store with old music and books.  Julia collects old and unusual music.  She picks up a book with gypsy music and a single sheet of music falls out.  It is handwritten with the title Incendio by L. Todesco (means fire).  The first time Julia plays the music at home while enjoying a day with her daughter, Lily.  The next thing she knows is her cat is dead and Lily is holding the garden tool that killed the cat.  A few days later Julia is playing the music again (and Lily is home) and she is stabbed in the leg with a piece of broken glass.  Lily is saying “hurt Mommy” according to Julia.  Multiple tests on run on Lily and the only thing they discover is that the music seems to be familiar to Lily (according to a test they performed).   Julia withdraws from her daughter.  The ever helpful husband believes the problem must lie with his wife. He wants her to go to a specialist (a psychiatrist that helps fathers get custody of their children).  Julia is determined to find out more about the music.

Lorenzo Todesco is an Italian-Jew in Venice, Italy in 1938.  A friend of his grandfather’s wants him to perform a duet with his granddaughter, Laura (a lovely, bubbly, strong blonde).  While rehearsing the two fall in love.  But then they are unable to perform because Lorenzo is Jewish.    Laura tries to save Lorenzo and his family, but they refuse to leave or realize how terrible it is going to get for Jews in Italy.  Lorenzo ends up in an Italian concentration camp where he is picked to be a musician.  Lorenzo plays music with other musicians to cover up the sounds of the poor souls being murdered in the camps.  Lorenzo writes a special piece of music that he titled Incendio. 

Playing with Fire is an interesting story.  I enjoyed reading this novel.  I feel that the World War II theme has been overplayed this year, but I did like Tess Gerritsen’s book.  It is different from the other novels I have read.  It is overall a very well written book.  The one thing I did not like was the abrupt ending.  The book was going along at a good pace and then someone hit the brakes (whiplash).  I enjoyed how the two perspectives tied together, but I was disappointed because it did not contain a great paranormal ending (the book felt like a paranormal book, but it really is not).  I give Playing with Fire 4 out of 5 stars (which means I liked it).

I received a complimentary copy of Playing with Fire from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I wanted to tell you about a new cozy mystery called The Calamity Cafe: A Down South Cafe Mystery by Gayle Leeson (aka Gayle Trent and Amanda Lee).  It is available for pre-order on Amazon and it will be available on June 7, 2016 (it will be here before you know it).  Have a fun mischief night and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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