Playing With Fire

Playing With Fire

by Tess Gerritsen

Overview: In a shadowy antiques shop in Rome, Julia Ansdell happens upon a curious piece of music—the Incendio waltz—and is immediately entranced by its unusual composition. The mournful minor key and complex feverish arpeggios appear to dance with a strange life of their own. Back in Boston, when Julia plays the notes for the first time, the music has a terrifying and unexplainable effect on her young daughter, who seems violently transformed. Determined to track down the music score’s origins, Julia travels to Venice—and uncovers a dark secret that not only dates back to the Second World War, but also directly involves a dangerously powerful family who will stop at nothing to keep Julia from bringing the truth to light.

Debbie Weiss (12/16/15): Julia Ansdell is a professional violinist who purchases a book of music from a small store in Italy while traveling there to perform. One of the musical selections is a waltz with the name "Incendio." It seems that whenever she plays the very difficult piece at home, her young daughter reacts violently. Julia is determined to find out the history behind the musical piece. In doing so, she puts her life in danger and also jeopardizes her marriage.

While this was a very interesting story line, I found it to be a bit predictable. It also seemed to me that the ending was too contrived, necessary in the author's eyes to explain certain events that took place earlier on in the book.
Rating: ***+

Judy Stanton (11/14/15): Looking forward to seeing Tess Gerritsen in person at the book festival and was able to read her latest book in just two days! I love books that are based on history, and Gerritsen tells in the epilog about the history of the fate of the Italian Jews during the Holocaust. The story goes back and forth between the past and present, the link between the two being bewitching music created by a young Jewish Italian composer during the Holocaust found in a small bookstore by a modern-day violinist while performing in Italy. Both stories are compelling, with the resolution tying together at the end. A fast-paced, well written read.
Rating: ****

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