Tess Gerritsen - Playing With Fire

Playing with Fire: A Novel - Tess Gerritsen

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.




When I read the blurb I was immediately interested. A haunting piece of music which disturbs a little girl in a way that she tries to murder her mother. That sounded gripping. I was a bit astonished as I learned that the story alters between her and Lorenzo in Venice before WWII.

To be honest: I did not like that book so much. I wish the author would have told Lorenzo’s story without forcing in some thriller element. Julias story is told in a rush. She is drawn very soon into this piece of music. She becomes afraid of her three year old daughter as soon as the first disturbing things happen. As her story goes on it is not getting better. It becomes more and more absurd and unbelievable. I think Mrs Gerritsen should have taken more time to evolve the story. Or even remove it at all. Lorenzo’s story is the stronger one. She even takes more time to tell it. But in the end it rushes all together. There are too many lucky accidents, too much confusion around Julia. Both narratives don’t need each other. Both would have been enough for a book of its own. Unfortunately Mrs Gerritsen wanted to put a thriller element to the story. But this did not work for me. From the blurb I was interested to learn about Julia and her daughter, but while I was reading I was more into Lorenzo’s story and got annoyed by the unsmooth running storyline about Julia.

The book got good critics everywhere, so I feel very alone with me being critical. But this book did not work for me. Lorenzo’s part was interesting, but I did not like the storyline about Julia and mixing them both. Also I did not like the writing. It was too rushed, the book has not much pages and an intense story like that deserves more elaboration.

A special thanks to Netgalley for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review