Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Review of "The Silent Girl" [49]

The Silent Girl: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen
Ballantine Books, ISBN 978-0345515506
July 5, 2011, 336 pages

"A perfect crime, thought Jane. Except for the fact there was a witness. A silent girl, huddled under the cellar steps."
The Boston tourists on the Chinatown Ghost Tour at first think it is just a very realistic fake hand, meant to scare them.
When they realize it is quite real, they are rightfully very scared indeed.

Boston police arrive in the person of Detective Jane Rizzoli and discover that the cleanly cut off hand in the alley goes along with the body on the rooftop. It is the body of a woman, totally dressed in black, missing one very cleanly cut off hand and a terrible wound to her neck, which almost totally removing her head in one clean cut. Soon police can not help but wonder if this crime is somehow connected to a horrific multi- murder/suicide that took place in this same building, in the ground floor restaurant, 19 years ago. Such thing are not easily forgotten in Chinatown and many believe the building is cursed.

One woman intimately related to that first crime is still living in Chinatown, a rather mysterious martial artist with a few secrets of her own. First, her daughter went missing, then her husband was killed in that restaurant crime and it seems that she may be the next victim of the evil that is still lurking from those many years ago.
When medical examiner Maura Isles discovers two strands of silver hair on the body, not human..or any animal they can identify ...some wonder if the fable of the heroic Money King, protecting the innocent, may not be a myth after all.

I am a great fan of Ms. Gerritsen and have read and enjoyed every one of her books, going all the way back to her first non-romance. I believe it was Harvest, in 1996.
While this is a very good book, and yes, I enjoyed it a good deal and would certainly recommend it to fans and new Gerritsen readers alike, I did have one fairly major issue with this latest in the Rizzoli/ Isles series. The problem is the interaction, or rather lack of interaction, between Rizzoli and Isles. Please, not that terrible interaction in the TNT series..No, I am not a fan of the TV show...but the interaction that was at the heart of the earlier books. The last book, Ice Cold, was all about Maura with a little dash of Jane, and this one is all Jane with a couple of scenes where Maura appears. OK, I see the new set up and I do not like it. The two of then, playing off each other, with all their differences and similarities, was part of why I like this series and with out it, they are less. In fact, what interaction they had in this book was quite hostile, for a reason I will let the reader discover, but which really seemed out of character for Jane in particular. I also dislike that it was left unresolved.

But, that being said, this is a very good book. I liked the setting, with a touch of myth and mystery, a background which Gerritsen says was a very special one for her.
"No novel I've ever written has been quite as personal as this one. The story was inspired by my mother's tales of growing up in China, tales of ghosts and mysterious martial arts masters and yes, the heroic Monkey King. So thank you, Mom, for introducing me to the wondrous world of Chinese fables."
Of course Jane..and yes, to a lesser degree Maura..are back along with favorites like Detective Frost, but we also meet a few other interesting characters like Iris Fang, Bella Li, and Johnny Tam. Can I wish that perhaps we will see Officer Tam again? I must say I missed seeing more of Jane's husband and daughter but well, I really like them and hope we will see more of them next time.

As always with Ms. Gerritsen, the book is excellently written. I actually had the chance to say to her once (I met her through a mutual friend) that she is honestly one of the few writers I have every read that actually gets better with each book and it is still true. Not to say that the early books were not good. If you are a fan and have not read them, I totally recommend that you go back and do so.
I must also say, I loved the ending in this book. Or should I say endings, because just when I thought it was all tied up, the author threw in another twist or two..something readers here may know that I love.

A strong recommendation.


  1. Another series I need to try! I need more time.

  2. I haven't read any of Gerritsen's works, although I think there's a tendency of longtime literary detective teams growing ... stale at times. Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series jumps to mind, although Kellerman has ridden the waves ... he always ends up back at good.

    I'll definitely put Tess Gerritsen on my reading list :-)

  3. what? neither of you have read any of her books!? that is shocking. ;-)

  4. I am another lost one. I have not read Tess Gerritsen either. I have seen her books and of course heard of the tv show. I have not watched though and after reading your review I am happy about that.The reason being I hate how tv usually messes up a book. And with your review I am going to look into this series. It was a really well written review.
    I love your blog! The pictures are awesome and you share so many wonderful things!
    Thank you for stopping by my place.

  5. I haven't read Gerritsen yet either, even though people keep telling me too! But my intention is to get Harvest, because you know one would want to start at the beginning!

  6. I must say, I find this surprising...nay, shocking.

    I hope the author does not read this.
    Of course, one could look at it as a lot of potential customers!

  7. I mentioned you in a post because I really love this blog. :)


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