Sunday, July 31, 2011


THE SILENT GIRL by Tess Gerritsen (Bantam, 2011)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

The ninth instalment in Gerritsen’s award-winning series starring Boston detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles (which is now being adapted for television screen in the drama Rizzoli and Isles) finds the popular pair investigating a bizarre murder in Chinatown; a case that incorporates Chinese folklore, a mysterious female wushu grandmaster, and the legend of the Monkey King.

A severed hand clutching a gun leads to an unidentified dead woman and then the scrawled address of a long-shut restaurant. Boston’s Chinatown is a mysterious place filled with a wary population, and long-held secrets. After Isles determines the murder weapon was an ancient Chinese sword, it becomes clear an ancient evil might be stirring amongst the bustling streets. Rizzoli finds herself unsure whether she should trust or suspect aging martial arts master Iris Fang.

I really enjoyed this book. For me it was a lot more engaging than the previous couple of Gerritsen novels I'd read, which were good but never really grabbed me in a 'I must devour more of her books' way that a few other authors have. Perhaps part of that was because it is the first of Gerritsen's 23 novels to address her own Asian-American heritage in any way; it's all the better for that. The book feels deeper, more textured and personal. There's an intriguing, layered setting with some bewitching new characters added to the familiar mix. I enjoyed the insights into the lives of Asian immigrants and minorities, which added extra interest to the usual page-turning mystery plots and compelling heroine duo that we've come to expect from Gerritsen.

A great read from a very good author, who's now shot up my reading rankings.

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