Kenneth Foreman's Reviews > The Silent Girl

The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen
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's review
Sep 10, 2011

really liked it
Read from August 29 to September 08, 2011

** spoiler alert ** Tess Gerritsen writes best when she keeps herself in a first-person narrative (such as Iris Fang) than when she writes in the third-person (following Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles). Other authors have written that first-person narratives are a blessing and a curse... you are forever trapped in that person, to write only what they see, hear, and feel. In the first-person, if they don't see it, it may never have happened. Likewise, whatever bias, perspective, and insights they have colors their vision.

Iris Fang comes across as a very real, very formidable, middle-aged Asian woman with a lifetime of memories and experiences. It is when Iris narrates that I feel most connected to The Silent Girl. Her perserverance to honor her husband's memory and that of an innocent man is what gives heart to this novel.

Daniel Tam is a wonderful character with his own substantial role to play. Hopefully Tess Gerritsen continues to make him a part of the Rizzoli & Isles series.

As a 38yo educated white male reader of the series, I have always identified most with Frost. His hardships in relationships, being a partner to Jane Rizzoli, being a hurt man looking in and finding Iris Fang, I found Frost to be one of my favorite underdogs in literature. Soft-spoken, not destined to stand in the spotlight of Gerritsen's writings, he tries to uncover the truth while remaining compassionate to the victims. Frost's brief interplay with Iris Fang was a warm note in this novel.

On the whole, The Silent Girl is one of my most favorite novels by Tess Gerritsen, but it is not without flaws. Her uneven writing style between chapters as she narrates between Iris Fang, Maura Isles, and Jane Rizzoli is a little jarring. Sometimes I think I can tell when she's writing with passion (from the heart) or writing to move the narrative along (from the head). The final chapters of The Silent Girl seem hurried and cliche. "Sorry, Tess, but guys just don't leave keys hanging around on wall hooks. Most normal men toss their keys on the dresser along with the wallet, on the nightstand, or the nearest available table to the door."

I'd give The Silent Girl 4.5 or 5 stars, but the final chapter took it down a notch for me. Life is rarely neat-and-clean. In both real life and crimes, answers are never served up on a plate. Casey Anthony, OJ Simpson or Amanda Knox are all high-profile cases with no clean cut answers. Only in the fantasy world of Rizzoli & Isles do father-son killers come clean about their crimes. It's for this reason that I look Tami Hoag or Saul Bellow for realism that Tess fails to provide.

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Reading Progress

57.0% "So far, I'm impressed with the passion and stories of Iris Feng and Detective Tam."

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