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Group Read Books - archive > Group Read - Playing with Fire - Final Comments Spoilers welcome

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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14807 comments So you have finished the book, what did you think? The premise intrigued me as it sounded quite different from the much loved Rizzoli and Isles series. Thoughts on how this book differs?


message 2: by Shomeret (last edited Dec 11, 2015 04:45PM) (new)

Shomeret | 1388 comments I think that Tess Gerritsen wanted to write a book dealing with music, which is another important part of her life. She didn't think she could fit it into the procedural Rizzoli and Isles format, so she wrote it as a standalone with new characters. This also allowed her to write from the perspective of an unreliable viewpoint character like Julia which is an interesting challenge for a writer. She met the challenge successfully.

If you were expecting a traditional mystery, you might be disappointed by this book. Since it is a standalone, I kept my expectations at a minimum. It's definitely a thriller with a strong historical component. I liked the historical aspect and loved the relationship between Lorenzo and Laura.


message 3: by Sue (last edited Dec 13, 2015 02:41PM) (new)

Sue | 26 comments I enjoyed the novel and gave it 5 stars. I enjoyed this standalone novel of Gerritsen which was nice as the last standalone novel of hers I read 'The Bone Garden' I did not enjoy, but it has reminded me once again I need to get up to date with her Rizzoli and Isles series.

I had forgotten that Gerritsen is a keen musician and am glad she able to write about what she knows. I thought I would be rolling my eyes about yet another WWII novel amidst all the others celebrating its anniversary. I am glad the novel was released when it was.

As always Gerritsen writing is always good. For me I enjoyed the thriller aspect and liked the historical back drop in the background.

More standalone novels please Tess!


message 4: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14807 comments Julia turned out to be rather unreliable as a narrator, and fully exposed as such when her brain tumor was revealed but teetering on unreliability early on when she seemed to black out during episodes with Lily and visiting Gerda. I have to wonder whether a medical doctor would have immediately discovered her condition if she had been committed to a mental hospital to check her out and yes I wonder if her mother could have suffered a similar malady.


message 5: by Ann (last edited Jan 02, 2016 11:26AM) (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14807 comments The relationship between Lorenzo and Laura was very well done. We heard from her father that he wanted someone worthy to marry his daughter and by selecting Lorenzo to play a duet with her we assume that he sees him as his choice. The the subtlety of Laura wearing a cross around her neck which deters Lorenzo lets us know that religious differences are a factor. The scars that were bleeding sores on her arms, proudly displayed stayed a mystery until the end of the book. I liked that the loose end was tied up and explained.
The way the two of them fell in love, the beautiful music they could have written and performed together, the tragedy of so many Lorenzo's and Laura's lost in the horrible events that precipitated the second world war is unbearable to contemplate, but should never be forgotten.


message 6: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14807 comments Sherry: when you have finished reading and get to this comment I am responding to your segment one / chapters 1-3 comment that the music seemed to be the root cause or catalyst for what Lily appeared to do to the cat. That seemed clear to be t he case then.
In hindsight it seems the jarring notes of Incendio as played by Julia could have incited her own actions (in combination with the tumor) and her obsession with mastering the music fed her paranoia.
I like how that is left as a possibility. But I don't know why the notes were changed in the music. Such an ominous seeming clue at first, then no explanation that I recall.


message 7: by Sherry (new)

Sherry  | 3757 comments Ann wrote: "Sherry: when you have finished reading and get to this comment I am responding to your segment one / chapters 1-3 comment that the music seemed to be the root cause or catalyst for what Lily appear..."

i have to admit, i was totally surprised at the turns this book took. wasn't expecting a link to the holocaust or the ending where it turned out that julia actually had a brain tumor. agree that she wasn't the most reliable narrator. it seemed when she and gerda were in italy, you just didn't know who to believe or who the good guys really were.
overall, i really enjoyed this one. glad i read it.


message 8: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14807 comments Sherry: I am glad I read it too, it was not what I expected with twists and different directions, but quite a compelling story.


message 9: by Jack (new)

Jack | 179 comments It was my first gerritsen novel and really enjoyed the easy reading and style of writing.
I was a little disappointed the paranormal element got ditched for the medical explanation of the problem with julia and lily. Although the song being played to Lorenzo in his dream by Laura when she died slightly offset this. I almost expected a turn at the end with lily doing something violent to her dad in the audience when the song was played to make the mystery linger.
The historical aspect was a horrific reminder of the war and its nice to see in the notes how this came to be written and stay respectful to the true horrors that occurred.
Also the theme of music being a powerful force in the world is quite an interesting thought provoker.
I thought the relationship was well written and powerful in the way it ended although I was hoping Laura was pregnant with lorenzos child and lived on to continue his legacy. Although Laura's sacrifice was gerritsens way of highlighting the need to remember the people who stood up and tried to fight the regime.
Will definitely go reading her other books when I get a chance.


message 10: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 1315 comments Jack, great insights. I fully expected Lorenzo to be spared - saved by his musical talents, and it was a brutal reminder that the facts had no fictional fairy tale endings.


message 11: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14807 comments I like how you put that Dawn, it was a brutal reminder and fitting (and so very sad) that there were few fairy tale endings including the fates of Lorenzo and Laura.
As it turned out, Lorenzo and Laura's beautiful music does survive.

Dawn wrote: "Jack, great insights. I fully expected Lorenzo to be spared - saved by his musical talents, and it was a brutal reminder that the facts had no fictional fairy tale endings."


message 12: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14807 comments I felt surprise about the medical explanation too Jack. The paranormal aspect was so heavily played in the contemporary segments.
Jack wrote: "It was my first gerritsen novel and really enjoyed the easy reading and style of writing.
I was a little disappointed the paranormal element got ditched for the medical explanation of the problem ..."



message 13: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14807 comments Jack: Laura's sacrifice does do that and the music lost haunts my thoughts still.
Jack wrote: "the historical aspect was a horrific reminder of the war and its nice to see in the notes how this came to be written and stay respectful to the true horrors that occurred.
Also the theme of music being a powerful force in the world is quite an interesting thought provoker.
I thought the relationship was well written and powerful in the way it ended although I was hoping Laura was pregnant with lorenzos child and lived on to continue his legacy. Although Laura's sacrifice was gerritsens way of highlighting the need to remember the people who stood up and tried to fight the regime. ..."



message 14: by Danielle (new)

Danielle (bookchara) I really enjoyed this book! I love that it kept me guessing and thinking even when the book wasn't in my hands.


message 15: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14807 comments Danielle: I liked that staying power as well.
Danielle wrote: "I really enjoyed this book! I love that it kept me guessing and thinking even when the book wasn't in my hands."


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