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Playing with Fire
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Archive: Other Books > (Horizons) Playing With Fire by Tess Gerritsen - 4 star

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Ellen | 2143 comments After a performance with her string quartet in Rome, violinist Julia Ansdell wanders into an antique shop where she purchases a book of Gypsy songs. A loose page of sheet music lies within: a composition entitled "Incendio" by L. Tedesco. Julia returned to her home in Boston where she lives with her husband Rob and their 3--year-old daughter Lily. She is eager to play the "Incendio" waltz and quickly loses herself in its haunting melody. The violin music has a strange effect on Lily who becomes uncharacteristically violent. Medical, neurological and psychiatric tests show no problems with the child but Julia is convinced something in "Incendio" caused her reaction. Julia decides to learn all she can about the waltz and L. Tedesco.

In 1938 Vienna, Lorenzo Tedesco is a gifted 18-year-old violinist who works in the family's music store. He is approached by his grandfather's best friend, Augustus Balboni, to enter a contest with his cellist daughter Laura. At first Lorenzo was reluctant but after meeting Laura he was immediately smitten with the beautiful girl and her obvious musical talent. The duo was well-matched and were certain to win the prestigious contest. The times were not favorable to Lorenzo whose family, though well respected, was Jewish. Forbidden to perform, Laura and Lorenzo defied the rules and mesmerized the crowd with their duet. The two were removed from the concert hall and Lorenzo was beaten severely. Soon after that night, the Tedesco's along with hundreds of other Jewish neighbors, were forced from their homes and shuttled into trains headed for Poland.

Julia follows the 80-year-old trail of "Incendio" to Venice where she learns the truth about the composition its composer. There are powerful men who will stop at nothing to keep Julia from exposing the facts of the music and they are following close behind her.

This was quite a different book from Gerritsen who I have always enjoyed for her Rizzoli and Isles novels. The alternating chapters between Julia and Lorenzo helped to ramp up the mystery even more. Lorenzo's story is devastating and difficult to read. Although the ending seems a bit off it was still a very good book.


Tessa (FutureAuthor23) | 229 comments This was the first (and so far only) Tess Gerritsen book I've read and I really enjoyed it. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.


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