PLAYING WITH FIRE: Kirkus gives it a starred review!

It’s always scary sending out a new book for review.  You never know if critics will praise it or blast it.  The first review for my upcoming novel PLAYING WITH FIRE has just come in, and it’s a lovely one:



Author: Tess Gerritsen

Review Issue Date: September 1, 2015
Online Publish Date: July 28, 2015
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-101-88434-8
ISBN ( e-book ): 978-1101-88435-5
Category: Fiction

A suspenseful thriller about mysterious music and a violinist’s fear of her child. Julia Ansdell is a violinist with a 3-year-old daughter, Lily. While in Italy, Julia buys an old piece of sheet music titled Incendio by an L. Todesco, whom she’s never heard of. When she plays the composition at home in the U.S., Lily appears to go crazy, killing their cat, stabbing Julia in the leg with a shard of glass, and causing her to fall down a flight of stairs. Does the music possess an evil quality? Or does the problem lie within Julia herself, as her husband, Rob, thinks? “I know how absurd I sound,” she says, “claiming that a 3-year-old plotted to kill me.” Afraid Rob wants her committed, she flies to Italy to try to learn more about the music’s origin. In a parallel story, Lorenzo Todesco is a young violinist in 1940s Italy. He practices for a duet competition with 17-year-old cellist Laura Balboni. They play beautifully together and know they will win—perhaps they’ll even marry one day. But this is Mussolini’s Italy, and a brutal war is on. As the plotlines converge, people die, and Julia places herself and others in mortal danger. In fact, the stakes are even higher than she knows. A friend tells Julia, “The seasons don’t care how many corpses lie rotting in the fields; the flowers will still bloom.” This stand-alone novel has no bearing on the author’s Rizzoli & Isles series, but the crafting is equally masterful. For example, the musical descriptions are perfect: “The melody twists and turns, jarred by accidentals.…I feel as if my bow takes off on its own, that it’s moving as if bewitched and I’m just struggling to hang on to it.” Clear your schedule for this one—you won’t want to put it down until you’re finished.


Exciting announcement to come about my musical collaboration with the internationally acclaimed violinist who’s recording the piece “Incendio,” which I composed.  PLAYING WITH FIRE is about a haunting waltz — and you’ll be able to hear that waltz. The music will be available on iTunes.