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on 21 July 2011
I'm not going to give a huge history on the novels previously, as that would take a lot of explaining (!) but suffice to say, if you want to really know both Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles you should probably start with book one of Gerritsen's Rizzoli/Isles series and work your way through the series. Because a lot of past cases are mentioned and some people will be confused and wonder what's going on. The Silent Girl starts some months after (the brilliant) The Killing Place and we start by seeing Maura Isles testifying at the trial of a cop. (Not on his behalf, I may add). That didn't add much to the book, it has to be said, but I think it's setting the ground work for the Boston PD to not trust Maura as much (as is shown throughout The Silent Girl whenever Maura is called to a crime scene). But the real plot of the novel is the death of a girl on a roof in Chinatown. At first Jane Rizzoli is stumped as to how she was killed but as she learns more and more, secrets are revealed.

The Silent Girl is very much plot-focused; compared to The Killing Place which was very much focused on Maura, the personal lives of Rizzoli and Isles is put onto the backburner for this novel. Instead we're introduced to Chinatown and its mythology. The book isn't as gripping or suspenseful as previous novels, but the background to the entire plot is very much done well. Gerritsen has written a note on the back of the novel (of my proof copy, anyway) saying that the book was inspired by herself growing up as a Chinese-American and her history and the history of all Chinese-Americans is very much prevalent during the novel. So although it wasn't a suspenseful novel, it was still rather creepy as Jane found herself wondering if there really was a ghost running through Chinatown killing people. I must admit, when I saw the note on the back and the word 'ghosts', I thought 'Oh no', but actually it's not as I thought it was. And it just played into the Chinese mythology of the book. I'm a very ignorant person when it comes to other cultures but I thoroughly enjoyed learning the Chinese folklore.

The Silent Girl is a worthy addition to the Rizzoli/Isles series. Sure, it was vastly different to The Killing Place (and I must admit, that book is still very much in my memory!) but it's a brilliant book in its own right. I did think the middle of the novel was slightly slower but I thought the ending of the book and the solving of the crime more than made up for it. It's such a thrill to be back with Rizzoli, Isles and the rest of the team again. I'm totally shocked that this is book nine of the series but it's not that surprising when I think of all the books that have already come! I am very much looking forward to book ten in the series (and then many more after that, hopefully). Most series peter out quickly, but Rizzoli and Isles is still going strong. The plots are always different, which I'm sure is what helps the series stay fresh. Tess Gerritsen is a brilliant writer and she is very much worthy of the crown of the Queen of crime writing. Her books are always effortless to read (when your heart's not in fear of bursting out of your chest in fear mind) and the most important thing is all of her books are re-readable. I'd definitely recommend this book, and I would definitely recommend the entire series should you not already have read any of Tess's novels in the series.
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OK, this will not exactly come as a shock but I'm a huge Tess Gerritsen fan so any new book that arrives will be devoured in pretty short succession. The novel as usual is well written and when told from multiple points of view made this a story that was not only about the victim but the circumstances which allows the story to stand out on its own. Add to this the freshness of Rizzoli and Isles (even though it is their ninth outing) and it's a series that is not only gripping but one that keeps this series in the mind of fans as well as new readers who have watched the TV series (alas still not available in the UK.)

All in, when you add Tess' unique writing style which include gritty crime and gory scenes alongside her characters developments both personal and case related it's a series that few other authors can come close to matching. Great stuff although to be honest don't read this on your own or late at night and I'd definitely suggest a stiff drink to help settle the nerves in certain areas. Magic.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 August 2011
I've enjoyed all of the author's books in the Rizzoli and Isles series and marvel at how she can think up so many different scenarios. Boston's Chinatown and the cultural heritage of the community provide an interesting and exotic background to this intriguing story of deaths and disappearances. Though each of the books in the series has a stand-alone story, I feel I get more having followed the main characters' experiences chronologically. The author doesn't over-burden the flow of her narrative with personal and life-style information about her characters, only including enough to make them seem real, so that her books crack along a good pace and keep the reader hooked wanting to know what happens next.
An excellent book that I'm sure most readers of crime fiction will enjoy.
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VINE VOICEon 31 July 2012
In this, the 9th in Gerritsen's Rizzoli and Isles series we're trying to uncover the mystery of a bunch of murders in Chinatown. Surly Boston cop Jane Rizzoli takes centre stage here as she heads up the investigation with her partner Barry Frost and newcomer to the team Johnny Tam. After a woman is found dead on a rooftop in Chinatown it soon becomes apparent that the murder is linked to a massacre from years ago.

I won't say much more on the plot as the synopsis here on Amazon will tell you enough. Unfortunately this one just wasn't up to Gerritsen's usual standard. The writing and the story itself is very unoriginal, at times it felt like Tess was following a 'paint by numbers' method for writing a crime book and it was all very pedestrian and ultimately, boring. I've read and enjoyed all of the previous books in this series but it seems that her efforts are becoming less and less impressive, especially when compared to the other leaders in the genre; Karin Slaughter, Patricia Cornwell etc. Read this one for a cheap quick thrill, or if you've followed the series, but there's nothing new to be found here.
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I think I've read and reviewed thirteen TG novels now, and after a dip in form The Silent Girl is back giving us what I believe Gerritsen does best; well, nearly best. The standalone medical thrillers that re-ignited her (previously romance-based) career gave us a good taste of what this lady can do as a straightforward story-teller, but it wasn't until the dawn of the Rizzoli Series - of which this is the ninth - that she really got down to combining those skills with excellent crime fiction writing. I mention the dip in form because some of the more recent efforts have been a bit too esoteric for my liking, and I prefer down-and-dirty police procedural works along the lines of the new novel which puts Rizzoli and Isles back in their rightful, best and most familiar places. Likely to draw in a whole load of new readers too, those who have never read Gerritsen's work before.

Although I don't think the actual word is specifically mentioned at any point (could be wrong though), the crimes behind the stories within The Silent Girl are rooted in paedophilia, with an inevitable flurry of murders - some new, some a long way from new - added to the dark mix. In essence a modern day murder soon draws Rizzoli into renovating a murder case in Boston's Chinatown that was thought to have been solved 19 years earlier - but the leading lady isn't sure and digs deeper and deeper into a past that more than a few people don't want dug up. There are red herrings aplenty and I must admit I was surprised by the revelations at the story's end, at least as far as the identities of the key perpetrators were concerned.

It's not perfect of course; Rizzoli's husband, the FBI agent Gabriel Dean, is yet again frustratingly under-used, Rizzoli herself continues to be softened in character by calling her 'Jane' - even though her partner Detective Barry Frost is always referred to as 'Frost' - and the book's also a little on the short side. On the upside, Maura Isles' love-life - so relentlessly built around the dog-collared Daniel Brophy throughout most of this series - is a thankfully insignificant part of this tale and I have always felt that Gerritsen satisfies the most when she keeps the romantic elements to a minimum. She's very good at story-telling though and she's at her best when those stories are relatively meanstream procedurals, at least by her own standards, that is. Apparently this novel was very personal to her, with a certain amount of its foundations built around Chinese folkore and the myths that her own grandmother used to tell her about as a child. I can't say that it's as memorable as some of the earlier books in the series, but her skills as a writer are getting better all the time and I believe that anyone who has lost a bit of interest in Tess Gerritsen - not to mention those who have never had any at all - should give this a try. It's worth the investment of time and money and is unlikely to disappoint. 4.5 stars.
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on 26 January 2013
I was so disappointed with this book. I have enjoyed reading the whole Rizzoli and Isles series in order of publication until this one. It took me weeks to read as it is not a page turner. The plot groans on for over one hundred pages before anything really happens regarding the actually plot solution. Aspects of the crime are described over and over again, page after page without anything really happening. I suspect Tess, like Patricia Cornwell, has been trapped by her own popularity and now is churning out books without the inspirational ideas that caused them to be sensational authors when they first started out. Take my advice. Please do not waste your life on this book. It simply is not worth it.
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"Whoever rewards evil for good,
Evil will not depart from his house." -- Proverbs 17:13 (NKJV)

I found The Silent Girl to be one of the very best books in the series. Let me explain why.

The novel has a strong sense of place. I often walk through Boston's Chinatown and the story evoked just the sort of thoughts and emotions that occur to me while regarding people there.

There are many mysteries here, each of which has to be exposed to the light of truth before anyone can know what really happened. I found that storytelling style to be intriguing.

By drawing on Chinese culture, there's an exotic element that makes the characters and story seem more exotic, almost like finding a hothouse flower unexpectedly in winter.

The story also grabbed me emotionally more than most police procedurals and suspense stories do.

Sometimes Dr. Gerritsen's stories don't completely ring true to me. This one allowed me to successfully suspend disbelief throughout.

The only aspect of the story that didn't appeal to me (other than what the villains did) was the brief involvement of Dr. Maura Isles. It seemed almost like a leftover from a different story than an essential part of this one. If it had been edited out, I suspect many readers would have liked the book better. But die hard fans of Dr. Isles will be disappointed, I'm sure, with the little they find of her here.
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on 21 January 2012
Being a fan of the Rizzoli/Isles series of books all I can say is that Tess Gerritsen has done it again! Fantastic titled book, exceptional thriller with twists and turns that keeps you guessing until almost the last page! As usual Tess has delivered an excellent plot which is based in the Chinese quarter of Boston and has thoroughly researched local customs and legends which all add to the ambience of the book. Go forth and read - you will not regret it but one word of advice the book does mention previous cases and incidents so if you are not au fait with the Rizzoli/Isles series begin by reading the first one 'The Surgeon' which without a doubt will make you want to read the rest!
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on 7 March 2014
I love that each book in the series is quite different from the others which shows the author has put effort into each book. It's a shame the same can't be said of many other top selling authors who seem to churn out the same stuff over and over again. The only problem for me is I didn't really care for the Chinese mystical basis to this book and I felt it was slow in the middle. However it had me gripped at the end even though I had guessed the culprit - I guess it's because I enjoy her style of writing. I came to this book after trying some new authors and not being gripped by them but as usual Tess has got me back into wanting more.
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on 7 April 2013
I have read several of the Tess Gerritson R & I novels as well as a couple of others and have enjoyed most of them.
I found this one particularly interesting with the stories of Chinese folklore and fables interwoven with the plot.
Synopses have been given in elsewhere so I won't repeat other excellent reviews, except to say that I enjoyed the book and didn't find it as far-fetched as some low-star reviews have said -each to his or her own I guess.

My only tiny niggle was that the beginning story of the policeman on trial for killing a suspected police killer. There was a very brief mention much later, that he was convicted, but I felt that story-line was weak and not well linked to the main story. Maura was supposedly out of favour with the Boston Police Force, but there was no point to this thread at all.
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