The Silent Girl – Book Review


The Silent Girl – Book Review

I finished reading this book this morning, and wow, what a cracking good read! I thoroughly enjoyed it because not only was there plot and subplot with subplot twists and turns but it contained a lot about Chinese legends and fairy stories which has led me to go out and read a bit more of those myself.

The plot starts with the discovery of a severed hand in Chinatown in Boston in a location that 19 years earlier had seen a massacre in a restaurant. Rizzoli starts to investigate the usual who, what, why, when etc and we are also taken on a journey through Chinese beliefs, myths and legends as well as the standard police procedural type murder story that we are more used to.

I couldn’t guess the outcome until just as it was about to be revealed, and I like that in a novel. I don’t want to know who the murderer is and why they did it at the outset and I don’t like guessing it even when we’re not supposed to know.

That’s the end of my book review but I’d like to share a few general thoughts with you. I do enjoy reading Tess Gerritsen’s novels but there are a couple of things that bug me. First, a personal one. I am slightly miffed with myself because when I first read a Tess Gerritsen book I chose one (mistakenly) out of chronological order. The next couple that I read were also out of sequence and it’s only the last three that I’ve read in the right order, which has left me with a sight un-connectedness with the characters and some of the references to previous books. This one is not as bad as the others because it makes little reference to what has happened to the characters before, but if you haven’t read the previous books then you will be a bit puzzled as to why the big fuss about Rizzoli’s mum getting remarried? Who is this Saint Gabriel that Rizzoli is married to?? Those strands don’t interfere with the telling of the story so it doesn’t really matter if this is the first one you read of this series.

Another thing that bugs me is why is this series billed as “Rizzoli and Isles” when the Isles character plays a really low-key part in things? The main protagonist is Jane Rizzoli, but she works more with Frost than anyone else. Maura Isles only pops up now and again and doesn’t warrant the kudos of having the books named after her.

The last thing that bugs me is that the TV programme is so different from the books. I know that it is impossible to portray a book on screen so as to satisfy everyone,  but there has to be certain things that match or else they shouldn’t be called the same thing, surely? For example, the characters are played differently than they are portrayed in the books. The Jane Rizzoli of the books is more thoughtful, more careful and less firey than she is on the screen. Maura Isles is drawn as a very singular, straight thinking and straight talking character. On screen she is portrayed as a bit of an airhead really. Also, much more is made of their friendship on screen than it is in the books as well. I got myself mixed up in my head because before I’d seen them on screen I could visualise the characters much more clearly than I could after I’d seen someone else’s interpretation of them.

A similar thing happened with the Kathy Reichs’ books and the “Bones” series on TV. The only things the characters have in common on screen and between the pages are their names and their jobs. Every single other thing about them is totally different – the way they look, the way they behave, their values, their relationships, their expectations, their methods….. all different.

I know there has to be differences between the written word and its portrayal on screen but I just don’t like it when the basic characteristics and behaviour qualities of the characters are totally re-drawn.  It wouldn’t be the right if Winnie The Pooh was portrayed as not eating honey would it, so why do it with other characters?? The writer has spent a lot of time and effort in building the characters to be just how they want them, so in my mind they should just be left alone and portrayed how they were intended to be by the person who created them.

 

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