NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Rizzoli & Isles now a series on TNT
In the murky shadows of Boston’s Chinatown lies a severed hand. On the tenement rooftop above is the corpse belonging to that hand, a red-haired woman dressed in black, her head nearly decapitated. Two strands of silver hair—not human—cling to her body. They are homicide cop Jane Rizzoli’s only clues, but they’re enough for her and medical examiner Maura Isles to make the startling discovery: that this violent death had a chilling prequel. Nineteen years earlier, a horrifying murder-suicide in a Chinatown restaurant left five people dead. One woman connected to that massacre is still alive—a mysterious martial arts master who is now the target of someone, or something, deeply and relentlessly evil. Cracking a crime with bone-chilling echoes of an ancient Chinese legend, Rizzoli and Isles must outwit an unseen enemy with centuries of cunning—and a swift, avenging blade.
Don’t miss Tess Gerritsen’s short story “Freaks” in the back of the book.
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen earned international acclaim for her first novel of suspense, Harvest. She introduced detective Jane Rizzoli in The Surgeon (2001) and Dr. Maura Isles in The Apprentice (2002) and has gone on to write numerous other titles in the celebrated Rizzoli & Isles series, including The Mephisto Club, The Keepsake, Ice Cold, The Silent Girl, Last to Die, and Die Again. Her latest novel is the standalone thriller Playing with Fire. A physician, Tess Gerritsen lives in Maine.
Read an Excerpt
ALL DAY, I HAVE BEEN WATCHING THE GIRL.
She gives no indication that she's aware of me, although my rental car is within view of the street corner where she and the other teenagers have gathered this afternoon, doing whatever bored kids do to pass the time. She looks younger than the others, but perhaps it's because she's Asian and petite at seventeen, just a wisp of a girl. Her black hair is cropped as short as a boy's, and her blue jeans are ragged and torn. Not a fashion statement, I think, but a result of hard use and life on the streets. She puffs on a cigarette and exhales a cloud of smoke with the nonchalance of a street thug, an attitude that doesn't match her pale face and delicate Chinese features. She is pretty enough to attract the hungry stares of two men who pass by. The girl notices their looks and glares straight back at them, unafraid, but it's easy to be fearless when danger is merely an abstract concept. Faced with a real threat, how would this girl react, I wonder. Would she put up a fight or would she crumble? I want to know what she's made of, but I have not seen her put to the test.
As evening falls, the teenagers on the corner begin to disband. First one and then another wanders away. In San Francisco, even summer nights are chilly, and those who remain huddle together in their sweaters and jackets, lighting one another's cigarettes, savoring the ephemeral heat of the flame. But cold and hunger eventually disperse the last of them, leaving only the girl, who has nowhere to go. She waves to her departing friends and for a while lingers alone, as though waiting for someone. At last, with a shrug, she leaves the corner and walks in my direction, her hands thrust in her pockets. As she passes my car, she doesn't even glance at me, but looks straight ahead, her gaze focused and fierce, as if she's mentally churning over some dilemma. Perhaps she's thinking about where she's going to scavenge dinner tonight. Or perhaps it's something more consequential. Her future. Her survival.
She's probably unaware that two men are following her.
Seconds after she walks past my car, I spot the men emerging from an alley. I recognize them; it's the same pair who had stared at her earlier. As they move past my car, trailing her, one of the men looks at me through the windshield. It's just a quick glance to assess whether I am a threat. What he sees does not concern him in the least, and he and his companion keep walking. They move like the confident predators they are, stalking weaker prey who cannot possibly fight them off.
I step out of my car and follow them. Just as they are following the girl.
She heads into a neighborhood where too many buildings stand abandoned, where the sidewalk seems paved with broken bottles. The girl betrays no fear, no hesitation, as if this is familiar territory. Not once does she glance back, which tells me she is either foolhardy or clueless about the world and what it can do to girls like her. The men following her don't glance back, either. Even if they were to spot me, which I do not allow to happen, they would see nothing to be afraid of. No one ever does.
A block ahead, the girl turns right, vanishing through a doorway.
I retreat into the shadows and watch what happens next. The two men pause outside the building that the girl has entered, conferring over strategy. Then they, too, step inside.
From the sidewalk, I look up at the boarded-over windows. It is a vacant warehouse posted with a NO TRESPASSING notice. The door hangs ajar. I slip inside, into gloom so thick that I pause to let my eyes adjust as I rely on my other senses to take in what I cannot yet see. I hear the floor creaking. I smell burning candle wax. I see the faint glow of the doorway to my left. Pausing outside it, I peer into the room beyond.
The girl kneels before a makeshift table, her face lit by one flickering candle. Around her are signs of temporary habitation: a sleeping bag, tins of food, and a small camp stove. She is struggling with a balky can opener and is unaware of the two men closing in from behind.
Just as I draw in a breath to shout a warning, the girl whirls around to face the trespassers. All she has in her hand is the can opener, a meager weapon against two larger men.
"This is my home," she says. "Get out."
I had been prepared to intervene. Instead I pause where I am to watch what happens next. To see what the girl is made of.
One of the men laughs. "We're just visiting, honey."
"Did I invite you?"
"You look like you could use the company."
"You look like you could use a brain."
Not a wise way to handle the situation, I think. Now their lust is mingled with anger, a dangerous combination. Yet the girl stands perfectly still, perfectly calm, brandishing that pitiful kitchen utensil. As the men lunge, I am already on the balls of my feet, ready to spring.
She springs first. One leap and her foot thuds straight into the first man's sternum. It's an inelegant but effective blow and he staggers, gripping his chest as if he cannot breathe. Before the second man can react, she is already spinning toward him, and she slams the can opener against the side of his head. He howls and backs away.
This has gotten interesting.
The first man has recovered and rushes at her, slamming her so hard that they both go sprawling onto the floor. She kicks and punches, and her fist cracks into his jaw. But fury has inured him to pain and with a roar he rolls on top of her, immobilizing her with his weight.
Now the second man jumps back in. Grabbing her wrists, he pins them against the floor. Youth and inexperience have landed her in a calamity that she cannot possibly escape. As fierce as she is, the girl is green and untrained, and the inevitable is about to happen. The first man has unzipped her jeans and he yanks them down past her skinny hips. His arousal is evident, his trousers bulging. Never is a man more vulnerable to attack.
He doesn't hear me coming. One moment he's unzipping his fly. The next, he's on the floor, his jaw shattered, loose teeth spilling from his mouth.
The second man barely has time to release the girl's hands and jump up, but he's not quick enough. I am a tiger and he is nothing more than a lumbering buffalo, stupid and helpless against my strike. With a shriek he drops to the ground, and judging by the grotesque angle of his arm, his bone has been snapped in two.
I grab the girl and yank her to her feet. "Are you unhurt?"
She zips up her jeans and stares at me. "Who the hell are you?"
"That's for later. Now we go!" I bark.
"How did you do that? How did you bring them down so fast?"
"Do you want to learn?"
I look at the two men groaning and writhing at our feet. "Then here is the first lesson: Know when to run." I shove her toward the door. "That time would be now."
I WATCH HER EAT. For a small girl, she has the appetite of a wolf, and she devours three chicken tacos, a lake of refried beans, and a large glass of Coca-Cola. Mexican food was what she wanted, so we sit in a café where mariachi music plays and the walls are adorned with gaudy paintings of dancing señoritas. Though the girl's features are Chinese, she is clearly American, from her cropped hair to her tattered jeans. A crude and feral creature who slurps up the last of her Coke before noisily gnawing on the ice cubes.
I begin to doubt the wisdom of this venture. She is already too old to be taught, too wild to learn discipline. I should release her back to the streets, if that's where she wants to go, and find another way. But then I notice the scars on her knuckles and remember how close she came to single-handedly taking down the two men. She has raw talent and is fearless-two things that cannot be taught.
"Do you remember me?" I ask.
The girl sets down her glass and frowns. For an instant I think I see a flash of recognition, but then it's gone. She shakes her head.
"It was a long time ago," I say. "Twelve years." An eternity for a girl so young. "You were small."
She shrugs. "No wonder I don't remember you." She reaches in her jacket, pulls out a cigarette, and starts to light it.
"You're polluting your body."
"It's my body," she retorts.
"Not if you wish to train." I reach across the table and snatch the cigarette from her lips. "If you want to learn, your attitude must change. You must show respect."
She snorts. "You sound like my mother."
"I knew your mother. In Boston."
"Well, she's dead."
"I know. She wrote me last month. She told me she was ill and had very little time left. That's why I'm here."
I'm surprised to see tears glisten in the girl's eyes and she quickly turns away, as though ashamed to reveal weakness. But in that vulnerable instant, before she hides her eyes, she brings to mind my own daughter, who was younger than this girl when I lost her. My eyes sting with tears, but I don't try to hide them. Sorrow has made me who I am. It has been the refining fire that has honed my resolve and sharpened my purpose.
I need this girl. Clearly, she also needs me.
"It's taken me weeks to find you," I tell her.
"Foster home sucked. I'm better off on my own."
"If your mother saw you now, her heart would break."
"She never had time for me."
"Maybe because she was working two jobs, trying to keep you fed? Because she couldn't count on anyone but herself to do it?"
"She let the world walk all over her. Not once did I see her stand up for anything. Not even me."
"She was afraid."
"She was spineless."
I lean forward, enraged by this ungrateful brat. "Your poor mother suffered in ways you can't possibly imagine. Everything she did was for you." In disgust, I toss her cigarette back at her. This is not the girl I'd hoped to find. She may be strong and fearless, but no sense of filial duty binds her to her dead mother and father, no sense of family honor. Without ties to our ancestors, we are lonely specks of dust, adrift and floating, attached to nothing and no one.
I pay the bill for her meal and stand. "Someday, I hope you find the wisdom to understand what your mother sacrificed for you."
"There's nothing I can teach you."
"Why would you want to, anyway? Why did you even come looking for me?"
"I thought I would find someone different. Someone I could teach. Someone who would help me."
"To do what?"
I don't know how to answer her question. For a moment, the only sound is the tinny mariachi music spilling from the restaurant speakers.
"Do you remember your father?" I ask. "Do you remember what happened to him?"
She stares at me. "That's what this is about, isn't it? That's why you came looking for me. Because my mother wrote you about him."
"Your father was a good man. He loved you, and you dishonor him. You dishonor both your parents." I place a bundle of cash in front of her. "This is in their memory. Get off the street and go back to school. At least there, you won't have to fight off strange men." I turn and walk out of the restaurant.
In seconds she's out the door and running after me. "Wait!" she calls. "Where are you going?"
"Back home to Boston."
"I do remember you. I think I know what you want."
I stop and face her. "It's what you should want, too."
"What do I have to do?"
I look her up and down, and see scrawny shoulders and hips so narrow they barely hold up her blue jeans. "It's not what you need to do," I reply. "It's what you need to be." Slowly I move toward her. Up till this point, she's seen no reason to fear me and why should she? I am just a woman. But something she now sees in my eyes makes her take a step back.
"Are you afraid?" I ask her softly.
Her chin juts up, and she says with foolish bravado: "No. I'm not."
"You should be."
Seven years later
Y NAME IS DR. MAURA ISLES, LAST NAME SPELLED I-S-L-E-S. I'M A forensic pathologist, employed by the medical examiner's office in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."
"Please describe for the court your education and background, Dr. Isles," said the Suffolk County assistant district attorney Carmela Aguilar.
Maura kept her gaze on the assistant DA as she answered the question. It was far easier to focus on Aguilar's neutral face than to see the glares coming from the defendant and his supporters, dozens of whom had gathered in the courtroom. Aguilar did not seem to notice or care that she was arguing her case before a hostile audience, but Maura was acutely aware of it; a large segment of that audience was law enforcement officers and their friends. They were not going to like what Maura had to say.
The defendant was Boston PD officer Wayne Brian Graff, square-jawed and broad-shouldered, the vision of an all-American hero. The room's sympathy was with Graff, not with the victim, a man who had ended up battered and broken on Maura's autopsy table six months ago. A man who'd been buried unmourned and unclaimed. A man who, two hours before his death, committed the fatal sin of shooting and killing a police officer.
Maura felt all those courtroom gazes burning into her face, hot as laser points, as she recited her curriculum vitae.
"I graduated from Stanford University with a BA in anthropology," she said. "I received my medical degree from the University of California in San Francisco, and went on to complete a five-year pathology residency at that same institution. I am certified in both anatomical and clinical pathology. After my residency, I then completed a two- year fellowship in the subspecialty of forensic pathology, at the University of California-Los Angeles."
"And are you board-certified in your field?"
"Yes, ma'am. In both general and forensic pathology."
"And where have you worked prior to joining the ME's office here in Boston?"
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Forensic pathologist Dr. Maura Isles testifies against a police officer who is on trial for killing a suspect who allegedly murdered a cop. She broke the blue line and has made enemies of the Boston Police Department. Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli remains Maura's friend but even she wishes the pathologist held the line. Jane and her partner Frank cannot help her, but they are determined to solve an unusual case. A man who shows the tourists a glimpse into all the haunted places in Chinatown is shocked when one of the children on his tour finds a severed hand. They find the rest of the body on top of a roof near the hand. Jane and Frank have no idea who the Jane Doe is, but the evidence points towards the victim being an assassin for hire. Their investigation leads to Iris Fang who owns the Dragon and Stars Academy of Martial Arts who was widowed nineteen years ago during the massacre at the Red Phoenix Restaurant.. A couple of years later, Iris's daughter disappeared as did the daughter of another victim. There are various people who prefer certain secrets to remain buried about the massacre and disappearances and they are willing to kill to insure this occurs. Tess Gerritsen is one of the best thriller authors writing today as affirmed by her series going to TV. The action starts immediately on page one and never takes a respite until the finale. Maura plays a minor role as she has enough on her plate with the blue backlash and the emphasis on the police investigation. Readers get glimpses as to what is happening in Jane's personal life while much of the support cast adds complexity to the prime whodunit. The Silent Girl showcases the author at the top of her game with this certain bestseller. Harriet Klausner
I loved reading this book. It has a story that will keep you entertained for a few hours.
"The Silent Girl" is beautifully written, engrossing, fast-paced, and suspenseful. The story begins with the discovery of the body of a young woman on a roof, a deep slash to her throat and a hand severed that certainly reveals murder. Rizzoli discovers the possible connections to a mass murder at a Chinatown restaurant nineteen years earlier. A 60ish martial arts master and her young associate are the interesting suspects that keep the reader entertained throughout the book. When a retired police officer who was investigating the case got too close and was murdered, Jane, her partner, Barry Frost, and new-to-the-team Officer Tam were led to information about two missing teenagers who had each lost parents in the Chinatown murder. Rizzoli's final discovery at the hands of the killer leaves the reader desperate to get to the electrifying conclusion. Tess Gerritsen, as always, kept me mystified and thoroughly entertained with The Silent Girl. I will buy every book she puts on the market. Madison Pridgen, A member of Between the Lines book club
Although I have yet to read the other installments in Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles series, I found myself completely captivated by this exciting new thriller. Not only did The Silent Girl pull me into the Rizzoli&Isles bandwagon, but I also couldn't help reading it in one sitting. This new thriller and mystery follows the murder that happens in a Chinatown alley, where Rizzoli discovers a severed hand and later a body. The novel is told through many POVs, adding quite a bit of depth and perspective to the tale. I have to say that I loved Tess' characters and writing. Her characters were realistic, exciting, interesting, and conspicuous; a bunch I'd love to meet. Her writing was smooth and descriptive; very easy to read and a breeze to get through without feeling like you've missed anything important. Tess gives you detail. The detail in her novel is by far my favorite aspect, aside from the wonderful mystery she managed to concoct. The detail and background information she provided for every character and for every event that happened was perfect, which means there was no confusion what so ever on my part. The air of mystery and suspense that Tess brought to the novel was incredibly exciting and captured my attention with an astounding pull. Fair to say that The Silent Girl made me a fan and I'll be sure to check out the other novels very soon. The Silent Girl, Tess Gerritsen's newest installment in her Rizzoli & Isles series is available July 5th in hardcover and is a recommended read for fans of her series and for those who are looking for an edge-of-your-seat exciting thriller.
I am sorry to say I haven't read the book yet because there are others ahead of this on my "must be read list" but I am a bit disgruntled by all the individuals griping about the cost of books....whether they are hardbound, paperback or ebook. I haven't purchased a book in years and definitely read all the goodies that come out. Use your local library. Get on their mailing list. See when the next books of your favorite authors will be out. You too can be first on the list to get the next book. Instead of complaining about something over which you have no control, try doing something where you do have control.
I enjoy the Rizzoli and Isles novels -- this one is exceptional! Gripping story and very difficult to put down. Tess Gerritsen is by far the best at suspense and mystery!
Tess Gerritsen is one of the best female authors around. I can hardly wait for her next new book! As with her other books, this book keeps you on your seat and is hard to put down until you are done.
As usual Gerritsen doesn't fail to live up to her reputation for fast moving, realistic drama. In this book she is probing a different culture than most of us are familiar with, and she does it well. Too bad the TV show is not as good as these awesome books are, but that's the way it works, I guess. While Angie Harmon is a good actress, she is not Rizzoli. Read the book....you'll understand.
This author never disappoints. On another subject, those of you who are angry about book prices, vent your thoughts somewhere else...not on these book reviews where folks come to see reviews of THE BOOK. Call B&N if you have to, go to their website, go to the stores, but please STOP ranting HERE?
Not what I expected, waste of money.
Received from Library ThingOverall Rating 4.75Character Rating 4.50Thriller Rating 5.00NOTE: Silent Girl reminded me of why I fell in love with the Rizzoli and Isles series in the first place. If you love a good thriller then this book should be on your list to read!What I Loved: The Chinese history and tradition used in this book was amazing. It added depth and character to an already richly woven thriller that had you guessing for a long while. This was a mostly Rizzoli story and that played well as you got to figure out the case with her. Detective Tam was introduced in this story,I hope he sticks around for awhile or gets his own series.What I Liked: I think this story brought Isles back to being a likable character for me. The things she is having to go through with her job and personal life are making for some interesting character building moments. I do like how they kind of crossed over each other in this story.Complaints: NoneWhy I gave it a 4.75: This was just a really good thriller that had me guessing for the most of the book. I really enjoyed every minute spent reading the story!
Another great read by Ms. Gerritsen! I've been working my way through the other Rizzoli/Isles novels and enjoyed this one as much as I have the others. There were some twists that I suspected but a few that took me completely by surprise. Highly recommended!
Having seen the Rizzoli and Isles series I thought to give this book a shot, and was not disappointed! It through me off at first because I expected the lives of the main characters to be the same, but once you get over the differences the story is wonderful. Tess Gerritsen keeps you interested and wanting more. I will most certainly be checking out more of her books and would recommend them to others.
Having read the entire Rizzoli & Isles series I was a little worried about this book that is was going to be nothing more than promotional book for the tv show spinoff and nothing much in the way of substance, but I was completely wrong. It's books like this that is the reason this series is so popular. As always I loved the main characters, I was excited that Rat from the previous book made an appearance, and the new characters were so well-written and I look forward to what seems will be a more permanent addition of at least one of them for future books. This was true page-turner, I did not see the ending coming at all or how and why all the crimes fit together but as it was reveiled by the author the pieces so neatly slid into place. I can't wait to pass this along to my mother-in-law that I've gotten hooked on the series as well.
The newest installment of Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles series is more personal than any other book Ms. Gerritsen has written. It is based on Chinese fables that she heard growing up and on her mother's stories about growing up in China. Set in and around Boston's Chinatown, this is another great Rizzoli & Isles murder mystery. It has good plot twists and turns and will keep you guessing right up until the end. Great beach book!
Although I have not read all of Tess Gerritsen's books I always know when I pick up one that I will be thoroughly entertained and given a great ride into mystery and suspense. Her name is synonymous with excellent writing and story lines. The Silent Girl is no exception. Buy it! Be entertained!
For anyone new to the series you will pick up the murder and investigation and enjoy it. In order to follow the relationships you really need to have read the other books in the series. This book starts out with Maura and Jane on different sides of an issue. As usual Maura is unconcerned with anything but the facts and presents against a cop who uses unnecessarily roughness on a suspect. Jane tries to remember that but struggles as a cop who always has to restrain from taking that leap - she never has but can see how it would happen. That case haunts Maura with her co-workers through-out the book.The police story of this book revolves around a 19 murder suicide and 2 missing girls. It has gone done officially that a Chinese cook went berserk at work and killed 5 people then himself. Iris Fang - wife of a deceased waiter - has never believed her husband's friend killed him or anyone. She takes an add out in the Boston Globe to try and get someone to speak up. It starts a chain of investigation for Jane to dig into the case and see if the record got it wrong. She works the case to also try and link the daughter of the waiter who went missing 2 years before his murder and that of the daughter of one of the other victims who went missing after the murder.
The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen is one of the best books in the Rizzoli and Isles series. Gerritsen relies less on the stark terror triggered by serial killers in earlier Rizzoli and Isles novels and continues with the cultivation of complex relationships between characters as witnessed most recently in The Ice Box. The interweaving of historical cases, strains on Gerritsen¿s central characters¿ relationships and cross cultural issues creates a multi-faceted story that is sure to hold your attention from beginning to end.
I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers, yet, this is definitely a book I would have purchased.Tess Gerritsen possesses a style of writing that draws you in and makes you really feel like you know and understand her characters.In The Silent Girl, Ms. Gerritsen expertly weaves her tale, starting with the discovery of a woman's severed hand in an alley and her corpse found on a rooftop overhead.With methodic investigative work, the killing is linked to a restaurant massacre that happened 19 years ago and young girls that went missing years before that tragic event.Each layer of the book is presented masterfully making the writing and plot development seem almost effortless.Highly recommended.
A mysteriously dead assassin, a notorious 19-year-old massacre in Chinatown, several missing girls--Boston Det. Jane Rizzoli has her hands full with this puzzler. Dr. Isles is hardly in this one, and her chapters mostly feel like digressions.
Another great Jane/Maura mystery with the focus being on Jane this time. Jane and her partner Frost team up with a new guy, Detective Tam, to solve quite the mystery in Chinatown with a decapitated body and strange animal fur at the crime scene. The course of their investigation reopens an old tradegy from 19 years ago that was categorized as a murder/suicide. Jane and the team gets some unlikely assistance from a 60+ year old Chinese lady who might or might know what happened 19 years ago and who very much believes in the ancient traditions and folklore of China. This book kept me guessing all the way up until the end and I didn't see the character links until it was spelled out for me.
Tess Gerritsen has done it again. Another book that you will not be able to put down. I have read all of Tess Gerritsen's books and I can't say there is one that I did not enjoy. The Rizzoli and Isles series is the best series I have ever read and would recommend this and all her books to anyone that loves a good mystery. This book has a great story line and a suprising ending.
A great addition to the Rizzoli & Isles series. I have read all of the books thus far in the series and I was not disappointed by this addition. I look forward to any future books in this series.
Really enjoyed Gerritsen's new book, The Silent Girl. Not only is there a great story line, but also fun to keep up with Rizzoli and Isles too. This book was very deep into the Chinatown culture and lots of sword references that I'm not super interested in, but Gerritsen always knows how to keep the book interested and going, even if you don't have personal interest in the topic of the book. Still not my absolute favorite Gerritsen book, but definitely ranks right up there. A great read, for sure.