When a hand is found in a Chinatown alley in downtown Boston, detective Jane Rizzoli climbs to a nearby rooftop and finds the hand’s owner – a woman whose throat has been slashed so deeply that her head us nearly severed. Two strands of silver hair cling to her body. They are Rizzoli’s only clues, but they’re enough for her and pathologist Maura Isles to make a startling discovery. This violent death had a chilling prequel. Nineteen years earlier, a horrifying murder-suicide in a Chinatown restaurant left five people dead. But one woman connected to that massacre is still alive: a mysterious and beautiful martial arts master who knows a secret that lives and breathes in the shadows of Chinatown. It soon becomes clear that this is an evil that has killed before and will kill again – unless Jane and Maura can track it down, and defeat it…
The Silent Girl is the 9th book in the series featuring (Maura) Isles and (Jane) Rizzoli and starts just a few months after the events of the previous book, The Killing Place. Do bear this in mind if you are reading this book out of sequence as it does contain spoilers from the previous book.
The narration is from the three perspectives of Isles, Rizzoli, and Iris Fang. Iris Fang is a mysterious widow of Chinese descent who has never accepted her husband’s apparent murder-suicide and will do anything to get justice for her husband and daughter.
Most of the action is set in Chinatown, Boston. If, like me your Chinese history and mythology is a little rusty(!) then reading this book will give you an insight into Chinese culture and its ancient traditions and mythology. It does this whilst still remaining a ‘light’ read and not feeling that you picked up a history book by accident.
Expect the usual macabre events that Tess delivers and supernatural elements thrown in the mix too. This was something which, when reading the premise, worried me but, in my opinion, kept within the boundaries of plausibility that you would expect for this genre.
If you’re particularly interested in Maura’s character you may be disappointed that she does not feature so prominently and has little input towards the main storyline. Rat and Bear whom, you would have met from the previous book are back, giving Maura some distraction from her on / off relationship with the lovely Father Brophy. If it’s any consolation, Maura will monopolise the next book when she visits Rat at ‘Evensong’, a school for orphaned children set on a rural campus. What a perfect setting for grisly events to unfold!
Verdict: A great read filled with suspense and kept me delightfully flummoxed almost to the very end. This is Tess on top form!
Reviewed by Karen