Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen: My honest thoughts on the book’s plot, characters, and overall impact.

In this standalone thriller, Tess is the New York Times best-selling author of the Rizzoli & Isles series.

It is a finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award and was named one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times and Suspense Magazine.

In Playing with Fire, written by Tess Gerritsen, the main character Julia Ansdell, a violinist, comes across a fire music piece, the Incendio Waltz, while on a shopping expedition to Rome. Crazy about passion and torment created with such luxury, Julia is set on mastering this intricate score.

In Boston, the seemingly eerie tune of the waltz causes an unnatural transformation in Julia’s young daughter, who comes to think that the music is evil. The woman is determined to know more about the composer of the song and the story behind the waltz, hence her journey to search for the information.

The search leads Julia to Venice, where she slowly begins to discover the mystery of a rather wealthy family that will stop at nothing so as not to come to light. The journey is about uncovering a mystery dating back to Julia’s childhood, which threatens her life.

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Playing with Fire By Tess Gerritsen

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  • Julia Ansdell: A violinist who learns about the existence of the “Incendio “waltz and a person who meets the ill consequences of the waltz directly.
  • Julia’s Daughter: A young girl suddenly and unpredictably gets involved in the waltz.
  • Several affiliates of a distinguished family of Venice were, in a way, linked to the enigma of the waltz.

Read Time

This is a fantastic weekend read. If you like to recharge during the holidays, you’ll find Playing with Fire very refreshing.

To completely engross oneself in Tess Gerritsen’s gripping and engaging plot of Playing with Fire, one would need approximately six to eight hours.

READ ALSO: The Surgeon By Tess Gerritsen

About Tess Gerritsen

Probably one of the most successful Stanford alumni, Tess Gerritsen, the internationally bestselling author, began her writing career circumstantially after getting her M. D. from UCSF. She has authored 32 suspense novels, with “Playing with Fire” being bought by Amazon Studios.


Overall, Playing with Fire is an interesting novel that utilizes an element of mystery, and especially music as a rich history itself. Tess Gerritsen, who is a wonderful storyteller, always keeps her readers on their toes, and this is one of the best books that one would ever come across, especially if they enjoy the kind of suspense that is offered in this book.

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