Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav

Playing with Fire

Cover of Playing with Fire

Playing with Fire

A Novel
Borrow Borrow Borrow
A gripping standalone thriller by the New York Times bestselling author of the Rizzoli & Isles series

INTERNATIONAL THRILLER WRITERS AWARD FINALIST • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY LOS ANGELES TIMES AND SUSPENSE MAGAZINE

In a shadowy antiques shop in Rome, violinist Julia Ansdell happens upon a curious piece of music—the Incendio waltz—and is immediately entranced by its unusual composition. Full of passion, torment, and chilling beauty, and seemingly unknown to the world, the waltz, its mournful minor key, its feverish arpeggios, appear to dance with a strange life of their own. Julia is determined to master the complex work and make its melody heard.

Back home in Boston, from the moment Julia's bow moves across the strings, drawing the waltz's fiery notes into the air, something strange is stirred—and Julia's world comes under threat. The music has a terrifying and inexplicable effect on her young daughter, who seems violently transformed. Convinced that the hypnotic strains of Incendio are weaving a malevolent spell, Julia sets out to discover the man and the meaning behind the score.

Her quest beckons Julia to the ancient city of Venice, where she uncovers a dark, decades-old secret involving a dangerously powerful family that will stop at nothing to keep Julia from bringing the truth to light.
Praise for Playing with Fire

"Compelling . . . I defy you to read the first chapter and not singe your fingers reading the rest."—David Baldacci

"One of the best and most original thrillers of the year."—Providence Journal

"[A] novel brimming with emotion, literary description, and psychological suspense."—The Huffington Post

"Will make readers drop everything to immerse themselves in its propulsive dual narrative."—Los Angeles Times
From the Hardcover edition.
A gripping standalone thriller by the New York Times bestselling author of the Rizzoli & Isles series

INTERNATIONAL THRILLER WRITERS AWARD FINALIST • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY LOS ANGELES TIMES AND SUSPENSE MAGAZINE

In a shadowy antiques shop in Rome, violinist Julia Ansdell happens upon a curious piece of music—the Incendio waltz—and is immediately entranced by its unusual composition. Full of passion, torment, and chilling beauty, and seemingly unknown to the world, the waltz, its mournful minor key, its feverish arpeggios, appear to dance with a strange life of their own. Julia is determined to master the complex work and make its melody heard.

Back home in Boston, from the moment Julia's bow moves across the strings, drawing the waltz's fiery notes into the air, something strange is stirred—and Julia's world comes under threat. The music has a terrifying and inexplicable effect on her young daughter, who seems violently transformed. Convinced that the hypnotic strains of Incendio are weaving a malevolent spell, Julia sets out to discover the man and the meaning behind the score.

Her quest beckons Julia to the ancient city of Venice, where she uncovers a dark, decades-old secret involving a dangerously powerful family that will stop at nothing to keep Julia from bringing the truth to light.
Praise for Playing with Fire

"Compelling . . . I defy you to read the first chapter and not singe your fingers reading the rest."—David Baldacci

"One of the best and most original thrillers of the year."—Providence Journal

"[A] novel brimming with emotion, literary description, and psychological suspense."—The Huffington Post

"Will make readers drop everything to immerse themselves in its propulsive dual narrative."—Los Angeles Times
From the Hardcover edition.
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    4
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you


Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    From the doorway I can already smell the scent of old books, a perfume of crumbling pages and time-­worn leather. The other antiques stores that I've passed on this cobblestoned alley have their air conditioners running and their doors closed against the heat, but this shop's door is propped open, as if inviting me to enter. It's my last afternoon in Rome, my last chance to pick up a souvenir of my visit. Already I've bought a silk tie for Rob and an extravagantly ruffled dress for our three-­year-­old daughter, Lily, but I haven't found anything for myself. In the window of this antiques shop, I see exactly what I want.

    I step into gloom so thick that my eyes need a moment to adjust. Outside it's sweltering, but in here it's strangely cool, as though I've entered a cave where neither heat nor light can penetrate. Slowly, shapes take form in the shadows and I see book-­crammed shelves, old steamer trunks, and in the corner a medieval suit of tarnished armor. On the walls hang oil paintings, all of them garish and ugly and adorned with yellowed price tags. I don't notice that the proprietor is standing in the alcove, so I'm startled when he suddenly calls out to me in Italian. I turn and see a little gnome of a man with eyebrows like snowy caterpillars.

    "I'm sorry," I answer. "Non parlo Italiano."

    "Violino?" He points to the violin case that I have strapped to my back. It's far too valuable an instrument to leave in my hotel room and I always keep it with me while traveling. "Musicista?" he asks and plays air fiddle, his right arm sawing back and forth with a phantom bow.

    "Yes, I'm a musician. From America. I performed this morning, at the festival." Though he nods politely, I don't think he actually understands me. I point to the item I spotted in his display window. "Could I see that book? Libro. Musica."

    He reaches into the window display for the book of music and hands it to me. I know it's old, by the way the edges of the paper crumble at my touch. The edition is Italian, and on its cover is the word Gypsy and an image of a shaggy-­haired man playing the violin. I open it to the first tune, which is written in a minor key. The piece is unfamiliar, a plaintive melody that my fingers are already itching to play. Yes, this is what I'm always on the hunt for, old music that's been forgotten and deserves to be rediscovered.

    As I flip through the other tunes, a loose page falls out and flutters to the floor. Not part of the book, it is a sheet of manuscript paper, its staves thick with musical notes jotted in pencil. The composition's title is handwritten in elegantly swooping letters.

    Incendio, composed by L. Todesco.

    As I read the music, I can hear the notes in my head and within a few measures, I know this waltz is beautiful. It starts as a simple melody in E minor. But at measure sixteen, the music grows more complex. By measure sixty, notes start to pile on notes and there are jarring accidentals. I flip to the other side and every measure is dense with pencil marks. A lightning-­quick string of arpeggios launches the melody into a frantic maelstrom of notes that make the hairs suddenly rise on my arms.

    I must have this music.

    "Quanto costa?" I ask. "For this page and for the book as well?"

    The proprietor watches me with a canny gleam in his eyes. "Cento." He pulls out a pen and writes the number on his palm.

    "A hundred euros? You can't be serious."

    "E' vecchio. Old."

    "It's not that old."

    His shrug tells me I can take it or leave it. He's already seen the hunger in my eyes; he knows he can charge me an outrageous price for this crumbling volume...

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, most recently 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.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 3, 2015
    On a trip to Rome, violinist Julia Ansdell, the narrator of this haunting standalone from bestseller Gerritsen (The Bone Garden), buys an old music book titled Gypsy from an antique shop. Inside the book, on a loose sheet of paper, is a handwritten waltz, Incendio, by one L. Todesco. Back home in Boston, Julia plays Incendio on her violin, but doing so appears to set off a series of calamities, starting with the death of the family cat, that upset her relationships with her husband, Rob, and their three-year-old daughter, Lily. Julia subsequently travels to Venice, to try to learn more about the music and its Jewish composer, Lorenzo Todesco. Flashbacks spanning 1938 to 1944 chronicle Lorenzo’s tragic story, in particular his romance with Catholic Laura Balboni, as the Fascist regime’s ever harsher anti-Semitic laws tear families and friends apart. Gerritsen movingly depicts Julia’s search, which has some surprising repercussions and builds to a satisfying crescendo. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency.

  • Los Angeles Times "Compelling . . . I defy you to read the first chapter and not singe your fingers reading the rest."--David Baldacci "One of the best and most original thrillers of the year."--Providence Journal "[A] novel brimming with emotion, literary description, and psychological suspense."--The Huffington Post "Will make readers drop everything to immerse themselves in its propulsive dual narrative."
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Random House Publishing Group
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Enhanced Details

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Permissions

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Holds

Total holds:


Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
Playing with Fire
Playing with Fire
A Novel
Tess Gerritsen
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel