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Ripper: A Novel (P.S. (Paperback)) Paperback – January 27, 2015
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“Allende’s tightly plotted tale of crimes obvious and masked is sharply perceptive, utterly charming, and intensely suspenseful.” (Booklist, starred review)
“The novelist’s charming first murder mystery features an irresistible teenage sleuth.” (New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice)
“[A] rip-roaring, entertaining crime novel… Allende remains a remarkable spinner of stories. Her prose is sparkling and graceful… her ability to portray passion and action undimmed. “Ripper” grabs you, toys with you, amuses you…” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
“Thoroughly charming book… [A] lot of fun to read.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Literary icon Isabel Allende mesmerizes with her first crime novel…this race-against-the-clock thriller is pure magic.” (People Magazine, Four Stars)
“Appealing characters, a fast-paced plot, and a successfully imagined killer add up to great entertainment.” (Library Journal)
“[Allende’s] facility with plotting and pacing will keep readers turning the pages.” (Publishers Weekly)
“It must have been surprising to discover that [Allende’s] particular literary strengths - a talent for dramatization, a delight in world-building and a passion for investigating relationships between family members - lend themselves so well to a genre she’s never bothered with before. I am hoping she’ll continue her killings.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“There are deliciously creepy elements in ‘Ripper,’ much like those in the dark Scandinavian crime novels one of its characters loves.” (Seattle Times)
“Allende doesn’t miss a beat, smoothly exposing the underbelly of the city and the shenanigans of its wealthy elite. You might guess the identity of the killer before the last pages, but you won’t care-the shocks and unexpected twists will keep you riveted until the end.” (More Magazine)
From the Back Cover
Indiana and Amanda Jackson have always had each other. Though their bond is strong, mother and daughter are as different as night and day. Indiana, a beautiful holistic healer, is a free-spirited bohemian. Teenage Amanda is fascinated by the dark side of human nature—as is her father, the SFPD’s deputy chief of homicide. Brilliant and introverted, Amanda is a natural-born sleuth addicted to Ripper, the online mystery game she plays with her beloved grandfather and friends around the world.
When a string of strange murders occurs across San Francisco, Amanda plunges into her own investigation, probing hints and deductions that elude the police department. But the case becomes all too personal when Indiana suddenly vanishes. Could her mother’s disappearance have something to do with the series of deaths? Now, with her mother’s life on the line, the young detective must solve the most complex mystery she ’s ever faced before it’s too late.
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Prior to reading Ripper, the only Isabel Allende book I had read was House of Spirits. It was back in high school so, while I don’t remember much about it, I do remember that I enjoyed it more than most assigned books. That said, I was pretty excited to get my hands on her new novel, Ripper. I largely ignored the mediocre reviews because the ones I had come across were written by long-time Allende fans and, unlike them, I had no loyalty to the author. Turns out, however, they were correct in their assertions that this isn’t her best work. Granted, I haven’t read any of her books (other than House of Spirits), but I have to assume that they are much better than this one because she’s such a beloved author.
Ripper is a murder mystery and Allende’s first foray into the thriller/mystery/suspense world. The story centers around Amanda, who runs an online murder-mystery game called Ripper that steps offline and into the real world as she and her online friends start investigating a string of real-life murders. Her mother, a free-spirited holistic healer, isn’t thrilled with Amanda’s morbid curiosity but her strong-willed daughter continues her investigations, anyway. Turns out, Mom had good reason to be concerned. Soon, Amanda is off to investigate the disappearance of her own mother and figure out whether it’s linked to the murders she had been investigating.
While I have no doubt that this book could have done well (the premise has promise), I was disappointed by it. The writing was choppy and the characters were predictable and embodied stereotypes: the hardened Navy SEAL, the free-spirited Reiki healer, and the impotent rich guy, to name a few. So while I didn’t dislike the book, I didn’t enjoy it, either. There were some good parts and I tore through certain sections, but overall I was pretty ambivalent and disappointed. Regardless, I think I’m going to go read some of Allende’s other works because I know she’s a fantastic author!