Ancient Chinese Secret

Welcome to Thursday, Scribe friends.  Suze here.  I don’t often write book reviews, and I’ll tell you why.  Since I started writing my own novels, I don’t have as much time to read as I used to, and I don’t enjoy reading as much either.  Sad, but true.

See, now that I know about things like story structure, and character development, and voice, and point of view, I automatically apply that knowledge to whatever else I’m reading.  Used to be, I either liked a book, or

I didn’t.  It was that simple.  Now, it’s been a while since a book really grabbed me, and I’m just not going to leave a bad review for anybody, no matter how strongly I feel about the book.  And I do have my opinions!  I’m happy to report, though, that Tess Gerritsen’s latest, THE SILENT GIRL, is a grabber.  I couldn’t put it down.  My only criticism of this book?  Too short.  I didn’t want it to end.

I’ve been a big fan of Tess ever since I heard her speak a couple of years ago.  Since then, I’ve read most of her work, and I think she’s one of the very, very few  huge-name authors out there whose work is actually getting better as her series progresses.  One of the ways she keeps the Rizzoli and Isles books fresh is by featuring two protagonists.  In one book, Maura Isles, the medical examiner, has the main storyline.  In the next, Jane Rizzoli, the Boston cop, takes the lead.  Along the way, their paths cross, and the reader never gets tired of either character.  Personally, I think it’s brilliant.

In THE SILENT GIRL, we meet another unforgettable woman in Iris Fang, a middle-aged, sword-wielding martial arts expert bent on finding out the truth about her daughter’s disappearance.  Add in an ancient Chinese legend about The Monkey King, a possibly supernatural killing in Boston’s Chinatown, a decades-old murder-suicide, the involvement of the Irish Mob, and some tough and dangerous police work by homicide detective and mom Jane Rizzoli, and I guarantee you are going to love this book.

So what’s your Scribes Secret today?  You want to learn how to craft a darn-near perfect plot?  You want to learn how to write darn-near perfect dialogue?  You want to learn how to pace your story?  You want to learn how to write characters that stay with you long after you close the book, and leave you longing for more?  Then you want to read THE SILENT GIRL.

Tell us:  What authors out there are doing it right?  Who inspires you to be a better writer and how?

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21 thoughts on “Ancient Chinese Secret”

  1. Love Tess G., though she gets a little too dark for me sometimes. I’m on a Jill Shalvis kick right now; reading Head Over Heels. Fantastic dialogue, great characters, beautiful town…she’s so consistently excellent! But like you, Suze, I have less time to read than ever, and I’m pickier because of it. If you don’t have me by page 2, I put you aside, dear book.

    1. Yes, Tess can be kind of dark (especially when she’s describing the post-mortems!), but to me it doesn’t feel gratuitous. It’s just part of the story. I’m going to check out Jill Shalvis — sounds like a great book!

  2. I’m with Kristan. I used to feel obligated to finish a book. Now I skim through some and pt others down if I don’t absolutely LOVE it from page two. I learn something from every book I read. Every writer has a strength. I love the sweet and funny love scenes in K. Higgins’ books. I read for the action sequences in Jess Andersen’s stories and the incredible plotting, charming dialogue, and fantastic detail in Diana Gabaldon’s books. I wish I could still just read for pleasure, but my mind is always dissecting every book I read.

    1. Well, we all love and learn from Kristan and Jess! Goes without saying! :) I think I’m probably the only Scribe who has not read Diana Gabaldon. I took one look at the length of the 1st book and got scared! Maybe I’ll give her another try, esp. if I can find it in audio.

  3. I used to feel obligated to finish books, but now — juggling kids, writing, day job etc. — if a book doesn’t interest me, I move on. Such is life. I love Tess G’s stories, but have to be in the mood for a dark story to read them….

    Just picked up Melissa Marr’s Graveminder!

    1. Hi, Rashda! I’m doing the same circus-like juggling act as you: kid, husband, writing, day job, on and on and on. Just a couple of years ago I finished virtually every book I started, even if I didn’t really care for it. Now I’m much more selective before I even crack the spine. I’m not familiar with Graveminder, but that’s a great title! I’ll check it out.

  4. Oh, I’ve never read any of Tess’ books. I’ll have to go adjust my letter to Santa. :) I just got done with Janet Evanovich’s latest, Explosive Eighteen. I love reading her books because they make me giggle and put me in my happy place even though I know I’m going to get kicked in the kisser with another non-ending ending. Still, I can’t quit her. As a writer I read her because her pacing is awesome. Her books never drag. Never.

    1. Oh, Avery! You’re in for a treat. You don’t have to read Tess’s books in order, but there are some continuing story lines that will make more sense if you start with THE SURGEON and work forward. She has some other books that are not part of the series, and those are standalones. As for Janet Evanovich, I know what you mean. The series hasn’t gone in the direction I want (drat!), but who am I to argue with Janet’s success? She’s the Author Goddess, as we say around here. EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN is on my TBR list. Agreed her pacing is excellent, and she writes great dialogue too. Are you a Babe or a Cupcake? (If I had to guess, I’d call you a Babe!)

  5. I have no “favorite” author. I pick up a book and read the first few pages. If it grabs me, I get the book. If not, I put it back on the shelf (no, I do not have an e-reader … hear that, Santa?). I have the same issue as Suze in that now that I know some of the “rules” of writing, I tend to look for them in other’s writing. That said, if I do start a book, I try to finish reading it, but there are some I simply can’t get into and if that’s the case, I leave them. Thanks for the great review Suze. I may have to give Tess G’s books a go.

  6. I love to read and write. I mostly finish every book I pick up. I only dissect my own books, unless I picked a book up for that purpose. I like Tess G. but I have to be in the mood for her.. Marian

  7. Thanks for giving me a not guilty, its ok not to read attitude. I am in a tither like the rest of you. With no time to read, I am still savoring Kristan’s “Until There was You.” I have not an inch of time, BTW writing, editing, painting and work, forget it. I still have Jess’ books I have never read. I owe myself that treat. But when?

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