TLC Book Tour: Isabel Allende, Ripper

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I had never read Isabel Allende prior to picking up this book, and it may have been an odd place to start.  Allende began writing this book with her husband, who is a mystery writer, but soon realized that the collaboration wouldn't work and continued on her own.  The book has been getting some press lately because of comments Allende made about the genre and about this book being an exaggeration of some of the conventions.  Although many readers were offended by Allende's comments, I think that the book is a clever, but reverent, send up of some of the conventions of the typical serial killer thriller.  The sleuth in the book is a high schooler, Amanda Jackson.  She, along with her online cohorts in the role-playing game Ripper, have decided to solve a string of crimes committed in San Fransisco, which have not yet been linked by the police in charge of investigating them.  The head investigator just happens to be Amanda's father, Bob Marin.  So, she and her "henchman" (her grandfather, Blake Jackson), have some inside access to the facts of the case.   As the string of crimes continues, and as they start to hit a little closer to home for the Jacksons, the collective of misfit Ripper players become more and more essential to the investigation.

Allende is playing with the conventions of the genre, but in a way that seems all in good fun.  As a reader, I found that this book is slower than most mysteries, as Allende takes her time exploring the inner lives of her characters, especially of Amanda's holistic healer mother, Indiana Jackson, and her friend/patient/lover, the ex-Navy SEAL Ryan Miller.  Although it is a slow burn, Allende does manage to build a lot of tension in the novel, and I suspected nearly everyone in the book, and couldn't guess who the killer was until the reveal (although I wasn't too surprised by the reveal, which is a sign of effective foreshadowing).  The last hundred or so pages went quickly, although I was disappointed by the end, which felt abrupt and a bit underdone.  The book lives in a strange middle ground between being character-driven and plot-driven.  Fans of fast-paced thrillers will likely find this book to be wanting- and I did too, sometimes.  However, I did enjoy getting to know the characters, and my attachment to them made the mystery all that more urgent and enthralling.  I just wish that the conclusion had been a little more satisfying.

Please visit the other stops on this TLC Book Tour!

Author: Isabel Allende
Publisher:Harper Collins
Date: 2014
Genre:Literary Thriller

475 pages.
Where I got it: From the publisher and TLC book tours.


  1. I'm glad you generally enjoyed this one and I hope that you'll check out some of Allende's other books - they are completely different, that's for sure!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  2. I hadn't heard of this one! I love Allende's writing - this sounds like something very different for her! I'll have to check it out!


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