Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ripper by Isabel Allende

In San Francisco, there have been some very strange murders. The latest one involves a grade school 4th grade gym class discovering a body in the gym. The man, Ed Stanton, was the school security guard. He had been shot through the lead, draped over a piece of gym equipment and assaulted with a baseball bat. The kids were thrilled by the murder; the police, not so much.

Meanwhile a group of 5 teenagers and 1 elderly man are connected through the net and are playing a game of Ripper, which is a role playing game where they adopt alter egos and try to solve the Ripper's crimes. The group members are spread out all over the world - New Jersey, Montreal, New Zealand and California. One member of the group is Amanda whose father happens to be the deputy chief of police and is trying to solve the San Francisco murders. She is also the game master. The elderly man is her grandfather, Blake Johnson. With the latest murder the group decides to try to solve the current murders instead of the Ripper's. A famous local astrologer has predicted a blood bath for San Francisco and it looks like she may be correct.

Amanda has a rather fluid life. Her parents are divorced and she shuttles between her father, the deputy police chief, and her mother a new age masseuse at the local Holistic clinic. Her mother, Indiana, is beautiful  which results in her male clients either falling in love with her or wanting to protect her from all others. Amanda is extraordinarily close to her grandfather.

Amanda's group has been carefully studying the murders. With some inside information they begin to see connections that have so far eluded the notice of the police. The group gets to look from a distance until Amanda's mother goes missing.

Allende has stepped out of her normal milieu with this story. A fast paced thriller, with a likable character in Amanda, Allende has opened up a whole  new venue for herself. The story line is fast paced, the characters engaging. If you have never read Allende try this book.

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