Reviews for Ripper

Booklist Reviews 2013 November #1
*Starred Review* In her last novel, Maya's Notebook (2013), Allende illuminated a criminal underworld. Now she nimbly joins her detective novelist husband, William C. Gordon, in writing crime fiction. Given her signature combination of bewitching imagination and social gravitas, Allende creates a compassionate and gripping mystery stoked by the paradoxes of family and community and the consequences of abuse. Super-smart high-school senior Amanda Martín is obsessed with an Internet role-playing game, Ripper (as in Jack), and oversees a group comprising four other brilliant misfit teens from around the world as well as her grandfather, who raised her after her very young parents divorced. Amanda's father, Bob, is a deputy chief of homicide in the San Francisco police department. Her mother, Indiana, is a healer too kind for her own good who is romantically entangled with a former navy SEAL and a wealthy dilettante. As Amanda and her cyber-brigade investigate a series of ritualistic murders no one else believes are connected, Allende richly portrays a range of intriguing characters, from Ayani, a famous Ethiopian model and women's rights activist, to Attila, a heroic war dog. Sensitive to inequality, injustice, and psychological complexity and touching on everything from aromatherapy to illegal immigrants to PTSD, Allende's tightly plotted tale of crimes obvious and masked is sharply perceptive, utterly charming, and intensely suspenseful.HIGH-DEMAND BACK STORY: Best-selling Allende's leap into crime fiction will be energetically promoted with a national author tour and a publicity blitz directed at both her fans and mystery enthusiasts. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 December #1
A seasoned hand at the intimate Latin American literary novel and young-adult fantasy takes an ungainly stab at a page-turner about a serial killer. This loose, overstuffed crime story from Allende (Maya's Notebook, 2013, etc.) is set in San Francisco, where teenage heroine Amanda is navigating two problems. First is the split between her mom, Indiana, a gorgeous New-Age healer, and her dad, the SFPD's deputy homicide chief. The second problem is the spate of grotesque murders in the city, over which Amanda obsesses online with a group of fellow geeks with a mordant streak. (Allende refers to such Internet activity as a game called Ripper, but the "game" seems hardly distinct from a chat room.) While Amanda attempts to connect the murders to one killer, Indiana ponders whether to give her affections to a wealthy but shiftless socialite or a former Navy SEAL with PTSD. There are repeated references in the book to Scandinavian crime fiction, and Allende has clearly taken inspiration from the general outlines of the genre: the gory, imaginatively murdered corpses, the whip-smart young female hero, the cynicism about law enforcement institutions. But Allende struggles with pacing and tone. The novel is overlong and thick with clichés both in the prose and the characters; the most carefully drawn character, Indiana, is prone to a flightiness that seems largely designed to serve plot points. Allende crafts some thoughtful brief sketches of San Francisco subcultures, from high-end mansions to rough-and-tumble drag queens, and she cleverly unifies the murders in the closing chapters. But by then, the characters and plot turns feel so familiar that a late-breaking tragedy has little emotional effect. Credit Allende for attempting to expand her range, but crime fiction is plainly not her forte. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 September #1

As with 2013's Maya's Notebook, Allende departs for somewhat darker territory and features an adolescent heroine. Amanda Jackson identifies less with her good-hearted mother than with her father, divorced from her mother and the SFPD's deputy chief of homicide. A fan of crime fiction and the online mystery game Ripper, MIT-bound Amanda indulges in a little investigating when murder starts breaking out all over town. Then her mother disappears. With a seven-city tour.

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Library Journal Reviews 2013 November #2

Literary legend Allende (Maya's Notebook), well known for her magical realism style, will surprise readers with this classic thriller, which involves an ensemble cast of eccentrics in the San Francisco Bay area. Central to the story is Amanda, a precocious 17-year-old who lives with her mother, Indiana, a spiritual healer divorced from Amanda's father but with two rival lovers, Alan and Ryan, both intensely in love with her. Amanda, a high school senior headed for MIT, is the leader of Ripper, an international group of online game players who try to solve real-life murder cases. When a psychic accurately predicts a bloodbath of murders in San Francisco, Amanda's father, San Francisco police chief Bob Martin, reluctantly listens to Ripper group members. After Ripper members gain access to police files and process the clues, they suggest a startling connection among the victims, which now includes Alan. The stakes are even higher when Indiana is kidnapped by the killer, and Ryan, a former Navy SEAL, gears up for a nighttime raid to rescue her. VERDICT Appealing characters, a fast-paced plot, and a successfully imagined killer add up to great entertainment. Definitely recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 8/5/13.]--Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Palisade, CO

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Library Journal Reviews 2014 October #1

The immensely popular author indulges this time in the thriller genre as a group of online game players get involved with a psychic, murder, and kidnapping.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 December #4

Bestseller Allende (The House of the Spirits) successfully tries her hand at a mystery, which features an unlikely team of sleuths united by an online mystery game named after the infamous Whitechapel murderer. High school senior Amanda Martín is the games master for a group that includes her grandfather, Blake Jackson; a wheelchair-bound New Zealand boy with the online persona of a Gypsy girl named Esmeralda; and a 13-year-old boy with a high IQ who calls himself Sherlock Holmes. Amanda persuades her cohorts to investigate real-life crimes in 2012 San Francisco, starting with the murder of Ed Staton, a school security guard. A month earlier, Amanda's astrologer godmother predicted that San Francisco would suffer a bloodbath. The prophecy seems more credible when other murders follow Staton's. While this genre outing isn't as memorable as the author's more groundbreaking fiction, her facility with plotting and pacing will keep readers turning the pages. 7-city author tour. Agent: Carmen Balcells, Carmen Balcells Agency. (Feb.)

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