Ripper-Isabel Allende

Ripper
Isabel Allende; Oliver Brock (translator) and Frank Wynne (translator)Harper, Jan 28 2014, $28.99
ISBN: 9780062291400

In 2012 San Francisco, high school senior Amanda Martín loves her divorced mother Indiana Jackson, but is more like her beloved dad Ed the homicide cop. Whereas her spiritualistic mother sees the good in everyone, her daughter and her ex-husband see the evil in the same people. Meanwhile her mom has two suitors she admires but Amanda notices the dark flaws in both candidates seeking to be her stepfather.

Amanda loves mysteries and serves as the headmaster of an online whodunit game Ripper. The players include her sexagenarian maternal grandfather Blake; wheelchair-bound New Zealander online as “Esmeralda” the Gypsy; a lonely New Jersey teen called Sir Edmond who never leaves his room except for the bathroom; a Montreal nineteen years old with an eating disorder using the name Abatha the psychic; and in Reno thirteen years old genius “Sherlock Holmes”.

After her grandmother’s omen of a city bloodbath, someone murders Golden Hills Elementary School security guard Ed Staton with a bat and soon other killings follow. Deciding to investigate, Amanda persuades her Ripper playing friends to change the setting of their game from 1888 London to 2011 San Francisco so that they can help her investigate. When Indiana vanishes, Amanda fears for her mom’s life, so with resolve and her online support, Amanda works the case that turned frighteningly personal.

Ripper is an exciting amateur sleuth starring a precious investigator and a fabulous support team whose online persona radically differs from their reality. Although the online game is never developed, the players are especially their virtual personalities. Readers will appreciate Amanda and her virtual squad gum-shoeing the mean streets of San Francisco.

Harriet Klausner

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