Ripper by Isabel Allende

Ripper by Isabel Allende
496 pages
ISBN-10: 0062291408
ISBN-13: 978-0062291400
Harper, New York 
Published: January 28, 2014


Ripper is the latest book by one of my favorite authors, Isabel Allende. I have read 80 percent of her books, almost all except for the YA ones and maybe one or two others. I looked forward to this latest book and found it to be a little different for Ms. Allende. For me, this book was not quite as magical as some of the other ones, but I would still recommend it, especially if you like mysteries. The perpetrator was a little too easy to figure, but Ms. Allende presents some interesting twists about this character that I really did not expect. 
–Isabel Allende

Amanda is an ultra-intelligent young lady with a very free-spirited mother and a homicide chief in the San Francisco Police Department as her father. Indiana, the mother, and Bob, the father, have been divorced for a long time and Amanda deals with each one of her parents significant others, along with her grandfather and best friend, Blake. She plays a game called Ripper with various online friends from around the world and they try to solve real life murders. Unfortunately, a spate of murders start happening in San Francisco that are seemingly unrelated, and the Ripper players concentrate on these, along with Bob, who only realizes he is dealing with a serial killer after the players figure it out first and Amanda tells him.

By the end of the novel, the serial killer has kidnapped Amanda’s own mother, Indiana, and the players try to figure out who the killer is and where he has taken Indiana. 

I enjoyed reading about the premise of the Ripper group and many of the characters in the novel, mainly Amanda, her mother and grandfather, and one of Indiana’s love interests, the ex-Navy Seal, Ryan Miller. I also enjoyed the police, forensic, and spy aspects of the book, and Ms. Allende weaved an elaborate and sad history of her killer. 
Unfortunately, I kept comparing this book to J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, which I read last year, and just kept thinking Rowling did such a great job in her non-Harry Potter novel. The characters in The Casual Vacancy were so much more believable than Allende’s, and I really cared about them compared to the characters in Ripper.

Many social issues were weaved into the story by Ms. Allende, as did Rowling. Some of these issues in Ripper are gang life, dog fighting, transvestism, post traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and drug abuse, as well as alternative and wholistic healing methods.

Also, one of the characters in Ripper was an arts patron and I enjoyed reading about some of the art he admired. One of these paintings was Tintoretto’s Susanna and the Elders:


Susanna and the Elders, Tintoretto, 1555, oil on canvas, 147 x 194 cm,
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

Excerpt about the painting from Ms. Allende’s novel:

“The lecherous old men are irrelevant; that’s why they’re hidden in the shadowy corners of the canvas. The focus of our attention is Susanna, and only her. Just look at the young woman’s skin: warm, smooth, gilded by the evening sun. Look at the soft body, the languorous posture. This is no virgin we’re looking at: we know she’s married, that she’s been initiated into the mysteries of sex. Tintoretto has achieved the perfect balance between the innocent girl and the sensual woman; in Susanna they coexist for that fleeting moment before time leaves its mark on her. That moment is magical. Just look at her.”

Other stops on the Ripper blog tour can be found HERE.


  1 comment for “Ripper by Isabel Allende

  1. February 16, 2014 at 3:58 AM

    I’m glad that you can recommend this one even though it wasn’t one of your favorites by Allende. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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