- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleTESS GERRITSEN on THE SILENT GIRL
Reality can be more astonishing than fiction.
While my novels may appear to have unlikely elements, I draw inspiration from the truth. In THE SILENT GIRL, I introduce a character who seems far-fetched, a middle-aged female martial arts master whose lethal skill with a sword makes her a prime suspect in a Chinatown murder. A woman swordfighter? How realistic is that?
The character of Iris Fang is, in fact, based on a real woman: a wushu grandmaster who decades ago introduced Chinese martial arts to Boston. Although I have never met Master Bow Sim-Mark, I've met several of her students, who all speak of her fighting skills with awe and reverence. Yes, this woman does exist.
But in the household where I grew up in, sometimes it was hard to separate fact from fantasy. My mother is an immigrant from China, and she told me stories filled with supernatural wonders about weeping phantoms and sword-fighting monks and holy men who walked on water. In China, she said, such things really happened.
Among her stories was the ancient legend of the Monkey King. Born from a rock, this mischievous creature grows into a fierce warrior who hunts monsters and defends the innocent, an unlikely hero who stands on the side of justice. In China, Monkey's many exploits have inspired TV shows and movies and operas.
Now, the Monkey King has inspired my new thriller, THE SILENT GIRL
On a Chinatown rooftop, a nightmarish sight greets detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles. A woman's body has been nearly decapitated by an ancient sword and strange, silvery hairs cling to the victim's clothing. When the crime lab identifies the strands as monkey hairs, Jane begins to wonder if the Chinese legend has sprung to life and is now lurking in the dark alleys of Chinatown.
Although I'm Asian American, this is the first time I've woven so much of myself into a story, and I'm thrilled to introduce two Chinese-American characters: Detective Johnny Tam, who is every bit as fierce and determined as Jane Rizzoli, and Iris Fang, the swordmaster who knows a secret that could doom her.
After another victim falls under the killer's sword, Jane must delve deeper into the myth of the Monkey King. And when Jane herself glimpses the shadowy creature, even she cannot be sure of that line between truth and legend.