Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for Ripper : a novel
Ripper : a novel

[New York] : Harper Audio, [2014]
Physical Description:
12 audio discs (14 1/2 hr.) : digital, CD audio ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:

Subtitle from container.

Compact discs.
"A fast-paced mystery involving a brilliant teenage sleuth who must unmask a serial killer in San Francisco through Ripper, the online mystery game she plays with her beloved grandfather and friends around the world"-- Provided by publisher.
Added Corporate Author:


Call Number

On Order



The Jackson women, Indiana and Amanda, have always had each other. Yet while their bond is strong, mother and daughter are as different as night and day. While her mom looks for the good in people, Amanda is fascinated by the dark side of human nature--as is her father, the SFPD's deputy chief of homicide. Brilliant and introverted, Amanda is a natural-born sleuth addicted to Ripper, the online mystery game she plays with her beloved grandfather and friends around the world. When a string of strange murders occurs across the city, Amanda plunges into her own investigation. But the case becomes all too personal when Indiana suddenly vanishes. Now, with her mother's life on the line, the young detective must solve the most complex mystery she's ever faced before it's too late.

Author Notes

Isabel Allende was born in 1942 in Lima, Peru, the daughter of a Chilean diplomat. When her parents separated, young Isabel moved with her mother to Chile, where she spent the rest of her childhood. She married at the age of 19 and had two children, Paula and Nicolas. Her uncle was Salvador Allende, the president of Chile. When he was overthrown in the coup of 1973, she fled Chile, moving to Caracas, Venezuela.

While living in Venezuela, Allende began writing her novels, many of them exploring the close family bonds between women. Her first novel, The House of the Spirits, has been translated into 27 languages, and was later made into a film. She then wrote Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, and The Stories of Eva Luna, all set in Latin America. The Infinite Plan was her first novel to take place in the United States. She explores the issues of human rights and the plight of immigrants and refugees in her novel, In The Midst of Winter. In Paula, Allende wrote her memoirs in connection with her daughter's illness and death. She delved into the erotic connections between food and love in Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses.

In addition to writing books, Allende has worked as a TV interviewer, magazine writer, school administrator, and a secretary at a U.N. office in Chile. She received the 1996 Harold Washington Literacy Award. She lives in California. Her title Maya's Notebook made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2013.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

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 Martin 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

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 clichs 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 Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*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 Martin 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.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

ISABEL ALLENDE Says that RIPPER (Harper, $28.99) is her first murder mystery, and that it was a lot of fun to write. It's probably more accurate to say that this ungainly but thoroughly charming book is the author's own eccentric notion of a murder mystery, and that it's a lot of fun to read. Also, it features a teenage sleuth - "idiosyncratic of appearance, timorous of character, but magnificent of mind," according to her besotted grandfather - who is pretty much irresistible. When Amanda Martin was 13 years old, she was bundled off to a Roman Catholic boarding school run by progressive nuns ("feminists in pants") who taught the girls the proper use of condoms in science class. To supplement her formal schooling, Amanda draws on lessons learned from her divorced mother, a gifted "healer" who practices the curative arts of Reiki, lymphatic drainage and aromatherapy at the Holistic Clinic; her father, a homicide detective on the San Francisco police force; her godmother, "the most famous astrologer in California"; and unofficial guardians like Ryan Miller, a former Navy SEAL, and his "war dog," a brute named Attila. Amanda is a senior in high school and headed for M.I.T. when a security guard at a local elementary school is murdered, the first in a string of gruesome, but seemingly unrelated killings. With the resilience of youth, she seizes on the occasion to rethink the strategy of Ripper, the interactive mystery game she plays online with "a select group of freaks and geeks from around the world." Instead of solving 19th-century crimes in gaslight London, the brainy players - including a paralyzed boy in New Zealand, a Canadian girl with an eating disorder and Amanda's grandfather - will match wits with a real killer. In this breezy translation by Ollie Brock and Frank Wynne, Allende blithely dispenses with the more restrictive genre conventions to get to the fun parts - narrative timeouts in which she lingers on the romantic adventures of Amanda's free-spirited mother, the delectable Indiana Jackson, or stops to construct detailed back stories for colorful secondary characters like Doña Encarnación, Amanda's formidable grandmother, and Danny D'Angelo, a chatty drag queen who waits table at Cafe Rossini. One by one, they take their places on a canvas so crowded with life that even death seems to melt into the background. JOHN STRALEY writes sweet crime novels about sad people, of whom there are plenty in COLD STORAGE, ALASKA (Soho Crime, $26.95), a book that takes its title from a fished-out fishing village in the Far North. "Most of the people in this town are drunks or depressives," according to one resident, "but we have our funny moments." Straley strikes the perfect balance of humor and pathos in this story about the McCahon brothers: Miles, a medical assistant who dispenses care and kindness to just about everyone in this sorry town, and Clive, who comes home from prison with enough drug money sewed into his clothes to open what he calls a "bar slash church." Clive seems content to give up his wild ways and settle down to preach love on Sundays and tend bar the rest of the week. And that's the way things might have gone if Billy Cox hadn't set out to paddle his kayak 800 miles to Seattle to meet the Dalai Lama and Jake Shoemaker hadn't come roaring into town looking for that drug money. But they do, and that means trouble for the hard-luck town that clings to life the way Miles clings to his hope of someday catching a king salmon. OF ALL THE places where Inspector Ian Rutledge's Scotland Yard assignments have taken him, the desolate Fen country must surely be the eeriest, HUNTING SHADOWS (Morrow/HarperCollins, $25.99), the latest book in Charles Todd's excellent historical series set in the aftermath of World War I, finds Rutledge in this watery land of cold and mist when a sniper picks off a guest at a society wedding. A second murder, executed with the same coldblooded precision, takes the life of a Tory politician. Rutledge recognizes the handiwork of an expert marksman and seeks out men who fought in the war. Sensitive to the internalized wounds of these traumatized veterans, he proceeds cautiously, earning the trust of the locals and eventually, if reluctantly, finding his man. THERE'S NO LITERARY law prohibiting genre authors from inventing personal lives for the cops in a police procedural. But there ought to be some kind of restraining order to keep them from letting hero worship get out of hand. The German crime writer Nele Neuhaus shows no such restraint in Steven T. Murray's translation Of BAD WOLF (Minotaur, $25.99), in which a vile case of child abuse is squeezed into a far more elaborate narrative about the Frankfurt homicide detectives investigating the crimes. Detective Superintendent Pia Kirchhoff and Inspector Oliver von Bodenstein seem like competent officers, but it's a miracle they're able to put in a day's work, considering the time they spend handling their domestic affairs, which encompass not only their past and current spouses and potential lovers but their bratty kids and troubled stepchildren, their equally busy friends (the pregnant ones, especially) and all the professional enemies who are (perhaps understandably) out to get them.

Library Journal Review

Starred Review. 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. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.