Faye Kellerman

The Burnt House

""… hard to put down…" "


A West Air plane on its way to San Jose, California develops engine problems and plummets into the ground. As the search for bodies gets underway, one couple are convinced that their daughter, Roseanne, who has been included on the official 'missing' list, was not on the plane. Instead they are certain that their son-in-law has deliberately added her name to the list of casualties to hide the fact that he has murdered Roseanne himself. Roseanne had been threatening to divorce her philandering husband. Something that would have left him destitute.

Detective Pete Decker's attempts to help the parents unravel the mystery of their daughter's disappearance is hampered by the discovery of a female's body amongst the wreckage which is definitely not Roseanne's. He now has to investigate a thirty-year-old mystery with the only clue to the girl's identity - a piece of fabric with the name of a 1970's group stitched onto it. As the two cases progress, a common link is eventually found to connect them.

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Moving away from the setting of her last novel, Straight into Darkness, a thriller set in Nazi Germany, this new book from Faye Kellerman sees her return to familiar territory. Modern day Los Angeles is a rich source of material for Kellerman and she once more unites LA detectives Peter Decker and Marge Dunn to investigate the alleged crimes. The book is billed as a Pete Decker/Rina Lazarus mystery but in fact I prefer the character of Marge Dunn whose personal life is finally settling down. Her paramour was introduced in Faye Kellerman's last collaboration with her husband Jonathan, Capital Crimes, which was a useful bridge between previous novels featuring Pete Decker and this current book. The plotting is very well done and the pace of the novel moves well. The link between the two cases stretches the imagination somewhat but this doesn't detract from the book. Instead, the reader is drawn to both contemporary Los Angeles and 1970s California, with its free love and maverick cult leaders. By the end I found the book hard to put down and I am sure that other Kellerman fans will find it equally enjoyable.

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