Faye Kellerman: The Burnt House : Book Review Number 2


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BOOK REVIEW: THE BURNT HOUSE
BY FAYE KELLERMAN

We hope you enjoy this book review by Douglas R. Cobb.

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When WestAir flight 1324 goes down in flames claiming the lives of everyone on board, one personís remains are conspicuous by their absence: those of flight attendant Roseanne Dresden. Her parents, Shareen and Farley Lodestone, think itís because she never was on the plane in the first place, and that her unfaithful husband, Ivan Dresden, murdered her, and made up the story that she was on the flight list so he could collect the insurance money. Lieutenant Peter Decker isnít sure what to think, but does his best to calm the Lodestones down and assure them he will help them find out what happened to their daughter. Is it just that they are in denial, and that for some reason they donít get along well with their son-in-law? Or is it that Roseanne really was murdered? Check out The Burnt House, Faye Kellermanís latest suspenseful page-turning novel, to find out!

The intrigue deepens when the remains of a woman are discovered below the foundation of a burnt house at the crash site. She is burned so much she is unrecognizable, and she is wearing a pink tour jacket of a 1970's musical duo called Priscilla and the Major. Her teeth - whatís left of them - donít match up with the dental records of Roseanne Dresden, though, and now Decker and his officers have their work compounded for them. Instead of one missing persons and possible murder case to solve, now they have two. And, talk about a cold case - the woman in the pink jacket has been dead for thirty-two years! What, if anything, is the connection between the two women?

Deckerís wife, Rina, offers her husband moral support and advice as he slogs through both cases, racking up the overtime to try to bring them to a resolution and provide desperately needed answers to the relatives of the victims. Detectives Scott Oliver and Marge Dunn are also back, tracking down leads and interrogating witnesses. The two cases take them to San Jose and New Mexico before theyíre done with them, and into an investigation of the members of a hippie New Age cult that the Jane Doe with the tour jacket and her husband, Manny Hernandez, had belonged to.

There are no psychotic serial killers in The Burnt House, as is the fare of many popular mystery bestsellers. It is a nuts-and-bolts procedural crime novel, sort of a Cold Case Files story but with heart. Part of the enjoyment of reading a Decker and Rina novel is reading about their home lives and how much Judaism plays a large role in their lives and relationships. You get to know them and love them, as if they were members of your own family. When Decker agonizes over a case, you feel for him, and when he makes headway in it, you are included in his rejoicing.

The Burnt House is a novel that any mystery lover or anyone who likes procedural crime stories will be glad to make a space in his library for. It is a New York Times bestseller already, and has enough suspense in it to keep you reading until late into the night. An added bonus is that it, like many paperbacks lately, has a chapter at the end from the next book in the series, The Mercedes Coffin. Both off these books should be very good news for fans of Decker and Rina, and are sure to attract even more fans to Faye Kellermanís suspenseful and dynamic novels.

REVIEWED BY DOUGLAS R. COBB

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, DOUGLAS R. COBB


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