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The Burnt House

by Faye Kellerman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Decker & Lazarus (16)

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1,0492514,883 (3.49)19
When a mysterious plane crashes, it leaves the charred remains of four unidentified bodies. As LAPD Lieutenant Peter Decker and his wife Rina investigate, they soon must race to unravel crucial clues before something sinister happens to anyone else.
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» See also 19 mentions

English (24)  German (1)  All languages (25)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
I was one of the original Faye Kellerman fans, starting with her first novels, “The Ritual Bath” and “Sacred and Profane,” and continuing through a half dozen or more Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus adventures. Then somehow I strayed away, pursuing other mystery series. It has been a pleasure returning to Kellerman with her 2007 novel, “The Burnt House.”

The crash of a commuter plane into an apartment building kills everyone aboard and several residents and triggers not one but two murder investigations. That the two murders are somehow related seems like a stretch, but otherwise this is a first-rate police procedural.

The airline can't seem to decide whether a flight attendant named Roseanne Dresden was aboard the doomed flight or not. She was not assigned to the flight and did not have a ticket, but she may have gotten aboard anyway. Her husband, Ivan, says she was aboard and wants to collect her insurance money. Her father, however, insists she was not aboard and that Ivan killed her, using the crash as a cover.

One unidentified body is found at the crash scene, but it is not Roseanne's. Rather it is that of a young woman who was apparently murdered in the 1970s.

Lieutenant Peter Decker and his team have their hands full with one murder and one missing person to deal with, and these two parallel investigations are absorbing to follow. There is little for Rina to do this time, other than to be a sweet Jewish wife and mother. Decker works such long hours that he doesn't even get home much. Rina does come through at the end, however, to resolve one last remaining problem.

All in all, “The Burnt House” is a fine murder mystery, leaving me eager to read some of the other unread Kellerman novels that have been piling up. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Nov 18, 2020 |
I actually think this book is more like a 3.5, but I give it a 4 because of good writing. The good writing, not the plot, is what kept me engaged.

A small commuter plane crashes into an apartment building. Everyone aboard is killed. As authorities comb the wreckage to recover bodies, the body of a flight attendant comes up missing. Peter Decker is on the case, investigating the missing flight attendant. Then authorities find a body that has nothing to do with the crash and that looks like it had been under the apartment building for decades.

As Decker investigates both of these cases, his team is sent back and forth from Los Angeles to San Jose to New Mexico as they slowly gather enough details to solve both mysteries.

The story was good but not so engaging that I couldn't put the book down. Faye Kellerman is an excellent writer, and her writing is what elevated this novel despite the lack of character depth. It's possible that the character depth was lacking because it had already been dealt with in previous Decker/Lazarus novels, but it seemed noticeably shallow in this book.

Regardless, I did enjoy this book, just not as much as I usually enjoy Kellerman's books. ( )
  niaomiya | May 2, 2020 |
Solid police procedural as Decker and his team work to identify a body found in an apartment building destroyed in a cataclysmic plane crash. Some confusion between the corpse and a missing flight attendant needs to get sorted out with the realization that they are investigating two murders. The cast of supporting characters stays interesting with the focus this time on the police rather than the family. ( )
  jamespurcell | May 24, 2017 |
It all begins with the crash of a small commuter plane out of Burbank (Bob Hope) airport early one morning and the supposed death of an airline steward. When all the victims are accounted for, her body is not identified, although the remains of bones beneath the destroyed structure into which the plane plunged are discovered. Thus begins the hunt for the truth behind the disappearance of two women. The skeleton is finally identified as someone gone missing thirty years before. The stewardess' body remains the subject of a continued search. Is the husband somehow responsible for her disappearance or even her possible murder?

I've read Faye Kellerman's Peter Decker series for years. It is without a doubt one of my favorites. This will not disappoint fans of the series or any newbie's starting to read it. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
When a man comes to police detective Peter Decker and tells him that his daughter Roseanne didn't die in the recent plane crash but thinks the husband killed her, Peter agrees to check into it. He and his detectives find that the body wasn't found among the crash ruins and the husband was seeing other women but that Roseanne has recently had an affair too. When another body from the crash is recovered and it's not Roseanne, things get complicated.

This was an easy to read police procedural with likable characters, a bit of humor, and several suspects that kept things interesting. The ending wrapped up a bit quickly but overall, I liked it. ( )
  gaylebutz | Jan 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kellerman, Fayeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, WillCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
To Jonathan, my on-the-spot editor and shrink
And a very special thanks to Bill Kurtis for all his help
First words
At eight-fifteen in the morning on a balmy Los Angeles winter's day, a 282 Lucent Industries Aircraft, better known as WestAir flight 1324, took off from Burbank Airport holding forty-seven commuters.
Quotations
One word of caveat. If you or your experts find a large amount of blood loss on a cushion of a couch or a chair, or on the bed, without any concomitant spatter to go with it, please proceed with caution. Men tend to forget that we woman sometimes leak during our periods. You don't want to arrest the man because Roseanne wore a faulty Tampex. [Said by judge issuing police a search warrant.]
Decker often wondered about the exact purpose of exercise. If it was just to elevate the heart rate, there were lots of other ways to do that without spending mind-numbing hours killing one's feet on a treadmill: sex, stress, and caffeine instantly came to mind.
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When a mysterious plane crashes, it leaves the charred remains of four unidentified bodies. As LAPD Lieutenant Peter Decker and his wife Rina investigate, they soon must race to unravel crucial clues before something sinister happens to anyone else.

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