Horror-romance mystery. Clean Burn by Karen Sandler has something for everyone: romance, mystery, arson, self harm, child abuse, and insanity.
Janelle Watkins is private detective trying to specialize in infidelity, but being drawn to other cases by her twin compulsions for fire and missing children. The story starts with two missing children and a strings of small fires and eventually leads her to her small hometown in the hills outside Sacramento, and coincidentally Ken Heinz. Ken is now the sheriff, but was formerly her "partner" when both were in the SFPD.
The mystery unfolds in the small town of Janelle's childhood and parallel histories of child abuse are shared by Janelle and the perpetrator.
As mysteries with female detectives go, this one is much darker than anything offered
or Alexander McCall Smith or the many other excellent writers of light mysteries.
I can recommend this to anyone looking for a darker take on mystery.
I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway on July 9, 2014.
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