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The Burnt House

Cover of The Burnt House

The Burnt House

Peter Decker / Rina Lazarus Series, Book 16
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At 8:15 in the morning, a small commuter plane carrying forty-seven passengers crashes into an apartment building in Granada Hills, California. Shock waves ripple through Los Angeles, as L.A.P.D....More
At 8:15 in the morning, a small commuter plane carrying forty-seven passengers crashes into an apartment building in Granada Hills, California. Shock waves ripple through Los Angeles, as L.A.P.D....More
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Description-
  • At 8:15 in the morning, a small commuter plane carrying forty-seven passengers crashes into an apartment building in Granada Hills, California. Shock waves ripple through Los Angeles, as L.A.P.D. Lieutenant Peter Decker works overtime to calm rampant fears of a 9/11-type terror attack. But a grisly mystery lives inside the plane's charred and twisted wreckage: the unidentified bodies of four extra travelers. And there is no sign of an airline employee who was supposedly on the catastrophic flight.

    Decker and his wife, Rina, have personal reasons for being profoundly shaken by the tragedy, since the "accident" occurred frighteningly close to their daughter Hannah's school. Luckily, their child and her schoolmates escaped unscathed. But the fate of the unaccounted-for flight attendant—twenty-eight-year-old Roseanne Dresden—remains a question mark more than a month after the horrific event, when the young woman's irate stepfather calls, insisting that she was never onboard the doomed plane. Instead, he claims, she was most likely murdered by her abusive, unfaithful husband. But why, then, was Roseanne's name included on the passenger list?

    Under intense pressure from the department to come up with answers, Decker launches an investigation that carries him down a path of tragic history, dangerous secrets, and deadly lies—and leads him to the corpse of a three-decades-missing murder victim. And as the jagged pieces slowly fall into place, a frightening picture begins to form: a mind-searing portrait of unimaginable evil that will challenge Decker's and Rina's own beliefs about guilt and innocence and justice.

    Combining relentless suspense with intense, multilayered human drama, The Burnt House is Faye Kellerman at her mesmerizing best.

 
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    The cereal spoon stopped midair. Rina turned to her husband. "What was that?"

    "I don't know." The lights flickered and died along with the TV, the refrigerator, and probably everything in the house electrical. Decker reached over and picked up the portable phone. He punched in one of the landlines but got no response.

    Rina lowered the spoon into the cereal bowl. "Dead?"

    "Yep." Decker flicked the light switch on and off, a futile gesture of hope. It was eight in the morning and the kitchen was bathed in eastern light that didn't require electrical augmentation. "Something blew. Probably a major transformer." He frowned. "That shouldn't affect the phone lines, though." He pulled out his cell and tried to contact someone on a landline at work. With no response coming from the other end, Decker knew that the damage was widespread.

    The Los Angeles Police Department's West Valley substation—Devonshire Division in another age—was a few miles away from where Decker lived. When this kind of thing happened, the place was a madhouse, a switchboard of panicked people with emergency lines ringing off the hook. "I should go to work."

    "You didn't eat," Rina said.

    "I'll grab something from the machines."

    "Peter, if it's just a transformer, there isn't anything you can do about it. You'll probably have a long day. I think you should fuel up."

    There was logic to that. Decker sat back down and poured some skim milk into his cereal bowl, already laden with strawberries and bananas. "I suppose the squad room can wait another five minutes." They ate in silence for two bites. He noticed the wrinkle in Rina's brow. "You're concerned about Hannah."

    "A little."

    "I'll stop by the school on my way to work."

    "I'd appreciate it." Rina tried to think of something to say to distract both of them. The default conversation was the kids. "Cindy called yesterday. She and Koby are coming over Friday night for dinner."

    "Great." A pause as Decker finished his cereal. "How are the boys?"

    "I talked to Sammy yesterday. He's fine. Jacob only calls before Shabbos or if he's upset. Since he hasn't called, I'm assuming everything's okay."

    Decker nodded, although his mind was racing through emergency procedure. He stood and tried the land phone again. The machine was still lifeless. "Is the den computer still plugged into a battery pack?"

    "I think so."

    "Let me try something." Decker unplugged the small, portable, kitchen TV and lugged it into the back den. Rina followed and watched her husband drop to the floor and insert the electrical cord into one of the empty sockets. The seven-inch screen sprang to life. Decker tried one of the local stations. The TV was color but showed only images in shades of black and gray.

    "What are we looking at?" Rina asked.

    "A fire." As if to underscore Decker's pronouncement, a billowing cloud of orange flames materialized. His cell jumped to life. "Decker."

    "Strapp here. Where are you?"

    For the captain to be calling him on his cell, something was really wrong. "At home. I'm just about to leave—"

    "Don't come into the station. We've got a dire situation. Plane crash on Seacrest Drive between Hobart and Macon—"

    "Good Lord—"

    "What?" Rina asked.

    Frantically, Decker waved her off.

    "Is it Hannah?"

    Decker shook his head while trying to digest the captain's words. ". . . took down an apartment building. A few firefighters are already at the scene, but the local units are going to need reinforcements ASAP. All units are being directed to Seacrest and Belarose. We're planning tactical."

    "I'm ten minutes away."

    "You got a roof light in your vehicle?"

    "Yes."

    "Use it!" The captain hung up.

    "What?" Rina was pale.

    "Plane crash...

About the Author-
  • Faye Kellerman lives with her husband, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman, in Los Angeles, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Peter Decker / Rina Lazarus Series, Book 16
Faye Kellerman
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Faye Kellerman
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