Beyond Recognition (Boldt and Matthews Series #4)by Ridley Pearson, Dale Hull
There is a homicidal arsonist loose in Seattle. Single mothers are being killed in fires that burn hotter than experts have ever seen. The children are spared. Why? For Seattle Police Sergeant Lou Boldt and the department's psychologist, Daphne Matthews, the High Temperature Accelerant fires challenge their every resource. The fuel used in these deadly fires is as… See more details below
There is a homicidal arsonist loose in Seattle. Single mothers are being killed in fires that burn hotter than experts have ever seen. The children are spared. Why? For Seattle Police Sergeant Lou Boldt and the department's psychologist, Daphne Matthews, the High Temperature Accelerant fires challenge their every resource. The fuel used in these deadly fires is as much a mystery as the identity of the arsonist who sets them. A Seattle fire marshal reveals to Boldt the ominous quotations sent to him before each of the fires. A twelve-year-old boy, caught in an ugly battle at home, unintentionally witnesses a drug deal that may not involve drugs at all, but ingredients far more volatile and lethal. Did the boy, in fact, see the arsonist's face? Can police rely on a twelve-year-old as a witness? Or is the fire marshal, his past suddenly in question, more involved than anyone wants to believe?
The fires are so hotone of them shoots a pillar of flame two miles into the airthat they destroy all physical evidence at ground zero, including the victims (the first is identified by a single bone). So The Scholar, so dubbed because he sends fire inspector Steven Garman a quotation from Nietzsche or Lao-tzu before carefully setting each fire, isn't leaving any traceexcept one: a series of visits to low-rent psychic Emily Richland to ask whether such-and-such a date is propitious. Emily duly notifies the cops, but, meantime, her unofficial helper, 12- year-old Ben Santori, has already gotten into the act, following her sinister visitor and putting himself squarely in harm's way. At the same time, Boldt and Matthews have managed not only to compile a group portrait of the victimsthey're all dark-haired divorcées with children between eight and ten who were spared from the fires that claimed their mothersbut to cobble together enough information about the arsonist's modus operandi to give them a prime suspect. Already on the ropes because of his wife Liz's suspicious behavior, Boldt struggles to put together a case, but not in time to save his family from being driven from their home. Now a point for the diabolically clever Scholar, now a point for the painstaking Boldt and Matthewsuntil they know enough to stake out a decoy in a hundred-page finale that'll give your heart more exercise than a ten-mile run.
Pearson's dazzling forensics will hook his usual fans. But it's the richness of incident and the control of pace that'll keep them dangling as he switches gears each time you think the story's got to be winding down in this exhilarating entertainment.
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