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The Burnt House (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #16) [NOOK Book]


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 ...

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The Burnt House (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #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. 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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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A coincidence so improbable that a character comments on it renders bestseller Kellerman's 16th novel to feature Lt. Peter Decker of the LAPD and wife Rina Lazarus (after 2003's Street Dreams) one of the series' lesser entries. After a commuter airplane crashes into an apartment building shortly after takeoff from Burbank Airport, Decker and his team investigate what many fear was a terrorist attack. Meanwhile, the parents of Roseanne Dresden, a flight attendant, suspect that their daughter was murdered by her stockbroker husband, Ivan, who claims his wife joined the doomed flight at the last minute. Roseanne was considering divorce, and Ivan stood to lose financially. As the probes into the crash and into Roseanne's fate converge, readers will find it a challenge to suspend disbelief. Fans of the extended Decker-Lazarus clan will enjoy catching up with old friends, but those looking for a plausible police procedural may be disappointed. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus fans will rejoice at another popular Kellerman murder mystery featuring the LAPD lieutenant and his sleuthing family. A small plane has crashed into an apartment building. The remains of the passengers have been found except those of flight attendant Roseanne Dresden, whose father doubts that his daughter was on the doomed flight and is convinced that her philandering husband Ivan has murdered her. The crumbling body of an unidentified murder victim is found in the rubble of the destroyed building, and although it's not Roseanne, it is linked to her in an unbelievable way. An excellent reading by George Guidall brings out the varied personalities of the characters; the voice of Roseanne's father is especially interesting. The coincidences in this book are a little too far-fetched, and although Peter's wife, Rina, and daughter Cindy and her husband, Koby, make an appearance, they do not play major roles in helping Peter solve the case. Recommended for the murder mystery section of libraries that collect the Decker/Lazarus series.
—Ilka Gordon

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061739774
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Series: Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series , #16
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 27,719
  • File size: 940 KB

Meet the Author

Faye  Kellerman

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


It's tempting to compare Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus to Dashiell Hammett's classic crime-solving couple, Nick and Nora Charles. But Faye Kellerman's duo, who debuted in 1983, bear more resemblance to her own husband-wife dynamic with fellow bestselling thriller author Jonathan Kellerman. Decker is an L.A. cop; wife Rina is an Orthodox Jewish mom who gets very involved in her husband's work. The series comes with a love story built in, since in the first title, Ritual Bath, Lazarus is a witness meeting Detective Decker for the first time. Over the next dozen-odd novels, the two fall in love, get married, have children and solve crimes along the way.

Kellerman, who was inspired by her husband to begin writing, is also the author of Moon Music, a contemporary thriller set in Las Vegas, and The Quality of Mercy, a historical novel of Elizabethan England. Fans needn't worry, however, that Kellerman is going to abandon the pair she is best known for. "I never tire of them," Kellerman says in an interview on her publisher's web site of Decker and Lazarus. "I like them very much, but to keep them fresh is the main reason why I have two 'outside-the-series' or 'stand alone' books. Once in a while you have to sit back and gain some perspective on these people that you are writing about year after year."

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    1. Hometown:
      Beverly Hills, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 31, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Louis, Missouri
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Mathematics, 1974; D.D.A., 1978

Read an Excerpt

The Burnt House LP

By Faye Kellerman

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Faye Kellerman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061259517

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 fromthe 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?"


"Use it!" The captain hung up.

"What?" Rina was pale.

"Plane crash—"

"Oh my God!" Rina gasped.

"It landed on an apartment—" Decker stopped talking, his ears picking up the wail of the background sirens. He glanced back at the TV screen.



"Where on Seacrest?"

"Between Hobart and Macon."

"Peter, that's about five minutes from Hannah's school!"

"Go get the Volvo. I'll convoy you over with the siren in the unmarked and then go out to the scene."

Rina's eyes were still glued to the TV screen. Unceremoniously, Decker turned it off. "You can listen on the radio. Let's go!"

Rina snapped out of her stupor, realizing the extent of what was to follow. A very long day followed by a very, very long night. She wasn't going to see him for the next twenty-four hours. But unlike the people on the plane, she would see him again. Her heart started racing, her throat clogged up with emotions, but words escaped her.

Once they were outside, she found her voice. "Be careful, Peter."

He nodded, but he wasn't paying attention. He opened the car door for her and she slipped inside. "I love you."

"Love you, too. And yes, I will be careful."

"Thank you. I didn't think you heard me."

"Normally, I probably wouldn't have, but right now I could hear a butterfly. That's what happens when overdrive kicks in. All senses suddenly warp speed to hyperalert."

Like most private schools, Beth Jacob Hebrew Academy High School—grades nine through twelve—had recently flexed its flaccid muscles against its overindulged adolescent inhabitants. Teachers, tired of beeps, whistles, and ring tones interrupting lessons, complained to the administration that in turn passed a draconian law—according to fourteen-year-old Hannah Decker—that prohibited the possession of any electronic gadgets, the sole exception being calculators for advanced math. The ordinance had gone into effect three weeks prior—a case of poor timing because with the land phones out, the school was frantically trying to reach parents on the limited cell phones that it had.

Most of the parents had an inkling that something was wrong, so by the time Decker and Rina pulled up, there was already a line of SUVs waiting to haul away the children.


Excerpted from The Burnt House LP by Faye Kellerman Copyright © 2007 by Faye Kellerman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 190 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 192 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2011

    Boring...i don't like the characters

    I've read her books with these characters before, but unfortunately forgot that i just can't get into them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2010

    Outstanding Book

    Of all of the Peter Decker books, I found this one to be the best. The mix of police procedures, Jewish culture, action, and human interest was Faye Kellerman at her best.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2010

    A good one

    This is my idea of a nice summer, winter, fall read for the mentally exhausted. It's a great escape that doesn't tax the brain but adds a bit of escape-ism to the weekend. This is not a fast paced novel nor is it a slow one, either. Just a pleasant read and the ending is a bit of a surprise, the middle offers up many suspects who come and go and come and go with pathos mixed into the tale. And yes, the title is itself a clue but hidden inbetween the covers. I recommend this to everyone who likes a good mystery that can be put down long enough for a good night's sleep - but that's all b/c a reader just has to know how a good book ends. Thanks, Faye. I'll read another. Oh and I like that there isn't any icky stuff hidden inside to capture a different audience to increase sales. It just wasn't necessary. You know what I mean!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Slow Burn

    A West Air commuter jet takes off from Burbank Airport bound for San Jose, California. The plane was climbing to cruising altitude when suddenly it yawed to port and reversed its climb. The plane dove back to earth and crashed with deadly force and exploded into an eighteen-unit apartment building.<BR/> The crash site was located in the community of Granada Hills some twenty miles northwest of Los Angeles.<BR/>Fire, police and rescue teams rushed to the scene to find no survivors. Once the fire was out and the body count didn¿t add up the Los Angeles Police Department, West Valley Division led by Detective Lieutenant Decker began the search for flight attendant Roseanne Dresden. The search for Roseanne turns into a possible murder investigation.<BR/>Kellerman sets up a twisted plot by throwing in an extra body of an unidentified murder victim into the crash scene. As it turned out that murder occurred thirty years before the crash.<BR/>The book is well written but at times the storyline is implausible and the pace is tedious. There were far too many conversations full of small talk that didn¿t advance the plot. Long-winded interrogations added to the slow pace and officers repeating information from those scenes to associates didn¿t help.<BR/>That being said I read on to the bitter end. Better for speed readers. <BR/>Tom Barnes author of 'Doc Holliday's Road to Tombstone.'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fast-paced police procedural

    During the morning rush hours, a commuter plane leaving Burbank Airport crashes into a Granada Hills apartment building all forty-seven passengers die. The country is stunned with most people assuming the World Trade center scenario on a smaller scale. LAPD Police Lieutenant Peter Decker leads the investigation while the media and public demand instant answers. He and his wife Rina Lazarus dig deep to determine who and what caused the crash why more corpses are in the rubble than on the passenger list and finally what happened to flight attendant twenty-eight-year-old Roseanne Dresden, whose husband Ivan says she was on the tragic flight and her name is on the manifesto, but her body is not. --- The latest Decker-Lazarus police procedural is an exhilarating fast-paced thriller that starts off with the horrific crash and never slows down until the final twists. The action keeps coming throughout as the lead couple struggles with all three interrelated mysteries while the country fears further incidents the media and the government keep the pressure high to resolve the case. Although plausibility and critical coincidence is higher than the federal debt, fans of the series will enjoy the return of the pair as they work a complex convoluted case. --- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2014

    excellent book

    A very good book and I highly recommend it and any of the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series. So far they have all been good.

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  • Posted June 20, 2012

    They are all different . . .

    Each Lazarus/Decker book is different, and it's a real pleasure to know that you are not reading the same book you just finished. I will read the other books she wrote now that I've finished this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Starting to love this Author

    THE BURNT HOUSE.... So far, so good. Starting to love this author, looking forward to reading other books by her.

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  • Posted December 5, 2011


    Faye Kellerman is the best. I always read her books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2011

    Recommend it!

    The Lazarus series has been very enjoyable. Each book has been a page turner. I highly recommend the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2011



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  • Posted September 6, 2010

    Just so-so

    Ok story line, but dialogue is stilted, unnatural, repetitive. Not one of her better efforts.

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  • Posted July 30, 2010

    The Mountain Between Us, by Charles Martin

    Charles Martin can certainly tell a compelling story--one that keeps the reader not only turning pages, but also strongly wanting to know what is about to happen next to the characters, and to what that will lead in their lives. His characters seem real and worthy of knowing. His story development is believable because it is based in reality. The love his characters have and/or discover is powerful, intriguing, and fascinatingly drives who they are, how they respond, and how they live. It is the kind of deeply connected and committed love most people wish they had, and search for most of their lives if they don't. This is authentically true of his previous book, Where the River Ends, and of his most recent book, The Mountain Between Us. In this new book he tells the story of two people who have survived a plane crash in January in the desolate, isolated, high wilderness of the Uintas Mountains, each with injuries. One is Ben Payne, a surgeon who was trying to get back home to his practice and his injuries are less serious; the other, Ashley Knox, is a magazine columnist who was trying to get back home for her wedding, and hers are quite serious. The doctor treats them as best he can, then starts to figure a way to get them out of where they are, though that is an extremely difficult task, detailed in fascinatingly authentic ways. Martin even traveled to those mountains for research for this book, and obviously talked to people who know about what it would take for such survival. The struggles the two crash survivors go through are life-threateningly fascinating in quite a number of ways, including travel and search for food and shelter in an inhospitable winter wilderness. The relationship they develop to help each other survive is worthy of being told often, most especially the significance of humor, about which the surgeon makes a fascinating claim that I suspect is actually experienced by surgeons.
    Another essential character is the surgeon's wife, who appears through his reflections of her as he talks into a hand-held recorder to be given to her. One of those reflections includes the bed-side manner he learned from her that would be good for all surgeons to learn. Their love for each other is deeply touching and moving.
    The book would make a wonderful movie, though only if they didn't mess with the surprise ending--one that is heartwarmingly delightful, yet deeply emotional. I do so believe this is a book any reader will be glad they read, and will treasure its memories for years to come.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Not Faye Kellerman

    As a long-time fan of Faye Kellerman's, I find it difficult to believe that she actually wrote this book. The language is that of a twenty-something, semi-literate writer, the plot is weak. If I had never read any of her other books, I would put her on my 'Do Not Read' list. She is an excellent writer, but this cannot be hers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2009

    Faye Kellerman...

    I like all her books...great escape literature, well-written, interesting characters. I like the continuity of her characters throughout her books. Very good reading for those in need of a serious down-time activity. I share these books with my sister-in-law!

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  • Posted May 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    House Fire

    characters are kooky. Lots of interesting things about religion in the book. I liked it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Book was a good read. Not as good as some of her previous books but I like the Peter/Rina combination. Each one is different but grows the characters a little more each time. Mostly well written but not one of her best.

    A good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2008

    disappointing x 3

    Book drags on and on about nothing. No action or suspense that I could see. This was my first Faye Kellerman and may be my last. I read 6 to 8 books a week and this was a real bummer. I made it to page 167

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2008

    not very good

    I think Faye Kellerman's writing has gone into decline. The plot of this book is extremely unrealistic, and it is about as exciting as sawdust. Its only redeeming feature is that long-time readers learn a little more about the fates of the Decker-Lazarus clan and their friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2007

    Outstanding Story!

    The Burnt House is a fast-paced, thrilling story that had me glued to my seat for hours on end! I loved the characters and found them easy to relate to. The plot was exciting and I was thrilled from chapter to chapter until the final page! This book is a keeper!

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 192 Customer Reviews

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