The Burnt House (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #16)

The Burnt House (Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series #16)

3.6 189
by Faye Kellerman, George Guidall

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New York Times bestselling author Faye Kellerman spins a gripping tale of a modern-day nightmare that ensnares L.A. Homicide Detective Peter Decker and his wife Rina Lazarus in a web of secrets and murder.

A small commuter plane carrying forty-seven passengers crashes into an apartment building and L.A.P.D. Lieutenant Peter Decker works overtime to calm

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New York Times bestselling author Faye Kellerman spins a gripping tale of a modern-day nightmare that ensnares L.A. Homicide Detective Peter Decker and his wife Rina Lazarus in a web of secrets and murder.

A small commuter plane carrying forty-seven passengers crashes into an apartment building and L.A.P.D. Lieutenant Peter Decker works overtime to calm rampant fears. But a grisly mystery lives inside the plane's wreckage: the unidentified bodies of four extra travelers. And there is no sign of an airline employee who was supposedly on the catastrophic flight. 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 husband. But why was Roseanne's name included on the passenger list?


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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

Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus Series, #16
Edition description:

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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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