Grand Central, Feb 1 2011, $7.99
In Charlottesville, Virginia, FBI arson investigator Kenton Lake rushes into a burning building to save informer Larry Powell who he was to meet there. A firefighter uses force to make him leave; Lora Spade cannot understand the man’s death wish. The firefighters rescue a man who is not the informer. They later find Larry’s remains inside a padlocked area. Coroner Heather Jennings informs Kent that Larry was dead before the fire. Lora joins them and Kent identifies himself as Special Services Division who she asked to intercede when the county arson investigator Seth MacIntyre rejected her belief a serial arsonist was lighting the fires. Lora explains to GQ as she calls him the pattern is the culprit kills with the fire. Kent agrees with Lora’s assessment.
Kent’s chief Hyde sends top profiler Monica Davenport to assist. Hyde tells Seth that Kent is in charge. Monica believes a firefighter is the culprit as the person is extremely knowledgeable. Attracted to each other, Kent and Lora agree to meet at her house after work. They make love and he sees her fire scars. She says she sees Kent in bed with her and not her late lover who died in one of the fires. As the SSD team and Lora work the case, she and Kent fall in love, but disagree strongly as to who the killer could be.
The suspense grips the audience from the moment the brave strong lead couple meets within an inferno. The support cast, including the leads from the first SSD thriller Deadly Fear, plays key but diverse roles. Although the serial killer would have had to pull off an Academy Award performance to be in such plain sight and a major coincidence enables the culprit to continue to hide, readers will relish Cynthia Eden’s strong romantic suspense.