Valley of Ashes

Cornelia Read, Author
Cornelia Read. Grand Central, $24.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-446-51136-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-61969-164-3
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Fire—both literal and figurative—threatens to consume everything in Madeline Dare’s life in Read’s wrenching fourth suspense novel featuring the former debutante (after 2010’s Invisible Boy). Madeline is eager to return to writing, having relocated in 1995 to Boulder, Colo., for husband Dean’s new job. With Dean at work or away on business more often than he’s home, it’s hard to do more than wrangle their one-year-old twin daughters, Parrish and India, and keep her sanity, but Madeline still jumps at the chance to write restaurant reviews for the local paper. Meanwhile, crime-magnet Madeline can’t help overhearing her editor talking about Boulder’s string of increasingly brazen arson attacks, and soon she’s shadowing arson investigator Mimi Neff, a former New Yorker, unbeknownst to Dean. The tensions rise as Madeline’s marriage begins to buckle. There’s an inevitable sense of doom throughout, which Read doles out in perfectly proportioned doses. Agent: Amy Rennert, the Amy Rennert Agency. (Aug.)
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