cover image Burn You Twice

Burn You Twice

Mary Burton. Montlake, $12.95 trade paper (364p) ISBN 978-1-5420-2128-9

In 2010, college student Joan Mason and her best friend, Ann Bailey, were rescued from a fire that destroyed the house they shared in Missoula, Mont., as revealed in the prologue of this solid romantic thriller from Burton (Never Look Back). A fellow student, Elijah Weston, was subsequently tried and convicted of the crime, though he professed his innocence. Ten years later, Joan is a Philadelphia homicide detective who specializes in arson cases. When she learns Elijah is being released from prison, she returns to Missoula, as does Elijah. On the day of his arrival, a fatal fire occurs. Though Elijah has an alibi, Missoula police detective Gideon Bailey, Ann’s brother and Joan’s college sweetheart, who still carries a torch for her, suspects him. When a woman dies in yet another burning building, Joan vows to find the culprit, which requires her to examine her past and relive the terrifying night she nearly died. Convincing characters redeem some unlikely plot twists. Burton does a good job balancing gentle romance with high-tension suspense. Agent: Karen Solem, Spencerhill Assoc. (Sept.)