cover image A Taste for Burning

A Taste for Burning

Jo Bannister. St. Martin's Press, $19.95 (251pp) ISBN 978-0-312-13191-3

Bannister's (The Matrix) tightly knit British procedural dealing with racism and other issues of morality accelerates gradually in tempo and intensity. Detective Chief Inspector Frank Shapiro is admired and emulated by his sergeant, Cal Donovan, and highly regarded by Assistant Inspector Liz Graham. Their loyalty is tested, however, when Shapiro is put on leave for possibly having withheld evidence in a high-profile case eight years earlier. Donovan and Graham are deeply absorbed in a case of fatal arson in the Asian community in their town of Castlemere, but on their own time, and without telling their stuffy, by-the-books superintendent, they cautiously work to clear Shapiro's name. Weaving through their steady efforts is a cast of difficult family members and self-righteous con men. The ultimate question-on which side of the law is the evildoer?-is answered in a conclusion that, while somewhat drawn-out and melodramatic, features an interesting twist. (June)