cover image The Bone Fire

The Bone Fire

Christine Barber, Minotaur, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-59350-6

The discovery of a small skull in the embers of the ceremonial blaze opening Fiesta de Santa Fe, in New Mexico, plunges newspaper editor and volunteer EMT Lucy Newroe into a disturbing mystery—and an even deeper funk—in Barber's haunting whodunit, the sequel to her 2008 debut, The Replacement Child. Before authorities can even confirm whether the remains belong to toddler Brianna Rodriguez, who vanished during a family barbecue the previous year, grisly displays start sprouting at shrines across the city. About all that Lucy knows is that the culprit can't be the schizophrenic neighbor quickly taken into custody. The hunt for answers takes the sympathetic journalist, whose escalating drinking can't dull her guilt over a woman killed during her previous case, and her sometime antagonist, Det. Sgt. Gilbert Montoya, through a vividly evoked Santa Fe off the tourist trail and, finally, to the surprising and terrible truth. (July)