cover image The Burning

The Burning

Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman. Ballantine, $28.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-525-62011-2

It’s wildfire season in Northern California, a time of “million-acre fires, killing winds, and weeklong blackouts,” in the Kellermans’ intriguing fourth mystery featuring Clay Edison, Alameda County’s deputy coroner (after 2020’s Half Moon Bay). Kitted out in a respirator mask, Clay makes his way to a crime scene on the sprawling estate of wealthy Rory Vandervelde, a collector of all things expensive, from sports memorabilia to rare automobiles, who has been shot dead. In the victim’s garage, Clay is shocked to find a late-’60s Camaro, painted a searing shade of green, which he identifies as belonging to his problematic younger brother, Luke. His suspicions mount when he can’t locate Luke. Faced with the need to protect his brother, Clay decides to run a clandestine investigation of his own. In doing so, he crosses ethical and professional borders, and soon his lies are “piling up like bad debt.” The troubled familial relationships play an integral part in the unraveling of the whodunit and the why, adding pathos to the riveting finale. Once again, the bestselling Kellermans provide food for thought along with a tidy mystery. (Sept.)