cover image Inferno


Karen Harper, . . Mira, $6.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-7783-2404-1

A serial arsonist ignites Harper's latest romantic thriller, the engaging story of a manhunt in a mountain logging community. Lauren Taylor is a bush pilot and single mom working out of her rural hometown of Vermillion, Mont., widowed two summers earlier when her husband died fighting a local wildfire. When a newcomer, Evan Durand, arrives in Vermillion, Lauren is sure she recognizes him as the Boy Next Door Arsonist she has read about in the papers, a deranged, egomaniacal killer wanted by the FBI. Lauren relays her suspicions to a federal hotline, and FBI arson investigator Brad Hale arrives to check out the scene. Soon the two are working together in a race to stop over-the-top Durand from carrying out his next explosive plot. Lauren and Brad are full, appealing characters who are easy to care for, and their growing mutual attraction feels organic and unforced. Harper keeps tension high as the insane villain cleverly evades efforts to capture him. And Harper really shines in the final act, providing readers with a satisfying and exciting denouement. Harper is also the author of The Hooded Hawke (Mystery, p. 36). (Jan.)