cover image Ashes Never Lie

Ashes Never Lie

Lee Goldberg. Thomas & Mercer, $28.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-662512-38-4

Goldberg’s crafty second procedural featuring L.A. arson investigators Walter Sharpe and Andrew Walker (after Malibu Burning) finds the partners looking into a pair of suspicious blazes. First, they’re called to the scene of a fire at an unoccupied new home. Before they can investigate thoroughly, Sharpe and Walker are called to a nearby house that has burned down with a male corpse inside. That discovery brings homicide detective Eve Ronin (who anchors a different Goldberg series) and her sidekick, Duncan Pavone, into the investigation. Together, all four try to determine whether the dead man—Patrick Lopresti, who has a bullet wound in his head in addition to severe burns—was murdered or took his own life. Soon, they learn Lopresti worked for a biotech firm developing “biological defenses against emerging infectious diseases,” and that he was having an affair with his colleague Justine Bryce, who was accidentally infected with a supervirus and has since gone missing. As the four search for Justine, they unravel a deadly conspiracy that links back to Sharpe and Walker’s initial investigation. Goldberg manages to give each of his four leads their due while keeping the investigation’s fuse burning bright. This series deserves a long life. Agent: Amy Tannenbaum, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Sept.)