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Publisher's Summary

When a vibrant young woman is found in bed by her hot-shot businessman husband, carved from belly to throat with a very sharp knife, the elite Robbery-Homicide Division of the LAPD responds in full force. Best-case scenario for lead Detective Lena Gamble: Nikki Brant's husband killed her, case closed, and on to the next crime scene before the ravenous Hollywood media can get their lurid tabloid machinery up and running.

Unfortunately for Lena, though, she knows that best-case scenarios only happen in the movies. The murder is the first in a series of brutal crimes against beautiful women thought to be perpetrated by the same man, a killer dubbed Romeo in the press. It's the case of a lifetime, and promises to either elevate Lena to the upper echelons of a publicity-hungry department in need of heroes, or bring about a very public and painful fall from grace. Lena has been in the public eye before, on the night her rock-star brother was gunned down on a dark street in Hollywood - an unsolved murder so grisly she's never recovered. She knows the score when the press and the LAPD collide.

As the investigation plays out and a massive forest fire blankets the city with acrid smoke, a cloud of conspiracy descends on Lena's investigation, and she knows she'll have to grind this one out...because Nikki Brant's death just breathed new life into more than one closed case...because the web of conspiracy is spun more intricately than she can possibly imagine... and because Lena knows there's only one rock-solid rule to murder in L.A.: The bigger the spectacle, the deeper the horror.

©2008 Robert Ellis (P)2007 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    74
  • 4 Stars
    89
  • 3 Stars
    32
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    9

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    61
  • 4 Stars
    69
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    7
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    5

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    60
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    72
  • 3 Stars
    23
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    9
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

incredible

As a longtime listener and reader of mysteries and thrillers this is one of the finest of both these genres combined. Ellis is a breath of fresh air in the congested world of writing. Well plotted, twisty, surprising and excellent character development. Couldn't ask for more.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • kathy
  • jasper, GA, United States
  • 01-12-11

Robert Ellis is one of my new FAVORITE authors!

I checked out The Lost Witness through my library and loved it. I then did some research on this author and found that he has only written 4 books. I found City of Fire through Audible and was just as pleased with this book. I contacted the author and found that his first two books only came out as paperbacks ): . The narrator does a very good job with character changes. This thriller is for all that love twist and turns up until the last page and enjoy staying up all night to finish. You will not be able to put this one down!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Glenda
  • Bolton, MA, United States
  • 01-16-12

Good to the last drop!

Just like a good cup of coffee, this book held you to the very end. You were constantly trying to figure out who was the good guy and who was the bad guy -- and who was the really bad guy.

Great story and excellent narration. I am anxious to move to her next story.

It was interesting to have a man write such a striking novel about a woman -- thanks.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 05-19-15

Too Many Words...

Maybe Robert Ellis got paid by the word? How else to explain the tedious detail that’s like sand in a useful machine? Imagine something like,

“She looked down. There was grass. No… not grass, but green, maybe shamrocks? Or maybe just weeds on the surface wet with dew. Dew? Yes, dew that the LA sun hadn’t boiled from beneath her brown shoes. Dew that meant there was a night before. Dew that covered the world. So she looked up and at her watch and wondered about time…”

Get it? Tedious details that advance neither the plot nor narrative, nor even character complexity. I’m reminded of third grade essay assignments that demanded us to hand in 200 words, words we counted and recounted until they added up.

Pity, since the story is good, the plot intriguing, and the characterizations reasonably deep and resonant. I’ll probably get another Robert Ellis novel in hopes that this was the result of maybe a publisher’s need for length rather than a writer’s intent to engage his audience.

Oh yeah… Reneé Raudman read it OK as long as I could get over her wrestling matches with creating believable male voices. But maybe that’s how men sound to women? If so, perhaps women will like her reading more than I did.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • cristina
  • Somerville, MA, United States
  • 01-08-16

Mediocre

The story is just mediocre. The reader makes it worse. Some of her male voices are truly bad. I might give the author, who seems to be getting so much praise, another chance...but not if it's read by Raudman.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • KMG
  • MADISON, WI, United States
  • 03-05-15

Truly atrocious writing

What disappointed you about City of Fire?

The characters are one dimensional. The metaphors and descriptions the author uses are laughable and ridiculous. The plot is completely predictable. I have 3 hours left and I'm not sure I'm going to finish listening. Some of the worst writing I have ever listened to. I'm so disappointed I wasted a credit on this book.

Would you ever listen to anything by Robert Ellis again?

No.

What three words best describe Renée Raudman’s voice?

The narrator is fine.

Any additional comments?

Terrible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Terrible Reader

I will have to buy the print version as this reader was so poor I could not finish, not even close. Her inability to differentiate between characters made following impossible. Deadpan, monotone inflection left any emphasis flat and meaningless. It sounded as if she had just learned to read.
The book may have some value, but was wasted by this narration!

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Verbose, confusing, boring

What would have made City of Fire better?

Focusing on one or two storylines would have made this better. Too many characters with similar names and multiple storylines. Confusing because I couldn't tell if some characters had multiple names. Who was Romeo? Bellows? Martin? Burrells? Rhodes? Harriet? A lot of loose ends. The story started out strong with one focus of a murdered woman, but lost the focus along the way. Funeral services set up like movie sets is a cliche for Los Angeles. Ugh...

Would you ever listen to anything by Robert Ellis again?

One more book in my library so I will listen to it. If the story is as convoluted as this one, probably

Which character – as performed by Renée Raudman – was your favorite?

None

What character would you cut from City of Fire?

Novak' s daughter

Any additional comments?

I had to start this recording over and over because I lost track of what was going on. Too long of story and repetitive at times. Senseless killings meaning that a couple of the murders added nothing to the story.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Stupid ending

Started good. Seems like the author ran out of rational thought towards the end. Tried to create suspense for a big ending, but it just got stupid. His later books have been good.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A gripping page-turner...

This was a gripping read... the author sends us in multiple directions, daring us to make assumptions... which then turn out to be premature .

Good conclusion, made the more satisfying by the author's style of tying up loose ends.

Highly recommended