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Editorial Reviews

George Guidall is so comfortable performing the Rina Lazarus/Peter Decker series that even first-time listeners will feel right at home. In the sixteenth book featuring the married couple, Faye Kellerman builds tenderness, intelligence, and normalcy into Rina and Peter's Orthodox Jewish family life and their conversations about God, guilt, and sin. She produces a convoluted (if occasionally coincidence-prone) story, but, thanks in part to Guidall's top-notch performance, her characters have the gritty feel of real people. Guidall's pacing, vocal shifts, and delivery of the many Yiddish expressions sprinkled throughout are masterful. This is one listeners won't want to miss.

Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Faye Kellerman spins a gripping tale of a modern-day nightmare that ensnares L.A. Homicide Detective Peter Decker and his wife Rina Lazarus in a web of secrets and murder.

A small commuter plane carrying 47 passengers crashes into an apartment building, and LAPD Lieutenant Peter Decker works overtime to calm rampant fears. But a grisly mystery lives inside the plane's wreckage: the unidentified bodies of four extra travelers. And there is no sign of an airline employee who was supposedly on the catastrophic flight. The fate of the unaccounted-for flight attendant, 28-year-old Roseanne Dresden, remains a question mark more than a month after the horrific event, when the young woman's irate stepfather calls, insisting that she was never on-board the doomed plane. Instead, he claims, she was most likely murdered by her abusive husband. But why was Roseanne's name included on the passenger list?

Under pressure to come up with answers, Decker launches an investigation that carries him down a path of tragic history, dangerous secrets, and deadly lies - and leads him to the corpse of a three-decades-missing murder victim. And as the jagged pieces slowly fall into place, a frightening picture begins to form: a mind-searing portrait of unimaginable evil that will challenge Decker and his wife Rina's own beliefs about guilt and innocence and justice.

Combining relentless suspense with intense, multi-layered human drama The Burnt House is Faye Kellerman at her mesmerizing best.

©2007 Plot Line, Inc; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall

Recommended for Faye Kellerman Fans

Faye is the best of the Kellerman clan, and over the years, Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus have become very real characters, like old friend whose visits I look forward to every year or so to find out what is going on with the family.

This book is a solid police procedure piece. The strengths are the carefully woven plot, Peter's experiences with his compatriots on the police force, the technical aspects of the investigation and the gripping tension.

What I missed was spending more time with Rina and the kids whose life-cycle stresses seemed rather mundane. I also missed the intersection of the plot with interesting sub-cultures which have been such fascinating parts of FK's prior works. There is a brief interlude with a Hispanic-Indian family in Santa Fe, but it was rather contrived, and seemed like it was put there for FK to take a tax write-off on a trip to New Mexico. The plot resolution that links the two missing persons seems rather unlikely, but was still satisfying.

Unlike the previous reviewer, I am a big fan of George Guidall, though I have no idea how he gets the time to perform all of the books in his repertoire. He does his usual strong performance here

27 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

puzzled by publishers review

This book was okay but it sure didn't match the publishers review of it. I use the publishers review to guide my decision in buying a book and would appreciate it if it would match the contents of the book a little closer.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ella
  • toronto,, Ontario, Canada
  • 10-03-07

Not bad for my 1st Kellerman

I have not listened to any Kellerman books before. For a first try, I really liked it. The characters were well developed, there were two mysteries that intertwined and the overall development of the story had enough twists and turns to hold my interest. It was not as complex a story as Grisham or Conelley write, but nevertheless it was a good listen.

The bonus however, was George Guidall as the narrator. I discovered him when I listened to "Night" by Elie Wiesel. What a talented man. I have yet to be disappointed by any book which he has read. This was a pretty good choice, I will definitely try another Faye Kellerman novel.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • MEMcL
  • Carlsbad, CA
  • 08-15-07

Well worth it!

This is a very pleasant detective novel. The characters are very likable people who follow clue after clue to solve the mystery. George Guidall is excellent in his interpretation of the various characters and I was sorry to see it end.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Barry
  • Katy, TX, United States
  • 02-27-08


This story was B-O-R-I-N-G, especially for a crime novel/police procedural. It's hour after hour of interviews, no action or suspense whatsoever. No grit, no tough police work, just a bunch of uneccesary banter.
Honestly, I really dont really need to know how a certain detective is dressed, from head to toe. I do not care what sort of shirt she is wearing, the type of sandals she is wearing, or what her favorite food is. I dont care that she is watching her calories, or that her daughter is remodeling her house.
Enough already! I gave up this silly book with 5 hours left. I just couldnt finish it. It's more about interior decorating than police work.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Leanne
  • Nevada City, CA, USA
  • 08-12-07

Rina and Peter...

Always glad to see another title from this Kellerman. Her characters have become my friends. The plots are common and embraceable; a parallel universe right next door.

I made the purchase reluctantly, and only because of the author; I'm disappointed whenever I see this choice of narrator. I'm forced to constantly make the effort to overlook his delivery. His vocal characterizations are simply not believable and border on what seems to be subdued hystrionics.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Nathan
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 08-31-08

An entertaining book and an excellent narration

This was my first Faye Kellerman novel (listening or reading). The story is engaging and the characters are realistic. As I listened to the excellent narration, I wondered if this book would be nearly as good to read as it is to listen to. My intuition is that the excellent narration adds a great deal to the experience. In any case, if you're a Michael Connelly fan and have run out of books to listen to (as I have), The Burnt House is a good substitute.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Leslie
  • Virginia Beach, VA, United States
  • 12-25-07

Well Done

Having read many of the other Decker books, I stayed away for a while as they are very detailed and can be overwhelming. This book, however, was intriguing and entertaining. The details were there, but they didn't require such work to get through. The characters interact well and the even the religious overtones are treated with respect as they can be very educational. The performance on this book is excellent. Afterall, if the performer isn't entertaining, it is often hard to stay with even the best books. This is one of Kellerman's better works.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

better things to read

I was looking forward to a good thriller but instead got a mediocre thriller with a totally contrived and unbelievable plot twist. I kept waiting for an explanation but one never came.
The characters were interesting but the plot twist was just plain silly. Read something else.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ed
  • Saint Augustine, FL, United States
  • 11-22-07

An extra star for narration

George Guidall did a masterful job of narrating this book and bumped it up one star in my rating. When a character was spitting mad, Guidall was spitting mad. I selected the book I'm listening to now (Critical) partly because Guidall is doing the reading. The Burnt House was a good story with some amazing coincidences that I didn't feel detracted from it. If I had one criticism (and I'm probably in the minority here), I thought the descriptions of scenes and clothing could have been less encompassing. At times I though I was listening to an announcer at a fashion show. I guessed the plot twist at the end so you can't say that everything that happened was outside the realm of reasonable deduction. An enjoyable listen.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Graziella
  • 04-24-13


Kellerman at her best. Gripping, well plotted, absorbing. Good characters and great twists. As always very well written and lovely insights into Peter adn Rina's life.