4 of 8
After the Fire
352 pages; Minotaur Books
A fire ravages the top floors of the Murchison House, a public housing complex outside London, and the four lives claimed suggest a story more knotty than arson. Two of the dead were enslaved prostitutes, and the little girl who died of smoke inhalation had a curious family, including a father possibly connected to organized crime. Strangest of all is the racist, conservative MP (member of Parliament) who dove out a window to his death, sans wallet and cell phone. Veteran detective Maeve Kerrigan has her theories, which evolve as the victims' life stories unfold. The story of a domestic violence survivor and her young son is rendered with the authenticity of searing investigative journalism. The everyday plight of an elderly widow is brought to life with a complexity you won't soon forget. There are several references to characters and events from earlier books in the series—namely Kerrigan's constant stalker, Chris Swain —that may distract new readers from the already intricate main story. Nevertheless, Kerrigan is a steadfast hero and narrator who wins the reader's confidence with her smart, wry sense of humor: "When all else fails, tell the truth."
— Domenica Ruta