clean burn – karen sandler

Clean Burn

I got this as an Advance Review Copy – but actually only just after its publication date of 17th August.

Janelle Watkins is an injured ex-cop turned Private Investigator with a history of finding missing children.  She has been trying to keep away from this gruelling area of work, preferring to focus on the less emotionally wrenching work of missing spouses etc.

However, a personal plea soon sends her searching for not one but two seemingly unrelated cases that both appear to lead back to her hometown of Greenville.

Returning ‘home’ forces Janelle to face her past and her own demons – her father’s abuse, her unhealthy obsession with fire and her affair with her ex-partner Ken Heinz who is now Sheriff.

Enlisting his help to search for clues to the whereabouts of the missing boys, he in turn asks for her help with a series of arson attacks.  But is working so closely with him again just Janelle playing with fire?

This book is billed as ‘introducing’ Janelle  Watkins, so I am assuming that a series is planned.  She’s a great character – strong but physically and mentally damaged with a real hunger to protect the innocent and catch the bad guys.

Ken Heinz is also a great character and the two of them work very well together.

Any story that dares to put children in danger immediately gives a sense of urgency and the fact that there are multiple children featured just added to this.

However, I did find that the cast of characters introduced felt a little large.  I began to lose who was who at one stage, so I think the impact was lost a llittle when one of the perpetrators was caught.

The pyromania added a very unusual slant to proceedings, making it rather different to most standard detective novels.

I’ll be interested to know what happens with Janelle in the next story – she is a fascinating character, and there’s obviously a lot more to come out about her past.


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