"You know what? The bastard blows me out of the water. This guy writes Maine like Ardai writes New York. If you're not reading him, you don't know what you're missing." --Chris F. Holm, author of The Big Reap, The Wrong Goodbye and Dead Harvest.

"Bagley's got the poet's eye, but that doesn't mean everything is prettier in his work. It means the ugly stuff is more vivid. More intense. Like a sudden switch from analog to HD. And that's a trait to very much admire in his work." --Anthony Neil Smith, author of Hogdoggin', Yellow Medicine, The Drummer and Psychosomatic.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Burnt Offering

What Burns Within
Sandra Ruttan
Dorchester, May 2008

Child abductions, a string of arsons and a serial rapist have the detectives working overtime in Coquitlam, British Columbia. Worse yet, these crimes may be connected. The body of each missing girl turns up—40 days after her abduction—in a burning building. The rape victims all share a connection to the local volunteer fire department…the same department that has been responding to the arson calls.

Ruttan’s characters are even more compelling than the mystery they must solve. Constables Tain (no first name given), Ashlyn Hart and Craig Nolan share an unpleasant past, but now they must put that behind them and work together. Not an easy task when other cops have their own agendas. Peel away the plot, and What Burns Within is a novel about relationships between partners, between fathers and sons, husbands and wives. It also explores the often thin line between religious zeal and insanity.

There were a couple of places where I got momentarily lost, but they were due to my own lack of knowledge about Canada in general and the RCMP in particular. Fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride or the late R.D. Wingfield will find a lot to like about What Burns Within. A sequel, The Frailty of Flesh, is scheduled for an autumn 2008 release, so I hope this marks the debut of a long-running series.

1 comment:

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks for the write-up Patrick. Those comparisons are extremely high compliments in my book.