Friday, June 15, 2007

Pg. 69: Robert Ellis's "City of Fire"

Today's feature at the Page 69 Test: Robert Ellis's City of Fire.

About the book, from the publisher's website:
When a vibrant young woman is found in bed by her hotshot 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.
Among the early praise for City of Fire:

"City of Fire is my kind of crime novel. Gritty, tight and assured. Riding with Detective Lena Gamble through the hills of Los Angeles is something I could get used to. She's tough, smart and, most of all, she's real."
-- Michael Connelly

"City of Fire crackles along with the heat and intensity of a five-alarm conflagration. Robert Ellis has crafted an incandescent tale of detection that will have mystery and thriller fans burning through its pages."
--Joe Drabyak, Chester County Books & Music Company, West Chester, PA

"With City of Fire Robert Ellis joins the elite company of California crime writers like Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, Don Winslow and T. Jefferson Parker. City of Fire captures the L.A. landscape with a crackling good story, great character development and solid writing. Robert Ellis is a writer to watch. City of Fire is sure to please."
-- Barry Martin, Book´em Mysteries, Pasadena, CA

"This books pumps your blood, keeps you racing through the night, with a cast of characters at full throttle. Ellis´s prose has the visceral punch of the best Ellroy. And his heroine, Lena Gamble, is the most complex, tightly wound detective in years. She´s strong, smart, uncompromised, and I´d follow her anywhere."
-- Mark Moskowitz, Director of the award-winning film Stone Reader

Check out Robert Ellis's website and read an excerpt from City of Fire.

The Page 69 Test: City of Fire.

--Marshal Zeringue