After a mysterious inferno claims the life of a young up-and-coming ice skater, TBI special agent Emory Rome is called back to the tiny mountain town of his childhood. Looking for a murderer, Emory may just find himself instead.
Britt Algarotti works up the courage to try going back out on the ice after a bad competition experience. Going to practice on Cicada Lake should have been a walk in the park for the young figure skater. It’s anything but, when she’s caught in a ferocious fire. Emory Rome and his partner are sent to investigate- requested by the local Sheriff actually, in an unprecedented willingness to relinquish jurisdiction to ‘the feds’. Turns out, the Sheriff is Rome’s father.
Investigation of the site reveals the presence of calcium carbide on the ice. Mix with water, add a spark, and you’ve got a recipe for pyrotechnics. Joining Emory and his partner Wayne is Jeff Woodard, a PI hired by Victor Algarotti, Britt’s father. A second fire related death, Britt’s coach, ups the stakes. Can they catch the killer before anyone else dies?
Along the way, Emory’s carefully crafted facade of indifference to friendship and love begins to crumble. As the young TBI agent is drawn back into the life of the tiny town he’d left behind, he finds he has hard choices to make. He must become open with himself about what he wants from life. More daunting… in order to do his investigation right, Emory must stand up against his father’s misconceptions about what is and isn’t allowed under the law.
Overall, I enjoyed this story. The mystery plot was clever and unique. The endgame was awesome. I really wasn’t expecting either of the two big events at the end. Suffice to say, Emory’s made a dangerously deceptive enemy. And gets snarled up in attitudes and bigoted behaviour I’d like to think the modern world has left behind. Sadly, I know better.
Hints to Emory’s past are studded throughout the book, teasingly just beneath the surface. I want to know more about him! It’s a series first, so I know I’ll get to eventually. The setting is Tennessee, and poor Emory gets double the dose of closed-minded thinking, thanks to it being a tiny rustic mountain town in the South. Part of the prejudice, small but present, is related to his Native American heritage. I think it makes him a far more fascinating character.
He’s so shuttered, so inhibited by necessity, that he’s missing out on living life to the fullest. Then along comes Jeff to shake things up. At first you think he’s going to be a bad guy, but he’s more a grey character. He’s got secrets, and he has a flaw of being money hungry. Some may say it’s practical, but there’s a whole ‘respect the grieving’ thing that gets trampled on. Not cool.
Another proofing wouldn’t be amiss. There were a few homophone errors. My greater qualms were with more factual information. At one point Jeff compares himself to Icarus in regards to stealing fire. That should be Prometheus. Also, another character said they shouldn’t be judged by their muscles, that they don’t have an ectomorphic IQ. This should either be they do have an ectomorphic IQ, or that they don’t have a mesomorphic IQ. Overly muscled people, the ones with a mesomorphic body type, tend to be stereotyped as having a lower IQ. Slender people, ectomorphic, are stereotypically seen as having a higher IQ. Our speaker in question is a former MMA fighter. Some crime scene things rang false too, but no more so than modern crime shows bend things.
If you enjoy murder mysteries with a twist, be sure to check Murder on the Lake of Fire out.
**This book was reviewed for XPresso Blog Tours, copy provided in exchange for a fair and honest review.