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Description - California Fire and Life by Don Winslow

The woman on the bed had died in the fire. Pamela Vale, aged 34. She had been beautiful, and had been heavily insured. Her husband showed little grief. Her children seemed terrified. Insurance investigator Jack Wade is sure he knows what happened. All he has to do is to gather the evidence to prove it. And Wade is the best there is: fires talk to him, tell him exactly what happened, and how. But not everyone shares Wade's belief that the woman was murdered. California Fire and Life is ready to pay out Nicky Vale's claim on his wife's accidental death and the destruction of their house. As Wade fights the decision, as he gathers more evidence, he begins to uncover a world of corruption where nothing is quite what it seems, a world where it's not fire that talks, but money...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099238621
ISBN-10: 0099238624
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 23mm)
Pages: 352
Imprint: Arrow Books Ltd
Publisher: Cornerstone
Publish Date: 6-Apr-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - California Fire and Life by Don Winslow

Book Reviews - California Fire and Life by Don Winslow

US Kirkus Review » Whether you're new to arson-fraud fiction or an old fan, this burn-by-burn account - think Double Indemnity in flames - could be the only novel on the subject you'll ever need. Jack Wade, bounced off the Orange County Sheriff's Office 12 years ago for beating a confession out of a suspect and lying about it under oath, has been a bulldog claims investigator for California Fire and Life Mutual ever since, but he's about to meet his match (to make one of the few arson puns Winslow doesn't exploit). Society fund-raiser Pamela Vale has been burned to death in a home fire that Jack's old nemesis, fire investigator Brian Bentley, has pronounced accidental. Based on a survey of the physical evidence that would do Patricia Cornwell proud, Jack's certain Pam Vale and her house were torched, and just as certain the arsonist is her husband Nicky, who phoned Jack to discuss his claim the morning after the blaze. Jack doesn't know about Nicky's ties to the KGB and the Russian mafia (which Winslow, as thorough as Jack, explains in numbing detail), but he can see that the good times had stopped rolling for the overextended developer; he doesn't believe the alibi Nicky's controlling mother gives him; and he's shocked but delighted when his former lover, Sheriff's deputy Letitia de Rio, turns out to be Pain's half-sister. Getting their act together again, Jack and Letty build an impressive case against Nicky. But when California Fire and Life finally confronts Nicky, Jack suddenly realizes he's been caught in as sweet a scare as he's ever seen, with no way to avoid going down in flames (oops). Though Winslow (The Death and Life of Bobby Z, 1997, etc.) writes as crudely as he puns, his plotting is shapely and inventive, and most readers will get caught up in the tale of Jack's treacherous descent into hot water and his miraculous escape. The whole story reads like a house afire - a real barn-burner. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Don Winslow

Don Winslow has worked as a movie theatre manager, a production assistant, and as a private investigator. In addition to being a novelist he now works as an independent consultant in issues involving litigation arising from criminal behaviour. His novels include The Kings of Cool, Savages, The Death and Life of Bobby Z, California Fire and Life, The Power of the Dog, The Winter of Frankie Machine and The Dawn Patrol. In 2012 Savages was released as a blockbuster film.

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