Jack Wade, a claims adjuster for California Fire and Life Mutual Insurance Company, is one of the best arson investigators around. He's a man who knows fire, who can read the traces it leaves behind like a roadmap. When he's called in to examine an unusual claim, the tracks of the fire tell him that something's wrong. So wrong that he violates his own cardinal rule--"You don't get personal, you don't get emotional. Whatever you do, you don't get involved"--and plunges into the case.
Real estate mogul Nicky Vale's house is one of the most valuable properties on this stretch of the Southern California gold coast--large, luxurious, crammed with antiques, set on a nice piece of land with a perfect ocean view. After a disastrous blaze tears through a wing of the house, it's only normal that Vale would file an insurance claim. But a $3 million claim is rarely normal, especially not when it's filed within hours of the horrific death of the owner's young and beautiful wife. The County Sheriff's Department investigator, Brian "Accidentally" Bentley, has declared the fire, well, accidental--caused by Mrs. Vale's passing out in bed with a bottle of vodka and a lit cigarette--although a careful look at the evidence points to something more sinister.
When Jack begins his investigation, he draws on his skill, experience and sheer stubbornness to uncover the truth of what's going on, but each step leads him further into a situation that's becoming increasingly dangerous. Soon arson is the least of Jack's worries, as the case grows to involve the Russian mob, Vietnamese gangs, real estate scams, counterfeiting and corporate corruption. In addition, Jack's forced to confront his own ghosts, including a fatal professional error, and to cope with the sudden reentry into his life of the best thing that ever happened to him: Letitia del Rio, a Sheriff's deputy whose bombshell looks are exceeded only by her smarts and guts.
As the investigation spins out of control, Jack finds himself pulled so far in that he might not make it out. His outrageous behavior and defiant integrity, usually about as helpful to him as third-degree burns, may now be the only things that will keep the investigation--and Jack himself--from being snuffed out.
American author, Don Winslow, has lived in many places around the world, but his favorite place, and now residence, is California. He was born in New York City, and did go back there as well during his young adult years before he became a full time writer. He actually grew up in a quiet town in Rhode Island, and credits his parents with his ambition to become a writer.......his librarian mother, who encouraged reading, and his Navy dad, who loved to tell stories.
In New York City, Winslow was a manager of Times Square theaters, and also a private investigator. He possessed two higher education degrees, one in African Studies and one in Military History. He even led safaris in Kenya and hiking trips in China. With all those varied jobs, the writing began easily for Author Winslow.
He has written: A Cool Breeze on the Underground, The Death and Life of Bobby Z, which was the book that was so successful it allowed him to be a full time writer. It and his book Savages were both adapted for film. His most recent novel, The Force, was licensed to 20th Century Fox and was due to be released in March, James Mangold, Director.
Winslow still lives in California with his wife, Jean. They have a son, Thomas.