Friday, 6 September 2013

Clean Burn Review

cb  Clean Burn: Introducing Detective Janelle Watkins by Karen Sandler


  Private investigator Janelle Watkins swore off investigating child abductions four years ago, when she left the San Francisco PD.

But when two clients beg for her help, one to find her missing 11-year-old son and the other to find a toddler who’s vanished, Janelle can’t say no. Even though it means returning to the scene of her nightmares – her hometown of Greenville.

Janelle enlists the aid of her ex-partner and ex-lover, Greenville County Sheriff Ken Heinz – but in the midst of their investigation, two other children are discovered missing and connected to Greenville.

Then Ken’s niece disappears on her way to school.

Janelle and Ken find themselves in a race against the clock. Will they find the missing children in time, or will history repeat itself?

Lisa's Review - 4 out of 5 stars

Bravo to Karen Sandler for managing to create a brilliant leading character in Janelle Watkins. Dysfunctional, damaged, hard, cold, yet extremely likeable, Janelle is a tough cookie, with some serious issues, stemming from an abusive childhood, and a failed previous case that haunts her.  Closed off, addicted to fire, and an affair with a married man are all the qualities of a female character that usually a reader would despise. But she is written so well that you can't help but warm to her, and will on her, not only to crack the case, but to get the man, too.

The research that has gone into writing this crime-fiction mystery are impeccable, and Karen Sandler should be saluted for the background work that has gone into this book, making it so realistic you can't help but wonder if this was based on an actual crime, (all the time praying that it wasn't). There were so many questionable characters written that it was almost impossible to figure out who the culprit was, and the detailing into all of them was great, making you work hard to try figure out which one of them it is. The downside to this is the reason for my lack of a fifth star. Without knowing if the town the majority of this story is based in is real or not, I had no idea on the size of the town, which led me to believe it wasn't really that big, which then led me to question the realism on how likely it would be to have so many of these questionable characters in one place that I got the feeling wasn't quite so big. If it had been stipulated more clearly the size of Greenville, and been pointed that it was a fairly big place, I may have not questioned this point at all. That said, if Greenville is a real place that people know of it may be something that goes unquestioned by some readers.

The case itself is compelling. It draws you in. Emotionally, being a mum of 3 made this pretty hard to read at times, having a child go missing is every parents worst nightmare. You can't help but whizz through the pages, hoping that Janelle and Ken can crack the case and find the missing children before it is too late. The added element of the fires and the detailing that goes into that side of the story adds to the intensity of the case.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and as this is only the 2nd crime/mystery book I have recently read after not picking one up for a few years, it has made me realise what I am missing, and I hope it won't be too long before I can read another Janelle Watkins story, especially as I felt like the author was just scratching the surface of Janelle's character and that there is so much more to Janelle the reader must be told.


Purchase Links

Amazon UK Clean Burn

Amazon US


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great read. It's rare to find a MC who can be both really damaged and really likeable--I'd pick it up just to read that!