By Elaine Viets
"Five fire engines, two ladder trucks, a portable light truck, a battalion chief’s van, and what looked like every cop car in Chouteau County were fighting this fire. Death investigator Angela Richman knew it was already too late—she was summoned only for death. Tonight, someone had died in that blazing building, choked by the smoke and seared by those flames. Angela oversaw the bodies at Chouteau County crime scenes or unattended deaths. The death investigator reported to the county medical examiner.
"Who was it? Angela didn’t know yet. The detective’s call was cryptic: "Luther Ridley Delor’s house is on fire. One body so far. They’re bringing it out. Get over there now." Seventy-year-old Luther called himself a financier to take away the sting of how his family made a trainload of money: running a nationwide chain of payday loan companies. People—especially desperate ones—knew the slogan "You get more with Delor." Was the old man dead? Was the victim his young fiancée? Or did a friend or servant die in that hellish fire?"
That's the opening of Fire and Ashes. My new Angela Richman, Death Investigator mystery is hot off the presses July 25, and this cover tells the story. Showing off a new cover never gets old. I've written 31 mysteries.
Fire and Ashes is the second novel in my forensic mystery series set in mythical Chouteau County, Missouri, thirty miles from my hometown of St. Louis.
The novel opens with a spectacular fire. Death investigator Angela is called to the scene in an exclusive gated community, Olympia Forest Estates. Flames are destroying a mansion, along with Luther Delor, a drunken, bed-hopping rhinestone cowboy.
Luther scandalized Chouteau Forest society taking up with his twenty-year-old manicurist, Kendra Salvato. He gave her two million dollars to wear his engagement ring – and she'll get another two mil when she walks down the aisle.
Luther's murder has united the Forest against the accused – Kendra. The daughter of two successful Mexican immigrants, his fiancee is being railroaded straight to death row as a gold-digging killer.
The case against Kendra looks like vicious gossip and anti-Mexican rage, and both are spreading like wildfire. Angela is sifting through the ashes of a vicious crime—and the guilty secrets of the privileged to save an innocent woman.
Fire and Ashes is a hot read. It will be a book, an e-book, and an audio book, and right now it's on sale. Order your copy here.