Book Review: Malibu Burning – Lee Goldberg
Hell comes to Southern California every October. It rides in on searing Santa Ana winds that blast at near hurricane force, igniting voracious wildfires. Master thief Danny Cole longs for the flames. A tsunami of fire is exactly what he needs to pull off a daring crime and avenge a fallen friend.
As the most devastating firestorms in Los Angeles’ history scorch the hills of Malibu, relentless arson investigator Walter Sharpe and his wild card of a new partner, Andrew Walker, a former US marshal, suspect that someone set the massive blazes intentionally, a terrifying means to an unknown end.
While the flames rage out of control, Danny pursues his brilliant scheme, unaware that Sharpe and Walker are closing in. But when they all collide in a canyon of fire, everything changes, pitting them against an unexpected enemy within an inescapable inferno.
Malibu Burning is an absolute page-turner. The plot is unique and highly engaging, I was sent this book as an ACR by Megan Beatie from Megan Beatie Communications. Initially, this genre isn’t generally my choice of selection, so I was skeptical before diving into this book. However, as I read along, I discovered the importance of welcoming something different, and I’m now eager to explore more books within the crime genre.
“I don’t need any excitement.” “We all do,” he said. “It’s how we know we’re alive.” ~ Lee Goldberg, Malibu Burning
Malibu Burning is a thriller-crime book with the setting of Southern California, and its annual scorching wildfires. Welcome master thief Danny Cole, who is strangely happy about the brutal winds fanning the fires of Santa Ana. He yearns for chaos, amidst the chaos, he hopes to avenge a firefighter friend, who wrongfully passed.
Within all of the confusion and mess, we are introduced to a relentless arson investigator Walter Sharpe, and his unpredictable new partner, Andrew Walker, a former US marshal. They suspect that nature is not the only offender behind all of these blazes, they have an instinct that an individual with a mysterious but cruel motive has skillfully planned these igniting fires.
As the inferno-like fires continue to illuminate, Danny continues his audacious crime. What Danny doesn’t recognize is that Walter and Andrew are almost about to step on his tail. When fire finally meets ice, an unforeseen twist happens, confounding the reader. “Malibu Burning” is a high-stakes thriller that dives into the ruthless battle between nature’s deadly beauty and cunning vengeance.
What really captured my attention in this book is the clever and witty humor that Lee Goldberg employs, making it feel like the narrator and the reader have an inside joke. Malibu Burning has incredible detail, which really helped me understand the true intentions and nature of this despicable crime. There was never a need for me to skip a page or two because every page seemed to hold some depth that played into the story’s plotline.
I also liked the idea of having the narrative unfold through two distinct timelines, then eventually connecting in the present moment♀️. The pacing was fast, which I enjoy in a genre such as this book, as it doesn’t seem like you are stuck inside a developing story. Something I really liked about this book was how the characters, including the antagonist Danny Cole, are relatable and authentic.
Despite his criminal nature, you can’t help but begrudgingly develop a bit of admiration for him having a heart of gold. You don’t usually see such villains portrayed that are between the spectrum of evil and good.
One negative I had about this book was that sometimes the dialogue could be seen as cheesy, and over the top. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
The stakes soar unimaginably high in this tale involving Southern California cops, firefighters, and criminals, all set against the backdrop of a giant blaze that places them in constant jeopardy. “Malibu Burning” is an ideal book of choice for enthusiasts of crime novels.
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