City of Fire
By Robert Ellis
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312366131, 368pp.)
Publication Date: May 29, 2007
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When a vibrant young woman is found in bed by her hotshot businessman husband, carved from belly to throat with a very sharp knife, the elite Robbery-Homicide division of the LAPD responds in full force. Best-case scenario for lead Detective Lena Gamble: Nikki Brant's husband killed her, case closed, and on to the next crime scene before the ravenous Hollywood media can get their lurid tabloid machinery up and running.
Unfortunately for Lena, though, she knows that best-case scenarios only happen in the movies. The murder is the first in a series of brutal crimes against beautiful women thought to be perpetrated by the same man, a killer dubbed Romeo in the press. It's the case of a lifetime, and promises to either elevate Lena to the upper echelons of a publicity-hungry department in need of heroes, or bring about a very public and painful fall from grace. Lena has been in the public eye before, on the night her rock-star brother was gunned down on a dark street in Hollywood---an unsolved murder so grisly she's never recovered. She knows the score when the press and the LAPD collide.
As the investigation plays out and a massive forest fire blankets the city with acrid smoke, a cloud of conspiracy descends on Lena's investigation, and she knows she'll have to grind this one out . . . because Nikki Brant's death just breathed new life into more than one closed case . . . because the web of conspiracy is spun more intricately than she can possibly imagine . . . and because Lena knows there's only one rock solid rule to murder in L.A.: The bigger the spectacle, the deeper the horror.
Robert Ellis began his career as a writer, producer, and director in film and TV, winning the New York Film Festival for his work with National Geographic. He is the author of two previous novels, Access to Power, and The Dead Room. Born and raised in southeastern Pennsylvania, Ellis lived in Los Angeles for sixteen years and now spends his time between Los Angeles and Connecticut.
Advance Praise for City of Fire
"This book pumps your blood, keeps you racing through the night, with a cast of characters at full throttle."
--Mark Moscowitz, director of the award-winning documentary Stone Reader
Praise for Robert Ellis
"Ellis writes in crisp, punchy prose, mirrored by the novel's short, sound bite--like chapters, which are skillfully woven to form an absorbing narrative."
--Publishers Weekly on Access to Power
"A page-turning potboiler. We like this book. The tone is a fusion of James Ellroy and James Carville."
--Philadelphia Daily News on Access to Power
"Robert Ellis can hold his own with any of the heavy hitters who write suspense."
--Robert K. Tanenbaum, author of Counterplay, on Access to Power