Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Goodnight, Irene (Irene Kelly #1)” as Want to Read:
Goodnight, Irene (Irene Kelly #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Goodnight, Irene (Irene Kelly #1)

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  2,161 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
For thirty-five years the identity of the dismembered woman found under the Las Piernas pier has remained a mystery. What secret did she take to her grave? Southern California reporter Irene Kelly has uncovered a maze of forensic records and confidential files that suggest a motive far more sinister than anyone imagined. The discovery has brought her close to Detective Fra ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Pocket Books (first published 1993)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Taylor M.
Nov 19, 2007 Taylor M. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes mystery's!
"For thirty-five years the identity of the dismembered woman found under the Las Piernas pier has remained a mystery. What secret did she take to her grave? Southern California reporter Irene kelly has uncovered a maze of forensic records and confidential files that suggest a motive far more sinister than anyone imagined. They discovery has bruoght her close to Detective Frank Harriman, and closer still to exposing a killer who will resort to anything to keep his secrets burried- and Irene silen ...more
Kate North
Jul 14, 2015 Kate North rated it really liked it
A re-read - I've had this series on my shelf (except the most recent two or three) for years because I really enjoyed it and thought I might re-read it someday, and finally, deciding I needed more space on that bookcase, I decided the time had come for a re-read of the series, and catching up with the two most recent ones, which I haven't read. I always like to have something readable and not-too taxing, but still excellently written on hand for when my brain is a little tired, and this fits the ...more
Feb 27, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it
#1 in the Irene Kelly series. "Finalist 1993 Agatha Award for Best First Novel; Finalist 1994 Anthony Award for Best First Novel".

Reporter Irene Kelly shares information and danger with handsome homicide detective Frank Harriman, as she investigates the bombing murder of a colleague who had been obsessed with the 35 year old murder/disfigurement of a young woman.

Dec 12, 2009 Lee rated it liked it
Shelves: irene-kelly
The first in her long running series. Irene is Irish, a reporter and stubborn, and can't keep her nose out of finding the killer of her mentor. Meeting a former close friend on the case, Frank, now a Det. in homicide, they work together on the case. And, I'm sure the relationship will become serious. A fun and quick read, that is a promising start to the series. 3.5 stars.
Ch J Loveall
Dec 18, 2012 Ch J Loveall rated it really liked it
Have ordered the rest that RPL has but not for a while.
Feb 12, 2017 MsHyde rated it it was ok
I liked the scenes with Frank and the cat. Otherwise, it's a plodding mystery with forgettable dialogue and characters.
Pretty good mystery, with the typical threats/injuries while finding out who-dun-it. A little dated now, as it is pre-cellphone days, when people didn't have immediate access to everyone else. I like these cold case mysteries. I guess they appeal to my sense of justice not being denied indefinitely. This book was the first of a series involving Irene, the news reporter sleuth. I wouldn't mind reading another in this series.
Aug 13, 2015 Nolan rated it liked it
This is the first book in the Irene Kelly mystery series, and it’s a great start.

Kelly, a former newspaper reporter turned PR flack, is horrified by the brutal and sudden death of her friend and fellow reporter, O’Connor. He had been working for more than three decades on an unsolved disappearance case. He called the woman Hannah, and every year on the anniversary of her disappearance, he wrote about the case in an attempt to keep readers thinking about it as he did. But apparently O’Connor got
Oswego Public Library District
This is the first book in a long-running popular series. A veteran journalist that vaguely resembles Lois Lane and a cop rekindle a romance that almost started years ago as they work through a cold case from 1955. New crimes related to it are happening almost daily as the killer's identity is close to being revealed. Plenty of suspense and nonstop action make this a satisfying read. -GD

Click here to place a hold on Goodnight, Irene .

If you like reading about cold cases, another riveting novel i
Nov 03, 2007 Wendy rated it liked it
Started: Nov 2, 2007
Finished: Nov 11, 2007

I met Jan Burke at the Surrey International Writers' Conference in October, and had a total fangirly moment when she told me she'd coauthored a book (story?) with Sue Grafton (author of the Kinsey Millhone series, starting with A is for Alibi

This is the first book in this series, and there was enough craft to keep me interested in the heroine, the story, and the love interest subplot. There was even the occasional turn of phrase that made me stop a
Jul 17, 2016 AJ rated it liked it
I was looking for a light summer cheesy murder mystery read and this book delivered! Yes, I love reading about characters outfits, what sandwiches they are eating that day, how they managed to find the perfect clue at the exact right time due to pure luck and no skill. I am a child aficionado of Nancy Drew after all. This is just what I needed. The book is never going to get an award for writing, or really cool plot twists. But that's okay, that is not what I signed up for in the first place. If ...more
Teena in Toronto
Mar 07, 2012 Teena in Toronto rated it really liked it
I'd read a couple in the Irene Kelly series in the mid/late 1990s and enjoyed them ... then forgot about the series for some reason.

I read about this one in the newspaper last month and it reminded me about the series so I checked it out.

Though it has been a while since I've read the first couple and more have been added since then, I didn't feel lost. If you haven't read any of them, you can pick this one up and go with it. There are enough references so you know what's going on and who is who.
Sep 18, 2008 Becca rated it it was ok
his is the second Jan Burke novel I've read. They're always fast paced and enjoyable reads, kind of like the action movies of mystery novel. In fact, it gets to be a little bit too much sometimes- this book featured two explosions, a car chase, a beating, a burial alive, torture, and five minor characters getting killed in the process. The main character, Irene, manages to remain spunky, beautiful, and unscathed throughout. She even manages to keep a positive attitude most of the time- which cau ...more
May 18, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
One morning, after a night of drinking together, Irene's friend is killed by an exploding package on his porch. He was a journalist covering a mayoral campaign funding story. It was also coming up on the anniversary of a Jane Doe who had died unidentified many years ago. He wrote about "Hannah", and others like her, yearly in the hopes of solving old crimes. Irene used to be a reporter and returns to take his job to see if she can help police find his killer. She soon finds herself in danger so ...more
The book's synopsis on Goodreads is more than enough so I won't reiterate. But here's what I thought of the book: It began with a bang and it quickly made me start asking questions. However, as the story progressed I began to find myself growing tired of picking it up. I wondered why and realized it was because I found the romance part of the story to be too much… meaning, I found the balance between the mystery and love story off kilter. The romantic parts of Irene’s life deterred me from the m ...more
May 19, 2016 Stacey rated it really liked it
I attended Malice Domestic for the first time this year. As a fan of mysteries, I was super excited to find new - to - me authors. Jan Burke is one of them. I heard her speak on a panel about her Irene Kelly series and made a note to check it out. So glad I did!

The main characters have depth to them and the mystery was not one where I figured out who done it by the middle of the book. What I also found "fun" is that this book was written in the 90s before cell phones were everywhere, so locating
Jul 27, 2016 Barbra rated it liked it
This is the first in the Irene Kelly series. I enjoyed it and found it to be an exciting, edge-of-your-seat mystery.

Back Cover Blurb:
For thiry-five years the identity of the dismembered woman found under the Las Piernas pier has remained a mystery. What secret did she take to her grave? Southern California reporter Irene Kelly has uncovered a maze of forenisc records and confidential files that suggest a motive far more sinister than anyone imagined. The discovery has bought her close to Detecti
Ryan Mishap
Dec 27, 2008 Ryan Mishap rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime
The start of a series that starts out good and only gets better (except for kidnapped, that one is weird). Irene Kelley made her way into the newspaper business--despite the sexism and barriers in front of women--, at a southern California city paper, but left it for the PR business because of the abusive and controlling atmosphere brought on by the boss/editor. When her old mentor at the paper is murdered, she uses her skills to uncover the why and the who and decides to be a reporter again.
May 27, 2016 Holly rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-books, mystery, 2016
Set in California circa 1990. Irene is journalist who has inherited a 55 year old cold case involving a dismembered body found under a pier. There is a very light, non graphic romance going on between Irene and the police detective Frank Harriman. I'm not sure that part was well thought out. I Felt the author deemed it necessary for a love interest to be inserted into the story. But all in all an enjoyable read. What I found amusing was the lack of cell phones in the story. Irene uses the pay ph ...more
Sep 17, 2014 Dawn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Irene Kelly is a reporter who has a nose for finding mysteries and wanting answers, which helps her find stories, but also trouble. When her friend is murdered, Irene takes up the mystery of his death and one he was trying to solve while he was alive, searching for answers. Irene is likable, relatable, spunky, and daring - a great female lead. Author Jan Burke has trouble introducing characters too quickly, sometimes going back to them without proper reminders for the reader. However, the flaw d ...more
Oct 23, 2016 Quinn rated it really liked it
Looks like I've found another mystery writer who writes an enjoyable series. Irene Kelly is a newspaper reporter who quit her job to take a more lucrative job at a marketing company. When her long-time crime-reporter friend is murdered and her almost boyfriend (who is a detective) is attacked, she returns to the newspaper to find out who is behind the murders. Of course it is complex and connected to other murders.

A well-written, tense, and well-defined novel of personality and intrigue. I'm a f
Peg Brantley
Mar 19, 2012 Peg Brantley rated it really liked it
This was my first Jan Burke. I've known about her for years through her Crime Lab Project, but never read one of her books. A reader mentioned that the manuscript I have coming out reminded him of Burke so I decided it was time to check her out. I wanted to try and read her "in order", so went back as far as I could. 1993. It's important for me to say that Jan Burke is a far better writer than I. Even twenty years ago. It was interesting to be jarred out of the story (but only slightly) with the ...more
Catherine Woodman
Jul 29, 2011 Catherine Woodman rated it liked it
The bombing death of best friend and journalist O'Connor shocks Irene Kelly, herself an investigative reporter, into pursuing his last story--the as-yet-unsolved mutilation murder of a young woman back in 1955. Kelly collaborates with former flame Detective Harriman in her desire to identify the woman, but not without experiencing murder attempts, car chases, and a return of affection. Level-headed and unflappable, heroine Irene stands poised for a promising new series, despite the guessable vil ...more
Susan Arena
Mar 16, 2015 Susan Arena rated it it was ok
Shelves: forgettable
I had previously read Bones, which comes somewhere in the middle of this series, and was quite taken with the story. I was excited to dive into the the first book, Goodnight Irene, but was sorely disappointed. I found her narrative tedious, and conversation overly simplified. Characters felt flat and awkward in their interactions. The story line itself was interesting enough, though somewhat predictable.
I have the next book in the series, but it's likely just going to head for the yard sale pil
Sep 27, 2010 Jodi rated it really liked it
"Read" this on my MP3 player on the way to work. Had listened to the title, "Liar", the week before not realizing it was in the middle of a series. Goodnight Irene is the first book. Enough action, enough description, and enough historical background to appeal to me at 5:30 a.m.
Have actually downloaded the next book, "Sweet Dreams" for this week.
Guess that is recommendation enough--not sure if I'll get bored with the characters or not but so far so good.
Sep 22, 2008 Babette rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
This is the first book in a series and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The characters are solid and the plot unfolds over the novel, introducing new characters along the way. However, that was a slight weakness to me because those later characters came across as stereotypes and seemed less real - there had not been time to develop them. However, the main characters are sympathetic and I will read the next book in the series.
Oct 20, 2014 Peggy rated it liked it
Goodnight Irene was the November pick for my book club. I’m surprised I haven’t read Jan Burke before because I have read lots of mystery series but she was new to me. She is a cousin to one of our book club members so we all read her first book. This is a likeable easy read and has that “first book” feel. It’s a little slow at times but I liked the main character and I plan to read more in the series.
Sep 25, 2012 Shiela rated it it was ok
This one was just okay for me. A little bit of political intrigue, dead bodies linked to a cold case, a determined investigative reporter who just lost a close friend, a cop who wants to protect his determined investigative reporter--this is another novel that has been done so many times before. That being said, "Goodnight, Irene" is the first of a long running series, so I think I'll give the second one a chance before writing it off. My friend assures me that they get better.
Dec 28, 2015 Eve rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, crime, reviewed
This novel grew on me. The beginning was not gripping by any means and I thought I would end up giving it 3 stars. However, the pace picked up and I enjoyed the fact that the characters are smart. No dumb character who needlessly gets himself or herself in a sticky situation. I now want to read Book 2 in this series.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Jasmine Trade
  • Death by Sudoku
  • A Trouble of Fools (A Carlotta Carlyle Mystery #1)
  • Bloody Waters (Lupe Solano, #1)
  • Harm's Way (Inspector Sloan #11)
  • Katwalk (Kat Colorado, #1)
  • Immaculate Reception (Madeline Bean, #2)
  • The First Cut (Nan Vining Mysteries, #1)
  • The Benson Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #1)
  • Hearse of a Different Color (Hitchcock Sewell Mysteries, #2)
  • Stone Angel (Kathleen Mallory, #4)
  • Nice Girls Finish Last (Robin Hudson, #2)
  • Beneath a Silent Moon (Rannoch/Fraser Chronological Order, #7)
  • Where Echoes Live
  • An Unthymely Death and Other Garden Mysteries
  • Shadow Bones (Great Lakes Legends, #2)
  • The Stolen Blue (Claire Reynier, #1)

Other Books in the Series

Irene Kelly (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Sweet Dreams, Irene (Irene Kelly #2)
  • Dear Irene (Irene Kelly #3)
  • Remember Me, Irene (Irene Kelly #4)
  • Hocus (Irene Kelly #5)
  • Liar (Irene Kelly, #6)
  • Bones (Irene Kelly, #7)
  • Flight (Irene Kelly, #8)
  • Bloodlines (Irene Kelly, #9)
  • Kidnapped (Irene Kelly #10)
  • Disturbance (Irene Kelly, #11)

Share This Book