Liz's Reviews > The Burnt House

The Burnt House by Faye Kellerman
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's review
Nov 10, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, fiction-mysteries
Read in November, 2008

** spoiler alert ** I found this book more and more compelling as I went along, to the point where I was staying up later than usual just to read more of it. Then I reached the end. At the end, you never find out exactly what happened and you, like the police detectives, are left with speculative guesses. Maybe they're educated guesses, but they're still guesses. I know it's been an increasingly popular trend in the past 3-4 years to have mysteries (not just books but also TV and film mysteries) be wholly or partially unanswered sometimes, in some sort of attempt to make the genre more true-to-life. While I appreciate the sentiment, I feel like most writers (book writers and otherwise) aren't adept enough at balancing loose ends with a storyline that readers find emotionally satiating. This was one of those cases. I felt like I'd been ripped off when I reached the ending - like my nights spent staying up late had been for naught. I would have given this book more stars if I hadn't been so disappointed in the lack of a resolution to the intertwining plots.

Additionally (and in an admittedly more miniscule vein), I was disappointed that Fay Kellerman, whom her book jackets say now resides part-time in Santa Fe with her husband (and fellow mystery writer) Jonathan Kellerman, had one character recommend (to another character) a Santa Fe restaurant that could have been plucked from any tourist guidebook by any writer who'd never even visited Santa Fe. Why couldn't she have written about Santa Fe with the authenticity with which she writes about L.A. instead of making nearly the entire portion of the Santa Fe section sound like it was written by someone who's never even been there, only read others' accounts of it?

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