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City Of Fire (Lena Gamble #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,119 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
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.

Unfortunately for Lena, she knows that best-case scenarios only happen in
Hardcover, 357 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by St. Martin's Minotaur (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy Robert Ellis's work. I also like a good crime mystery with a strong female protagonist. What I don't necessarily like is when the protagonist is made to appear broken. Lena has some personal issues she wrestles with, but the author does a good job balancing them out with a satisfying mystery.
Krystin Rachel

WHAT?! SO GOOD. 5 stars, straight up.

I am always searching for a new character series I can get excited about. My dreambook criteria goes like this. One: a kickass female heroine, who is human and knowable with just a sprinkle of tortured. Just a sprinkle! Two: dead bodies. And three: I don't want to be able to figure out the mystery until the author wants me to.

Trying new books, I usually get two-out-three in random combination. This book checks off all three boxes. It's true, there is a Tho
Det. Lena Gambrel is assigned the lead responsibility on a case of a young woman found murdered. The victim's body was laid out as if the killer was posing her for someone else to see.

The victim had sex recently but the DNA didn't match her husband's. Lena finds info in the home with the number seven on it. Thinking that this was left by the killer, she looks into similiar cases and finds that the DNA matches that of two other women who were killed where other men were convicted.

The author does
Feb 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: cops-or-crime
Disappointing. Much too similar to Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series, but without the atmosphere and the story development. The villain apparently possesses supernatural powers -- he can break into any building, observe trained police officers at close quarters (as in the very next room!) without being detected, and cannot be bested in a fight! Too unrealistic! Detail undermining the author’s credibility: Rifles and shotguns are not the same. Police officers know this. Ellis doesn’t.
Sep 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Excellent cop mystery. Even though the reader learns the identity of the perp early in the book, the story still keeps one guessing until the end. I am not a fan of books where the lead character's personal baggage is a big part of the story. This book pulled it off better than most. The lead cop's brother was killed five years ago and the current case may or may not be part of his death. The reader endures minor hand-wringing on the cop's part, but it doesn't go off the grid as do many books.
Agnieszka "Aeth" Jędrzejczyk
A nicely done cop mystery thriller, with a strong female protagonist and an eye for detail. I particularly liked Lena's intuitive side and her unwavering detemirnation in solving not only the lead investigation, but the mystery of her own past. The language reads so effortlesly it was a pleasure to turn the pages. The only two things I didn't like was the fact that of course it has to be a rape case - you can add the implication on your own - and the ending, which feels rather unconvincing. I wi ...more
Lora King
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
First in the Lena Gamble series. A good crime book. A serial killer who is targeting women in their homes. Lena's brother's unsolved murder from 5 years before heats up again. Both stories intertwine and Lena must face that there is someone in the police force who may have killed her brother. A very good start for the series. Good twists and turns all the way until the end. Will read more in the series.
Jun 21, 2017 rated it did not like it

I don’t think I’m an idiot. I read two books a week. But after reading ‘City of Fire’ by Robert Ellis, I’m thinking maybe I really am an idiot.

This was the first novel I read by this author. As I went through the book I figured I’d read more of his work. But by the time I completed it, I realized this was probably a one-and-done.

Even from the start, the book never really pulled me in. It was too good to give up but too bad to strike a chord.

Even though the story and plot itself is
Mar 15, 2008 rated it liked it
I got confused about the characters, there were a lot. I probably would have been ok reading it, and it's just that I lose track when I'm listening. So I think I understood the wrap up on only a very broad level. All in all I think it was a decent story though, and "it's not you, it's me" with my lower rating :)
Christine Howard
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: moonmaid2016
Nice tight mystery. Actually a mystery within a mystery. Lena and her partner are investigating the murder of a woman. Husband seems to be the one, but Lena finds a lead which connects it to another case. Also, the murder of her brother five years ago is unsolved. Who is the person hidden in the shadows who killed her brother? She suspects someone.
Sep 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Not bad. Author and his editors need to learn that rifle and shotgun are not synonymous. Also, I've worked with a number of police departments and one whose officers lose control of their weapons with the frequency these do needs a good shakeup.
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
First book in the Lena Gamble series. Excellent police procedural. Lots of unknown items until the end. Will definitely read more by this author. 4.5 stars
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disfruté tanto de este libro... Me tuvo atrapada durante dos días, que fue lo que duró, y no pude parar de leer. He descubierto a Robert Ellis con este libro y no pienso perderle pista. Si te gusta la novela negra y quieres conocer el punto de vista del bueno y del malo, este es tu libro. Te va encantar y descubrirás que nada es lo que parece.
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
El libro me atrapó de principio a fin, de hecho lo terminé en muy pocos días y con trabajo de por medio. Me sorprendió el desenlace en cuanto al Hermano de Lena y algún que otro detalle más. Un libro genial
Jerry King
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Brett Milam
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Spoilers ahead.

I’m breaking my rule this time because I want to get into the nooks and crannies of this book, so sorry.

The book, the first in a new series starring the detective, Lena Gamble, is the cat-and-mouse game between Gamble, along with her fellow detectives, and a sadistic rapist-killer known affectionately as Romeo. In the background is Gamble’s history wherein her brother was brutally murdered five years ago and corruption concerns in the LAPD itself.

First and foremost, Romeo is a rea
Mar 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery
I checked this out of the library twice and it expired both times without me finishing it.

I am not sure why it didn't take my fancy. Hope you have better luck with it.
Apr 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time taken to read - 5 days

Publisher - Pan Books

Pages - 380

Blurb from Goodreads

When a businessman arrives home to find his wife in bed, carved from belly to throat with a very sharp knife, the elite Robbery-Homicide division of the L.A.P.D responds in full force and Detective Lena Gamble prepares for her first major case.

At first all fingers point towards the victim's husband, but best-case scenarios only happen in films and it soon transpires that this murder is one of a series of brutal crime
Dec 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2007-reads
PROTAGONIST: Lena Gamble, homicide detective
SETTING: Los Angeles
RATING: 4.25

Lena Gamble has recently been promoted to homicide detective with the LAPD. Among her first assignments is to stop a serial killer who is brutally murdering attractive women. His first victim is a pregnant woman; a series of other murders are committed with the police never being able to find anything that will lead them to the perpetrator. Although initially it seems that these are sexual assaults, the murder of a male
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Erste Sätze
Sie wälzte sich im Bett herum, schmiegte die Wange in einen Zipfel ihres Kopfkissens und kuschelte sich noch tiefer hinein. Träumen. Schlafen.

Eine junge schwangere Frau wird tot in ihrem Bett gefunden – vom Bauch bis zur Kehle aufgeschlitzt. Detective Lena Gamble von der Mordkommission in Los Angeles glaubt zunächst, dass die Frau von ihrem Mann getötet wurde. Aber als weitere brutale Frauenmorde verübt werden, wird klar, dass die schrecklichen Taten auf das Konto eines per
Book Addict Shaun
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2015
When I started reading City of Fire I was reminded of a number of authors because the book had a distinct American feel. Namely two authors that I first borrowed from the library many years ago: Jonathan Kellerman and Joseph Wambaugh. Despite the often horrific crimes you often read about in the genre, the setting of a book is important to me and I loved picturing Los Angeles through David Ellis's writing as he has captured the city brilliantly. Some say crime fiction set in LA is overdone, I di ...more
May 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 12, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 09, 2013 rated it liked it
I picked this book up based on a Goodreads recommendation. It didn’t make me think ‘I’ve got to read this book,’ merely ‘This sounds interesting.’

I’m glad I tried it. The story caught my attention from the first chapter. Lena Gamble, the main character, is newly promoted to the LAPD’s elite RHD and investigating two crimes – the five-year-old unsolved murder of her brother and the brutal torture-murder of a young wife. I liked Lena, who for once, wasn’t an alcoholic or ex-alcoholic. The ‘dark sp
Chica Sombra
Este es un libro de los que a mí me gustan: novela negra en todo el sentido de la palabra. Tiene casi 400 páginas por lo que te da tiempo a tomarle cariño a los personajes, a los escenarios, incluso a las víctimas o al asesino.

Está ambientada en la ciudad de Los Ángeles y esto también me ha gustado, he descubierto zonas de la ciudad, establecimientos, etc... por lo que digo siempre que un libro es un billete de avión a cualquier destino.

Nos encontramos con un asesino en serie apodado Romeo, que
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Kindle eBook bought July 28th, 2015 had a lot of obvious (scan?) errors, some I send to Amazon. As most or all errors where of the kind that a spellchecker should have caught, I think that and/or an editor was not involved, and even for a cheap book that was distracting. Hopefully for later readers this will corrected.

The book and story was too long with the places and backstory, could have been 20% shorter. Still, a page-turner, with a few twists.
An an insight in the mind of a serial rapist
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime-modern
c2007: FWFTB: conspiracy, Romeo, brother, LAPD, forest. Frankly, I found this a little ho-hum which is worrying as the murders themselves are pretty horrific. Perhaps it was because I just couldn't draw any emotion from the front line character. The writing style was great and the plot is interesting but far from unique. Michael Connelly is quoted on the cover and describes it as "Gritty, tight and assured.." Well, I suppose it is 'tight' in that there are no lengthy internal monologues to negat ...more
Nov 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Humm, I know this is written by a man, but it has the "feel" of being written by a woman- Not that there is anything wrong with that at all. It is something about the descriptions that has a feminine touch.

What starts off to be a rather humdrum murder mystery, moves into quite a complex story involving several murders and maybe several murderers.

It did take me a while to get interested in continuing this story, but when the first twist came I was hooked. I did like Lena (the heroine cop) I liked
Shonna Froebel
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is fast-moving with lots of action, lots of violence and lots of suspense. The main character, Lena Gamble, is a young detective still hurting from the unsolved murder of her brother not that long ago. In her first case as the lead detective, she and her partner Novak are paired with another team. The victim is brutally murdered, and yet doesn't seem to have fought her killer. When her husband's alibi doesn't pan out, her is the obvious suspect. But things aren't always that simple. Ev ...more
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Robert Ellis is the international bestselling author of Access to Power, The Dead Room, the critically acclaimed Lena Gamble novels, City of Fire, The Lost Witness, and Murder Season, and the Detective Matt Jones series, City of Echoes (2015) and The Love Killings (2016). His novels have been translated into ten languages and selected as top reads by Booklist, Publishers Weekly, National Public Ra

More about Robert Ellis...

Other Books in the Series

Lena Gamble (3 books)
  • The Lost Witness (Lena Gamble, #2)
  • Murder Season (Lena Gamble, #3)

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