FLAME OUT by MP Cooley Reviewed
While out on patrol, June Lyons stumbles on a fire at the abandoned Sleep-Tite factory. As the fire starts to rage, she realizes there is a woman inside—and on fire. June manages to get the badly burned woman out, but the building is beyond saving. Sorting through the charred remains, a false wall is found with barrels of toxic chemicals hidden away behind it. Work for the EPA, not the cops—except one of the barrels holds the mummified remains of a woman. Could it be the body of the previous owner’s wife, murdered thirty years ago and never found? Or one of the young women who went missing around the same time? June will search for answers, but this time, the truth will hit close to home.
FLAME OUT is the second novel in the June Lyons series, a quick-moving procedural series that shouldn’t be missed. In this installment, the family relationships are complicated and intertangled—it’s a small town family tree where everyone is related to everyone else. While some of the connections are tough to follow, it’s worth it to do so. The family secrets revealed are juicy and motives are tangled with loyalties long abused. Cooley has a fantastic grasp on the politics of small town living.
This novel also sees June’s relationships with both of her parents develop. Her mother, who she has been estranged from, comes to town to support June’s father, despite the divorce. And June and her father’s relationship comes under fire as the father June worshipped from afar betrays her trust and undermines her investigation—but he is watching his own cases from years before come apart at the seams, and can’t seem to help himself from getting involved. June is also forced to make some decisions about her career as FBI Special Agent Hale Bascom pesters her to return to work for the FBI. It’s a good book for June both personally and professionally, and I can’t wait to see where she heads next.
Erica Ruth Neubauer