Arson investigator Ruth Cutter’s life is haunted by a series of mysterious fires.
Ruth’s everyday life is far from satisfying. Her husband Craig is a drinker who labors to support his struggling business, her teenaged son is as surly as you’d expect and her daughter, Amelia, suffers from William’s syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder. Things go from bad to worse, however, when Ruth begins to investigate a series of inexplicable fires in her area. Not even her chemical-sniffing dog, Tyson, has an explanation for what’s happening, and Ruth leaves each of the scenes as mystified as when she arrived. Though she doesn’t believe in the paranormal, Ruth begins to have a feeling that the fires are somehow related to a creepy, ghostlike child who’s always present at every scene. Her feelings are inflamed by her daughter’s sudden interest in the boy and his origins. How can Amelia be so intrigued by the one person Ruth can’t seem to get any answers from—the wraith who doesn’t even appear in Ruth’s carefully crafted crime-scene photos? Her investigations of crime scenes seem almost comforting compared to the gruesomeness of the alternating death sequences, in which shallow characters are thrown away with condign abandon.
Predictably violent fare from formulaic Masterton (Basilisk, 2009, etc.), who seems unable to live up to his former standards.