A rash of suspicious fires in Castlemere has Chief Inspector Frank Shapiro and his team scrabbling for the common denominator (virulent racism? a past acquaintance among the property owners?) that will explain the three targets so far and help prevent the next. But Shapiro has troubles of his own. David, the wayward son he's never got on with, was seen back in the neighborhood right around the time each fire broke out, and a witness has come forward accusing Shapiro of suppressing evidence in an old case of arson and allowing an innocent suspect to rot in prison for eight years. Did Shapiro know about the evidence, and did he hide it to save his son from suspicion? When Shapiro is sent on enforced vacation, it falls to coolly efficient Inspector Liz Graham and rough-edged Sergeant Cal Donovan to run down the firebug while digging up evidence that will vindicate their chiefor put him away for good. Bannister's third Castlemere procedural makes the first two (Charisma, A Bleeding of Innocents) seem like rehearsals. Under a satisfyingly action-filled whodunit, she's buried a piercing tale of conflicting loyalties that makes her coppers flare into bold reliefas if they'd finally got the case that would show what they were made of.