Valley of Ashes by Cornelia Read is the fourth “Madeline Dare” suspense series. Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, August 2012

When her husband Dean lands a promising job, Madeline Dare trades New York’s gritty streets for the tree-lined avenues of Boulder, Colorado. Now a full-time homemaker and mother to beautiful toddler twin girls, Madeline has achieved everything she thought she always wanted. But with her husband constantly on the road, she’s fighting a losing battle against the Betty Friedan riptide of suburban/maternal exhaustion, angst, and sheer loneliness.

A new freelance newspaper gig helps her get her mojo back, but Boulder isn’t nearly as tranquil as it seems: there’s a serial arsonist at large in the city. As Madeline closes in on the culprit, the fires turn deadly…and the stakes tragically personal. She’ll need every ounce of strength and courage she has to keep the flames from reaching her own doorstep–threatening all she holds most dear.

It’s been two years since we last saw Madeline who is now mother to twin girls and living in Colorado. A part-time job at a local newspaper puts Madeline on the trail of an arsonist and when it hits a little too close to home, all hell breaks loose and Madeline’s life is never the same in a mystery that kept me in suspense as this drama unfolded in a reveal that I didn’t see coming. Cornelia Read is a genius with the gifted word. Every scene, every word, every action, I was there with Madeline as the circumstance that intruded on her life made her a strong woman that at the conclusion of this gritty and frank novel, I admired.

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