Cover Image: Malibu Burning

Malibu Burning

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I was not aware that California uses prisoners to fight wildfires. In this book, one of the inmates sees the priority officials place of a rich jerk's home over that of an inmate's life. He decides to get revenge once he is released by starting a fire and using the chaos to rob the jerk's home (and some other houses).

The"god guys" are two arson investigators. They are well-written and would make great characters in a series.

This was a fun read. I finished it a few nights ago and wish I had a sequel to start now.

Was this review helpful?

Malibu Burning is a well-crafted story about a heist during a massive wildfire in Malibu. The first part alternates timelines, highlighting an interesting practice of using convicts as firefighters. The second part is a clever dance between our two charming main characters - Danny the crook and Walker the cop.

I enjoyed this book. It was entertaining and kept my attention.

Was this review helpful?

Malibu Burning was filled with adventure and suspense and what I have come to expect from a Lee Goldberg novel. Danny Cole, a con man, is out to settle some personal scores for himself and others. He puts together a plan for the ultimate heist. Two arson investigators unwittingly end up mixed up in the heist and on the case. I really enjoyed this book set during Santa Ana Wind fire season in Southern California. I enjoyed the characters and the storyline and recommend it! Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the ARC!

Was this review helpful?

This books is bananas, total adrenaline filled chaos start to finish! But I mean that will love. We get to follow an unlikely deputy/arson investigator duo and a con-man turned firefighter and man do worlds collide. There are tons of plot points, major plot holes so don’t look too closely, but this book is pure entertainment. Very enjoyable!! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to provide my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

A very fast ride with a con man and an arson investigator on a collision course. Though improbable the author has made it very interesting. The parts on arson investigation were new to me and I was pitching for the criminal towards the end. So enjoyed it.

Was this review helpful?

Such a great pace, which I can typically count on Goldberg for. This was another ride and while a lot of it was unbelievable it didn't take away from the entertainment of the story.

Was this review helpful?

4.5 Stars

Danny Cole, conman extraordinaire, sets out to execute the mother-of-all heists. But this time, his motivation isn’t strictly monetary. He has a score to settle, one long overdue.

Enlisting several unsavory characters and a stolen, locked-and-loaded, Icarus drone, Cole puts his plan into motion and ignites an inferno within the California landscape housing billionaire homes, the perfect cover for a bunch of ex-cons with sticky fingers.

Meanwhile, a John-Wayne-wannabe, U. S. Marshal Andrew Walker, heeds his uncanny spidey sense, convinced the air reeks of something other than acrid smoke and failed powerlines. And while Walker may be an expert in reading criminal behavior, his new partner, Walter Sharpe, is a connoisseur in all things combustible. Together they enter the terrifying firestorm with plans to catch their man…if the thugs sent by a cartel kingpin don’t get to him first.

This is my introduction to Lee Goldberg. I appreciated the fast pace and tight plot, as well as the captivating but believable characters. I may just become a fan. My thanks to Mr. Goldberg, Thomas & Mercer, and NetGalley for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

Malibu Burning is the story of raging wildfires tearing through the Los Angeles area and of the people involved in an attempt to fight and control them — firefighters, arson investigators and “volunteers “ from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Like a wildfire, this novel starts off slowly with some background about the main characters but quickly sweeps the reader into the world of wildfires and the crimes that may be committed in their paths during the conflagrations. The book is exciting and has an ending that readers will enjoy.

I thank NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer and, of course, Lee Goldberg, the author, for the opportunity to read and review this inflammatory novel

Was this review helpful?

This book took me by surprise - I wasn't prepared to enjoy learning as much as I did about arsonists, fire fighting and how to use fire as a means of potentially making a lot of money. These topics could have been written dryly, but I found that the prose was written in a way that will allow anyone to both learn about these topics and enjoy the storyline. The law enforcement characters were well considered, and the antagonists had compelling motives for their actions that were clearly laid out throughout the story. I enjoyed this book more than I thought I might - and Malibu certainly came alive in my mind as I progressed through the novel.

Was this review helpful?

"Malibu is Burning" is a thrilling and action-packed novel that brings the heat in more ways than one. The book takes place during the devastating wildfires that ravage Southern California every October, and the author does an excellent job of capturing the intense and chaotic atmosphere of these natural disasters.

The story follows three main characters: Master thief Danny Cole, who is planning a daring crime amidst the chaos of the fires; arson investigator Walter Sharpe, who suspects that the wildfires are the result of intentional arson; and Andrew Walker, a former US marshal who is Sharpe's new partner. The author does a great job of weaving these three storylines together and creating tension as the characters' paths eventually cross.

The characters are well-developed and relatable. Danny Cole is a complex and likable protagonist, while Sharpe and Walker are also well-written and provide a good balance of strengths and weaknesses. The dialogue and interactions between the characters are also well-done and keep the story moving at a brisk pace.

The setting of the novel is richly detailed, and the author does an excellent job of bringing the city of Malibu to life, capturing the gritty and fast-paced atmosphere of the city as it is ravaged by the wildfires. The investigation scenes are particularly well-done and the reader is taken on a thrilling journey as the pieces of the puzzle come together.

Overall, "Malibu is Burning" is a must-read for fans of crime thrillers and mystery novels. The plot is well-crafted and keeps readers guessing until the very end, while the characters are well-developed and relatable. The setting is richly detailed and the story is told at a brisk pace. It is a highly recommended book for anyone who wants a great crime thriller.

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for this advanced copy

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoy Lee's books.

This one features Walker, US Marshall (sorry, I had to) and con man Danny Cole. Cole and his crew are in the act of swindling a Mexican Cartel, yes really. Walker is onto the con. Just as Danny's gang is going to get away with it, Danny sees a man in distress and the conman with a heart, stops to help leading to his capture.

While in prison, Danny volunteers to join a fire fighting crew made up of convicts. What happens on one of these fires inspires his next caper. In the meantime, Walker has left the Marshall service to join the arson investigation squad of the LA Sheriff department. You know there is going to be a collision between the two. The problem is that both characters are really likeable and you want a happy ending for both.

No further details because that would ruin things, but am ending that I found satisfying and just about perfect.

Was this review helpful?

Malibu Burning by Lee Goldberg is a scorching, atmospheric, and suspense-filled novel that grabs the reader from the first page and doesn’t let up until the end.

For me, everything about Malibu Burning by Lee Goldberg, although a work of fiction, oozed authenticity. It’s incredibly difficult to imagine but so easy to appreciate the massive number of hours of research that obviously went into this book featuring enormous, wind-driven, California brush fires described in such epic and vivid detail the reader almost feels the heat and smells the smoke. This book isn’t just a very well-executed crime thriller. It’s a fantastic novel, period. The nuanced character development is first rate–even that of the bad guys–from backstories to their motivations to the dialogue. It all smacks of realism.

When Stetson-wearing U. S. Marshal Andrew Walker’s wife gets pregnant with their first child, she persuades him to give up his dangerous job as a man-hunter to take a safer law enforcement job. After getting hired by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, they assign him to arson investigations where Walker teams up with veteran arson detective Walter Sharpe. Sharpe, he soon learns, knows everything there is to know about fires–how they start, how they burn, and how they behave. When three seemingly unrelated brush fires start, Sharpe doesn’t buy the theory they started from accidents stemming from power line failures and decides to investigate. He and his new green partner, Walker, find evidence that suggests arson and that someone with a lot of knowledge about fires, started them in an ingenious and unusual way. Sharpe is the expert on fires and arson investigation, but Walker is the expert on the criminal mind and suspects the arsonist started the fires either to conceal or facilitate the commission of some other crime. As the pair continues to investigate, Walker realizes an old nemesis, a brilliant con man named Danny Cole, is involved. And all they have to do is figure out what it is Cole is using the wildfires to cover up, how to prove it, and where to find Cole so they can arrest him.

Intense suspense, shocks, and chilling authenticity make this one a very special book. It has everything you expect from a flawlessly executed, action-packed crime thriller. The characters are likeable and realistic–including the antagonist, Danny Cole. Sure, he’s a criminal, but you grudgingly find you admire him just a little. The entertaining story feels sufficiently gritty, although Goldberg softens it a little with both heart-warming moments and humor. The stakes are impossibly high and continue rising in the narrative about Southern California cops, firefighters, and thieves, and it all takes place in the middle of an epic conflagration that puts them in imminent danger. Malibu Burning is perfect for fans of authors like John Sandford.

Was this review helpful?

Always enjoy books by Lee Goldberg. Great characters, plot, and pacing. Can't wait for his next book. #MalibuBurning #NetGalley

Was this review helpful?

This was a really good book, I have read several books by this author and have always been very satisfied with his writing style. In this one we meet Andrew Walker, a newly minted investigator with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and his boss Walter Sharpe (nicknamed Shar-Pei), who are tasked with investigating fires that occur in a gray zone around Los Angeles, wherever another agency does not have jurisdiction they do, which leads to some differences on who should be in charge when a fire burns over multiple jurisdictions. Several years prior Walker was a US Marshal involved in an elaborate sting a con man, one Danny Cole, was pulling on a drug king, Walker ended up taking Cole down and he ended up in jail, one that used it's convicts to fight fires. During his time with the convict unit, one of his fellow convicts was killed while fighting a fire, his widow and kids received nothing for his death. Cole is determined to rectify that by pulling off another con job. From there the pace becomes rapid fire (literally) and you can't help but cheer for both Walker and Cole. A very entertaining book which I highly recommend. Thanks to #Netgalley and #Thomas and Mercer for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed the characters and story in this book. It was fun that it was set in the same world as Goldberg's Eve Ronin and Ian Ludlow Thriller series (from the mentions of Sheriff Lansing and the Vibora cartel, respectively). It was also fun seeing Lee Goldberg craft a heist novel again after exploring other subgenres of mystery-thrillers in the years since leaving the Fox and O'Hare series. The structure of Part One was particularly interesting and well-crafted. I loved how the chapters alternated between one set of characters in the past and another set of characters in the present, with the past group rapidly catching up to real-time, as both sets of chapters contained reveals about the events in the other time periods.

It's been a few years now since I decided I would read every new book Lee Goldberg writes, and through three series and this possibly standalone novel, he still hasn't let me down. I doubt he ever will.

Was this review helpful?

Except for the abject and utter horror of the scenario, this is a fun adventure crime book. It has all the requisite characters, the criminal with a heart of gold and strong Robin Hood-type moral compass, the badass girl who kicks anyone's ass, the amazing hacker who can get into anything, the innocent victim of the system, terribly wronged, trying to make right, the wisecracking cop and the oh so smart detective. There is opulence, drugs, goons, guns, excess, narcisisim, and destruction. What more could anyone want?

The only problem is that what this guy is prepared to do to seek revenge is so disgusting and vile, it is hard to enjoy the story. Robbery and burglary to the bad guys, ok; burning a wilderness and all the innocents hurt by such a cataclysm made it very difficult to cheer for the Lambourghini outcome.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars

Lee Goldberg always delivers an entertaining and fast paced book.

Master thief and con man Danny Cole spends years as prisoner fire fighter. After he is released he plans a new heist for the money and revenge.

I enjoyed the book but had a hard time reconciling that while Danny is a con man he’s a good guy with a heart with the fact he helped cause a huge wildfire for his con.

Was this review helpful?

Lee Goldberg, author of the Eve Ronin novels, takes us back to the same area of California for Malibu Burning, a fast-paced, sometimes humorous story of a con man on a collision course with an arson investigator and his new partner.

October is fire season in southern California when the Santa Ana winds whip up any stray embers, enlarging fires, and threatening homes. That’s just what master thief Danny Cole is hoping will happen. He spent his recent prison time working in the state’s volunteer convict firefighting program. Now, he’s going to combine his skill as a thief with his anger and intent to avenge the death of a friend, a fellow convict in the firefighting program who didn’t need to die. He gathers together a team to take advantage of a massive fire in Malibu. And, if he has to make that fire larger, he will.

Walter Sharpe is a brilliant arson investigator. He’s determined to find the source of every arson, but he’s not popular with fire departments who often ruin the crime scene, or don’t want to call a scene arson. Sharpe doesn’t care. He’ll dig in until he finds the truth. When his new partner walks in wearing a cowboy hat, Sharpe doesn’t know what to make of former U.S. Marshal Andrew Walker. With a few lessons, though, Walker could become useful. And, when fires build, Walker goes looking for someone who might have a reason to want those fires to accelerate. Maybe a former con named Danny Cole.

I love a good con novel. And, Danny Cole has one fatal flaw. He doesn’t want to see innocent people get hurt. His attempt to save someone is what landed him in prison the first time. Sharpe, Walker and Cole could be heading to a final showdown in the middle of a fire.

I also love Lee Goldberg’s sly humor. I probably miss some of it when I’m reading his books. I didn’t miss the names that Cole uses when he wants to meet with someone. Templar is one. He uses Murrow when he pretends to be a reporter. They feel like inside jokes.

If you can appreciate a story of a caper, a fire, and law enforcement, and see the humor in it, you might enjoy Malibu Burning.

Was this review helpful?

This has an unbelievable plot, but who cares when it is this entertaining.
The setting is familiar for anyone who has read other books by Lee Goldberg (and he has written so many. His bibliography runs into pages). In the author's note he has mentioned that he has already written about the massive wildfire on Santa Monica mountains in Malibu in the book "Lost Hills" and this book is also about the same fire from a different perspective.
Excellent characters, super-fast pacing and the humorous writing are Goldberg's top strengths. Add to it, his ability to describe the locales like we are watching a movie - his experience as a script writer for TV shows and movies comes handy.

Danny Cole as the Robin Hood - like thief is much likeable. True to the saying <i>No good deed goes unpunished </I>, Danny's kind heart leads him to his arrest after the heist in the beginning of the book.
Switching to the present day, we have ex-US Marshal Andrew Walker joining the LASD arson investigation to team up with the Veteran Walter Sharpe. The duo is exactly opposite, while Walker is a man of action (he takes pride in the number of criminals he shot), Sharpe is a Sherlock-kind of detective. There is easy banter between the two and I was LOL-ing most of the time.
I am also now reading 'Mr. Monk goes to Germany' (published in 2008) Lt. Andrew Walker makes a cameo. Don't know if Goldberg had already planned to make him a major character in his future books.

The narration alternates between the present-day investigation and Danny's preparation for the big heist in the past. They merge together seamlessly towards a satisfactory end.

Lee Goldberg has become my default go-to author during a book slump, and I am glad he is such a prolific writer with so many different book series.

<i>Thanks to Netgalley, the publishers and the Author for the ARC</i>

Was this review helpful?

I am relatively new to Lee Goldberg, having only read Movieland. But I’m going to be looking for more after reading this book. The story encompassed me as I read it. I felt the heat for the fires. And I cheered for both the protagonist and the antagonist. I wanted both to win. The book has good characters and I want more with Sharpe and Walker. I think this could be a good series.

Was this review helpful?