California Fire and Life

  • by Don Winslow
  • Narrated by Jon Lindstrom
  • 12 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Jack Wade, a claims adjuster for California Fire and Life Mutual Insurance Company, is one of the best arson investigators around. He's a man who knows fire, who can read the traces it leaves behind like a roadmap. When he's called in to examine an unusual claim, the tracks of the fire tell him that something's wrong. So wrong that he violates his own cardinal rule - "You don't get personal, you don't get emotional. Whatever you do, you don't get involved" - and plunges into the case.
Real estate mogul Nicky Vale's house is one of the most valuable properties on this stretch of the Southern California gold coast - large, luxurious, crammed with antiques, set on a nice piece of land with a perfect ocean view. After a disastrous blaze tears through a wing of the house, it's only normal that Vale would file an insurance claim. But a $3 million claim is rarely normal, especially not when it's filed within hours of the horrific death of the owner's young and beautiful wife. The County Sheriff's Department investigator, Brian "Accidentally" Bentley, has declared the fire, well, accidental - caused by Mrs. Vale's passing out in bed with a bottle of vodka and a lit cigarette - although a careful look at the evidence points to something more sinister.
When Jack begins his investigation, he draws on his skill, experience and sheer stubbornness to uncover the truth of what's going on, but each step leads him further into a situation that's becoming increasingly dangerous. Soon arson is the least of Jack's worries, as the case grows to involve the Russian mob, Vietnamese gangs, real estate scams, counterfeiting and corporate corruption. In addition, Jack's forced to confront his own ghosts, including a fatal professional error, and to cope with the sudden reentry into his life of the best thing that ever happened to him: Letitia del Rio, a Sheriff's deputy whose bombshell looks are exceeded only by her smarts and guts.


What the Critics Say

"Intriguing and suspenseful." (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
"[A] jazzy California thriller... Think Philip Marlowe if he were still sleuthing - and had taken up surfing." (Entertainment Weekly (Editor's Choice))


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A book about an insurance adjuster, oh yea.

If you read the synopsis of this book you might want to say, that looks uninteresting. Actually it is one of my favorite books in the last few months. Both the narration and writing are superb. The author has an "ear" for dialogue. so you will find yourself laughing at some times. The plot twists and turns so it is often suspenseful. . But the major good point of the book is that main character is just a regular guy who will not compromise his morals. No Jack Reacher kind of character bent on killing about every third person he meets, but someone just dedicated to his job as a fire claims adjuster who will not tolerate fraud and an underlying murder.

So good I think I listened to entire 13 hours straight.
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- John S

Fire, life.... Living in So Cal

What is honor, what drive your soul, where and why do you draw the lines separating life and the fire. Don takes us on another journey. If you're already a fan here's another great work. Looking for adventure, start here.
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- Tim

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-10-2015
  • Publisher: Random House Audio