Monday, May 12, 2008

What Burns Within

What Burns Within by Sandra Ruttan marks the debut of a police procedural series, one that is a must-read for anyone who appreciates the genre. The reader follows RCMP Constables Tain, Hart and Nolan through the investigation of three difficult cases, until the officers discover their cases converge.

Tain, Hart and Nolan are three officers who "share a common tendency toward insubordination and independence." They were split up due to fall-out from a difficult case. Now, the Vancouver officers have tough new cases. Tain is dealing with child abduction cases in which young girls have been snatched off the street. Ashlyn Hart works arson fires, until the body of one of the abducted girls is discovered in a fire. And, Craig Nolan is handling the investigation into a serial rapist. Despite their supervisor's attempt to keep them apart, the three investigators discover common links in the cases. Suddenly, they're in the middle of a case that could blow up for the Vancouver RCMP.

Ruttan has created three strong-willed characters, strong officers with a dedication to their job, and an unwillingness to deal with fools. They may share that trait, but Ruttan has given them distinct personalities and backgrounds. She skillfully handles the minor characters as well, from Sergeant Daly to key witnesses, and the abducted girls. The cases are fascinating in this excellent police procedural. What Burns Within is an outstanding debut for a new series. Fans will be waiting for the November release of the follow-up, The Frailty of Flesh.

Sandra Ruttan's website is

What Burns Within by Sandra Ruttan. Dorchester Publishing Company, Incorporated, ©2008. ISBN 9780843960747 (paperback), 384p.


lorisreadingcorner said...

Ohhh...this sounds great. Just added it to my WL :)

Lesa said...

Terrific police procedural, Lori!

Larry Marshall said...


Is there an explanation for why the RCMP would be investigating an arson crime in Vancouver rather than the Vancouver police? Seems odd to me. Also sounds like a book I want to read :-)

Cheers --- Larry

Lesa said...

There isn't a good explanation, although the crime involves a number of communities in Vancouver, not just one, so that may be why. But, since I know nothing about Canadian police forces, it didn't even strike me as wrong.

Let me know what you think if you read it, Larry!

Evil Kev said...

The book actually takes place in an area called the "Tri-cities" which are the cities of Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam. These are located in the British Columbia Lower Mainland and could be considered suburbs of Vancouver, though each is an independent city with their own services. In her author's note at the beginning of the book, Sandra explains this in more detail.

I lived in BC for two years and it was always easiest to tell people you lived in Vancouver as few people knew where New Westminster was...

Lesa said...

Thank you! Larry will probably understand all of that more than I do, since he lives in Canada. But, maybe not. Just because I live in the U.S. doesn't mean I know everything.

I didn't catch that in her author's note, so I appreciate the comment. And, I passed the book on to another librarian.

Appreciate the clarification!