Book Reviews of House of Smoke

House of Smoke
House of Smoke
Author: J. F. Freedman
ISBN-13: 9780670853472
ISBN-10: 067085347X
Publication Date: 1/1/1996
Pages: 448
Rating:
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 10

3.2 stars, based on 10 ratings
Publisher: Viking Adult
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

11 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed House of Smoke on + 94 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
After a shattering hostage situation, Kate Blanchard leaves the Oakland Police Department and an abusive cop husband for what she hopes will be a quieter life as a private investigator in Santa Barbara. However, when Laura Sparks, the youngest of the aristocratic Sparks women, hires Kate to investigate her boyfriend's suicide, Kate discovers how violent and deadly the rich and powerful can be. Their patronage extends from local politicians to multinationals. Drugs, land deals, murder for hire, the Mexican mafia, and Vegas highfliers?all seem to have some bearing on this simple suicide.
reviewed House of Smoke on + 132 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A stunning thriller So good it makes the heart leap.
reviewed House of Smoke on + 552 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Annotation
J.F. Freedman is on fire once again with this novel, a blazing new thriller of power, murder and one woman's relentless search for the truth. An ex-cop-turned-private investigator searches for answers when a wealthy socialite's boyfriend is killed while in police custody. But no solutions lead only to more dangerous questions, as she enters a glittery world where the ultra-rich play the deadliest games.

From the Publisher
Kate Blanchard was a promising police officer in Oakland, California, until she fumbled a hostage incident that resulted in the murder-suicide of three people. The blunder cost her a marriage that was already decaying (her husband was a wife-beating rogue cop), custody of her two daughters, and her job. Kate pulls up roots, moves to Santa Barbara, and becomes a private investigator. Her first big job comes from Laura Sparks, the only child of one of the wealthiest families in California. She hires Kate to investigate the suspicious death of her boyfriend in the county jail. Her family includes two generations of ambitious, driven women who will do anything to preserve and protect their wealth and status. Laura's mother, Miranda Sparks, using her seductive beauty, runs the family's multi-million-dollar holdings. Miranda's mother-in-law, Dorothy Sparks, is an aristocratic matriarch with her own family agenda. Kate Blanchard finds herself caught in the middle, trying to sort out a looming scandal of immense proportions, while trying to fashion a new life for herself that holds the promise of love and redemption.

From The Critics
Publishers Weekly
From its first few pages, Freedman's third novel (after Against the Wind) offers readers the feeling that they're in the hands of a writer who can tell a good story and give them a protagonist worth caring about. Freedman takes the premise of what might be called the classic California mystery-a powerful monied family with a closet full of skeletons-and dresses it up in a swath of current fashions, including offshore oil drilling, battered wives and drug smuggling. The result is an exciting modern thriller with a classic feel, thanks in no small part to a spunky, all-too-human heroine who has her own deeply buried reasons for pursuing a case that everyone is telling her to drop. Ex-cop Kate Blanchard, now a Santa Barbara detective, is hired by Laura Sparks after her boyfriend, who is accused of drug smuggling, hangs himself in jail. Laura, the headstrong daughter of Miranda Sparks, the city's biggest mover and shaker, is convinced that her boyfriend was innocent and that his death was no suicide. She's only half right, but that's enough to make somebody want to kill Kate-somebody who is involved with the Sparks family's attempt to cut a secret deal with an oil company to use Sparks land for a slant-drilling operation. Plot, character, writing-everything is top-notch as Kate's dogged pursuit of the truth results in a smart, detailed, fast-moving novel that is rewarding on all levels. (Jan.)

Library Journal
After a shattering hostage situation, Kate Blanchard leaves the Oakland Police Department and an abusive cop husband for what she hopes will be a quieter life as a private investigator in Santa Barbara. However, when Laura Sparks, the youngest of the aristocratic Sparks women, hires Kate to investigate her boyfriend's suicide, Kate discovers how violent and deadly the rich and powerful can be. Their patronage extends from local politicians to multinationals. Drugs, land deals, murder for hire, the Mexican mafia, and Vegas highfliers-all seem to have some bearing on this simple suicide. Kate finds the charm of the women as strong as their appetites, which are voracious if discreet. Freedman (Against the Wind, LJ 9/15/91) puts a feminist twist on the California P.I. novel in the tradition of Ross MacDonald and Raymond Chandler. For most popular collections.-Ann Donovan, Clearwater P.L., Fla.
reviewed House of Smoke on + 1523 more book reviews
More twists and turns than a pretzel, but logical after all . . .

From back cover: Good-looking and gutsy Kate Blanchard once was a street-smart cop. But now she is working the other side of the street as a private eye for a poor little righ girl, moving through a maze of money and murder to the root of an evil buried deep in a California dynasty's dark past.
Miranda Sparks is as brilliant as she is beautiful, and as seductive as she is sexually voracious. She is also at the helm of a clan that has the awesome wealth, power, and position to get what they want, no matter who or what tries to get in their way.
And when these two women get in each other's way, it is Kate who suddenly gets caught in a web of twisted passions that drive people to kill . . .
reviewed House of Smoke on + 329 more book reviews
From its first few pages, Freedman's third novel (after Against the Wind) offers readers the feeling that they're in the hands of a writer who can tell a good story and give them a protagonist worth caring about. Freedman takes the premise of what might be called the classic California mystery?a powerful monied family with a closet full of skeletons?and dresses it up in a swath of current fashions, including offshore oil drilling, battered wives and drug smuggling. The result is an exciting modern thriller with a classic feel, thanks in no small part to a spunky, all-too-human heroine who has her own deeply buried reasons for pursuing a case that everyone is telling her to drop. Ex-cop Kate Blanchard, now a Santa Barbara detective, is hired by Laura Sparks after her boyfriend, who is accused of drug smuggling, hangs himself in jail. Laura, the headstrong daughter of Miranda Sparks, the city's biggest mover and shaker, is convinced that her boyfriend was innocent and that his death was no suicide. She's only half right, but that's enough to make somebody want to kill Kate?somebody who is involved with the Sparks family's attempt to cut a secret deal with an oil company to use Sparks land for a slant-drilling operation. Plot, character, writing?everything is top-notch as Kate's dogged pursuit of the truth results in a smart, detailed, fast-moving novel that is rewarding on all levels.
reviewed House of Smoke on + 43 more book reviews
Very, very good...
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ex-cop now p. i. Kate Blanchard works for the rich moves through a maze of money and murder to find root of evil in a families dark past.
reviewed House of Smoke on + 8 more book reviews
I'd never heard of this author before reading this, but I have to say the story was pretty good. Definitely a couple of twists at the end!
reviewed House of Smoke on + 108 more book reviews
Good listening for your commute. Lots of suspense with a divorced detective trying to get her life together whose client gets her investigating land and drug deals gone bad .Lots of bad guys threatening her and suspence right up to the end.
reviewed House of Smoke on + 459 more book reviews
FROM THE PUBLISHER
Kate Blanchard was a promising police officer in Oakland, California, until she fumbled a hostage incident that resulted in the murder-suicide of three people. The blunder cost her a marriage that was already decaying (her husband was a wife-beating rogue cop), custody of her two daughters, and her job. Kate pulls up roots, moves to Santa Barbara, and becomes a private investigator. Her first big job comes from Laura Sparks, the only child of one of the wealthiest families in California. She hires Kate to investigate the suspicious death of her boyfriend in the county jail. Her family includes two generations of ambitious, driven women who will do anything to preserve and protect their wealth and status. Laura's mother, Miranda Sparks, using her seductive beauty, runs the family's multi-million-dollar holdings. Miranda's mother-in-law, Dorothy Sparks, is an aristocratic matriarch with her own family agenda. Kate Blanchard finds herself caught in the middle, trying to sort out a looming scandal of immense proportions, while trying to fashion a new life for herself that holds the promise of love and redemption.
reviewed House of Smoke on + 20 more book reviews
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