The Burning Rooms
June 11, 2024

Book Review

The Burning Rooms

reviewed by Sandra Hoover


Goodreads | Crossmyheartbookreviews

The Burning Rooms is the fourth book in the Tallman’s Valley Detectives series by Australian Author Anni Taylor. I was first introduced to this author’s work when I read One Last Child, the first book in this suspense series, and was immediately drawn to the author’s expertise in setting a steadily increasing dire tone of impending doom that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Taylor has crafted the same sense of urgency, complex characters and emotional turmoil in The Burning Rooms. While each book in this series stands alone, I advise reading the previous books as they’re all highly entertaining.

Javier and Nicole Garcia are having a celebratory anniversary dinner at a nice restaurant when a creepy phone call sends them rushing home to find their house burning down – presumably with their children inside. Without any thought of their own safety, they rush inside and find themselves trapped by the fire. By the time their friend, Detective Franco, arrives on scene, the only person he can save is their young son. After the ashes cool, Javier and Nicole’s bodies are recovered but there’s no trace of the remains of their teenage daughter Sienna who was babysitting her young brother. Deeply disturbed by the devastating experience and the haunting flashback to a similar fire over a decade earlier, Det. Franco vows to find the arsonist he suspects has done this before – despite the fire being ruled accidental. Calling on his ex-homicide partner Kate Wakefield, Franco begins a frantic search for the missing girl and a serial arsonist. His superiors believe he’s losing it and close to a breakdown, but Kate was also at the scene of the earlier fire and agrees Franco may be on to something.  Can they unmask a murderer and arsonist before he strikes again? Where is Sienna? Is she hiding . . . or in danger?

The Burning Rooms is a tense, action-packed thriller that had me burning through pages searching for answers. Taylor expertly sets a dark tone of desperation early on that drives the increasing pace throughout until the final shocking reveal. Multiple points of view, including one from “the Incinerator”, gives readers insight into the minds and motivation of various players, and yet the identity of the arsonist remains a mystery until the end. With a large cast of red herrings, the author does a clever job of misdirection challenging Kate and Franco, as well as readers, to sift through the evidence and unmask a villain. Taylor’s attention to minute details is evident as she meticulously builds suspense through twists and turns as is her gift for manipulating and developing strong characters. Fans of previous books will enjoy seeing Kate in action again.

The Burning Rooms is a raw, emotional, suspenseful story that’s impossible to put down. Once again, Author Anni Taylor has rendered a mesmerizing story rich in suspense and place. Highly recommended to fans of mysteries and suspense thrillers and especially to fans of the Tallman’s Valley Detectives Series.

The Burning Rooms is available at:

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