Gold Medal winner, ForeWord Magazine 2003 Book of the Year Award (mystery category)

January Magazine selection, Best Crime Fiction of 2003


In California the hills are on fire. Not a good sign for Andrew Kindler, who just came from back east to get away from his past-as an arsonist. In fact, almost from the moment he sets foot in his cousin’s Santa Monica beach house, the heat starts swirling around him. First there’s the cop who thinks Andrew might know something about a murder suspect. Then there’s the suspect’s beautiful sister, who is willing to pay Andrew $5,000 for the same information.

But Andrew really uninformed. And with a sensational murder case burning a hole in the gut of the LAPD-as well as the star-studded L.A. fitness industry-ignorance is dangerous. Now Andrew must solve a murder he knows nothing about, find a killer he’s never met, and unravel a family’s explosive secret. His reward for success? To live another day: one step ahead of his burning past…


“Doolittle delivers a briskly plotted, hard-boiled mystery that has its roots in the Elmore Leonard school of dark comedy. . .an estimable addition to crime fiction.”

–South Florida Sun-Sentinel
(written by Oline H. Cogdill)

“Characterization is Doolittle’s real strength, and his people stay with you. . .[a] writer to watch.”

–Omaha World-Herald
(written by John Keenan)

“Doolittle writes an exceptionally well-crafted and well-told tale of arson, police work, misplaced zeal, bad relationships, good relationships, family bonds and, oh yes, exercise videos. . .Quirky, compelling, intelligent, and funny. . .if you like Elmore Lenoard, do yourself a favor and pick up Burn.”

–Lincoln Journal-Star
(written by Barbara Rixstine)

“[A] twist-filled crime caper. . . .”

–Publisher’s Weekly

“Smooth, tight, fast-paced, addictive, and discernably original. . .[A] scorching meal. . . .”

–January Magazine
(written by Jennifer Jordan)

“A dark, exhilerating police procedural. . .never eases up until the final page. . . .”

(written by Harriet Klausner)

“[A] story of fire and searing heat. . .clear prose and brisk pacing. . .murder, guns, fistfights, stakeouts. . .a pleasure to read.”

–The Drood Review
(written by Melinda C. Burton)

“Doolittle has managed a somewhat genre-bending feat in the mystery realm — he’s written a feel-good, hard-boiled mystery; all the classic hard-boiled elements are combined with a sympathetic gentleness of characterization that is wholly original. . . [the] prose is smooth and stylish, combining wit and intelligence into a totally readable narrative.”

(written by Terry D’Auray)

“[A] confident story, interesting characters, and an unblinking look at their hopes, loves, and most importantly, their embarrassments and faults. . .Doolittle is a true Crimedog, and Burn is his thesis. And you can see it all over this nine millimeter of a novel that his best is yet to come.”

–Plots With Guns
(written by Anthony Neil Smith)

“Doolittle expertly weaves [his] themes into a tight plot populated by memorable characters. . .Having read hardboiled mysteries for over thirty years, it has been exciting to watch young turks become grand masters. I certainly hope that Sean Doolittle has a long exciting career. . . .”

–Mystery News
(written by Joe Guglielmelli)


“Sean Doolittle has been winning high praise from crime fiction readers, and Burn will show you why — it’s deftly written, tense and intelligent, and bound to make you scramble to find his other work.”

–Jan Burke
Author of Nine

“Sean Doolittle is a cult writer for the masses — hip, smart and so mordantly funny that the casual reader might be laughing too hard to realize just how thoughtful Doolittle’s work is. Get on the bandwagon now. . . .”

–Laura Lippman
Author of The Last Place

“Sean Doolittle combines wit, good humor and a generosity of spirit rare in mystery fiction to create novels that are both engrossing and strangely uplifting. He deserves to take his place among the best in the genre.”

–John Connolly
Author of The White Road

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