"Malibu Burning" A Sharpe & Walker Mystery by Lee Goldberg: Review/Giveaway

 Review by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Eight years ago, con man and thief Danny Cole made the mistake” of allowing his conscience to override his greed. After a brilliant bank robbery scheme that targeted a cartel went off without a hitch, Danny chose to save a drowning man’s life instead of making the perfect getaway. Even as he’s sentenced to prison, Danny continues with a backup plan, requesting that his lawyer have him serve his time in a state prison with access to a prison convict firefighters’ program. It’s a brutal, dangerous job, something Danny sees up close when one of his fellow prisoners is killed while saving the home of a multimillionaire who refused to evacuate.

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In the present and having fulfilled his sentence, Danny immediately begins plans for revenge that will also deliver a hefty payout. Gathering together his crew, Danny crafts a plan that will use his acquired firefighting skills to pull off the most elaborate and brilliant undiscoverable home break-ins. Danny also enlists a meteorologist mourning the loss of her husband, as the callous treatment by the government and medical system makes her susceptible to his offer to seek their own form of justice. What none of the team knows is that hot on their trail are two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detectives who suspect that Danny is somehow responsible for the theft of a $100,000 firefighting drone with an even bigger plan in place. To be more precise though, it’s actually the former US Marshal Walter Sharpe who suspects that Danny has not reformed from his bout in prison, which is not too surprising since Sharpe was the one responsible for catching him in the first place. Unfortunately tagged with the nickname Shar-Pei due to his name and his well-earned wrinkles, Sharpe drags his new partner, Andrew Walker, along as they attempt to decipher Danny’s actions and stop him before he pulls off the biggest swindle imaginable.

While Danny Cole’s name does make it an easy leap to Danny Ocean, this truly does have the flair and caper cleverness of an Ocean’s Eleven thriller. The fun for readers comes as they gradually learn more about Danny’s plan and how it targets those who very much deserve to be fleeced. It was only Danny’s self-sacrificing act to save another – although to be honest, Danny’s actions caused the accident in the first place – that caused him to get caught, and it’s possible that his not being a completely greedy criminal could lead to his downfall. Sharpe’s dry wit and reluctant admiration for Danny allows the detective to become a Sherlockian mentor to Walker, who otherwise could have slid into the complacent attitude shared by many of his fellow officers.

This cops versus robber plot never ceases to be entertaining, especially when both sides are so skilled and relatable. Even more compelling are the well-researched details concerning the California wildfires, the exploitation of the convict firefighter program, and the control over private firefighting companies. The admiration for those actually fighting the fires always comes through, as does the condemnation for those willing to sacrifice lives for property. Bestselling author Lee Goldberg allows his experience writing both humorous mysteries and more classical police detective thrillers to shine through, as here he introduces a team of detectives as compelling as the criminals they hunt. 

To enter to win a copy of Malibu Burning, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "malibu,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 18, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).
 Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Lee Goldberg is an underrated writer! Count me in!

  2. Sounds like a lot of excitement.
    Would love to read it. thanks

  3. I enjoy reading mysteries! tWarner419@aol.com

  4. Cops vs. Robbers and Lee Goldberg! I'd love to win this. lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com


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