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Beyond Recognition Hardcover – February 6, 1997

4.2 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews
Book 4 of 9 in the Boldt / Matthews Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Ridley Pearson manages to make high-tech crime-fighting more human and fascinating than anyone else in the field--witness such bestsellers as Chain of Evidence. Once again, Sgt. Lou Boldt, inspired and seemingly tireless forensic investigator for the Seattle police, zigs from the lab to the field--this time to find out why single mothers are being burned to death by flash fires fueled by an unknown, amazingly volatile fuel. The chief villain might remind you of recent headlines, but Pearson's research and writing skills create fiction more interesting than fact.

From Publishers Weekly

A rag and a bone are literally all the Seattle PD has to work with after a violent fire consumes a home and its helpless female occupant, a divorced mother. When a second victim dies the same way, detective Lou Boldt (Chain of Evidence, etc.) and police psychologist Daphne Matthews (both Pearson regulars) begin the process of profiling a serial killer who uses rocket fuel to torch women because they resemble his mother. Elsewhere, a young boy named Ben, whose abusive stepfather has all but driven him into the street, has been befriended by a fraudulent "psychic" named Emily Richland, who hires Ben to scout her clients' vehicles while they're meeting with her. This task leads, in the novel's best scene, to Ben witnessing an exchange of cash for rocket fuel, a sighting that in turn eventually takes the police to their killer. Much of the plot teeters on the coincidental nature of all these connections, and on the unlikely bits of evidence used to corner the suspect (e.g., a ladder's impressions left on backyard grass). The intricate forensics that have driven so many of Pearson's novels are largely missing here, and secondary characters are sketched quickly and without depth. Even Boldt and Matthews have lost their shine, bickering a lot while insisting that they love one another, while Boldt's long-suffering wife, Liz, is discarded in cruel fashion. But no doubt the Boldt-Matthews team will be back, hopefully to solve cases less confusing and farfetched than this one. Major ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1 edition (February 6, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786862408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786862405
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Beyond Recognition" by Ridley Pearson accelerates from the first page, and with the exception of a lull at the midway point moves at a nonstop pace.
The lull is caused by a couple of scenes being too drawn out and what I felt a weaker subplot.
The story is riveting when the action revolves around the investigation of the Seattle serial arsonist and the interaction between Lou Boldt, Daphne Matthews and their team. The characters (on both sides of the law) are well developed and most credible.
Mr. Pearson did a couple of years of research on this one and it shows. It is based on an actual Seattle arson case and the procedural and technical aspects really ring true.
Seattle comes to life on every page with wonderful descriptive passages.
This is a terrific series and Mr. Pearson is masterful at forensic detail, without making it tedious. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This fourth book in Pearson's Seattle based detective novel, BEYOND RECOGNITION, kept me hook from the very first chapter. For anyone who calls the Pacific Northwest home, Pearson's books are realistic. It was difficult to second guess each new turn and twist Pearson has planned for Lou Bodt and Daphne Matthews. His continued development of character personalities is great. The characters grow with each new book and there is just the right mix of new people too. The aronist angle was well developed and believable. The only complaint is the book was to long, much longer than his earlier books. I would have enjoyed BEYOND RECOGNITION if it had been about 75% of the pages. Still I would recommend the entire series to everyone living the Pacific Northwest.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I taught creative writing for years and would nominate BEYOND RECOGNITION as the best-plotted thriller I have ever read, and I have read well over a thousand books. I love Pearson's earlier books before he started writing in present tense. He excels in characterization and the reader finds himself caring about the fictional characters, not just the protagonist. I loaned my copy to a friend and warned her, "If you start reading this on a Saturday morning you will waste the entire day because you won't be able to put it down."
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book really grabbed me and hauled me into the book before I was past page 5. I was so involved in the solving of this case that I had trouble monitoring my loads of laundry so that everything was wrinkled beyond recognition from the dryer. You will love this book!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ridley Pearson has been called the best of the "thriller" writers and he IS GOOD. Good characters, good plot, superior writing; Pearson has it all. Unfortunately he wrote a novel here that is too long for the plot. It gets tedious because the author STRETCHED the plot and spent much too much verbiage on a non-essential sub-plot of a troubled child. That is the only thing that stopped my giving this book five stars. If you are a reader of this genre, it is well worth your time. Tip: skip over a lot of the child stuff; you won't miss a thing.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ridley Pearson lights another burning success with this book about unexplained serial arsons in Seattle. More than just a plot driven mystery, Pearson develops further the interesting and complex web of characters he has introduced to readers in other Lou Boldt series.
The story begins a bit slowly until it suddenly ignites into a fully engaging read. Police psychologist Daphne Matthews seemed a bit brittle in this novel but other characters expand and glow. The story itself taught me things I did not know I wanted to know about firefighting and arsonists - the sign of an excellent author!
Ignore your mundane tasks and blaze through this visit to Pearson's world of crime fighting with very human characters fighting demons both within and outside the psyche.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ridley Pearson's early books, like this one, are top notch. This one and "The Pied Piper" are fantastic. I don't like the books he has written that feature "view" in the title. Lou Boldt is his best character,along with Dapne Mathews. Together they are so much fun to read about. I recommend this one as well as the ones after, if they have Boldt in them. Fantastic reads.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Beyond Recognition blows open in a firing inferno. One house after another after another is consumed by sky roaring flames. Sgt. Lou Boldt's job is to find the arsonist/s and restore Seattle, Washington to peace. He becomes involved as a policeman because each fire was set to kill off single moms. The fire departments involved had no clue as to why the fires were started or who might have been involved in setting the fires.
Thanks to police psycologist, Daphanie Matthews, and several other faithful policemen like Lts. LaMoia, Neil Bahan and Bernie Lofgrin the arsonist/s are snuffed out. But before that happens, little 12-year-old, Ben Santori plays a key role in sniffing out the criminal/s. Ben was a victim of assaults and abuse by his stepfather and in his(Ben's) attempt to get free of his stepfather he encounters the arsonist who is not much older than himself.
Prepare yourself for a lot of suspense, surprise and mystery. Also prepare to learn about the various types of ways fires can be started and how fire marshalls determine exactly where and how fires are started in buildings. You will be amazed at the technical information involved in those types of determinations.
So, do read this book which is one in a series of the Boldt/Matthews mysteries.
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