Homicides are never predictable or routine. They have their own facts and circumstances along with a distinct vibe that sets each apart from every other one. For a homicide investigator, the more complex, the more challenging, and frustrating, the greater the reward when the case is resolved and the killer sent off to jail.

In the early morning of a summer day in 2000, a fire in the basement function room of a residential condo complex in Malden, Massachusetts not only brought the town’s fire department to the scene, but police arson investigators as well. When the fire was extinguished, the water pumped out and the smoke cleared, what emerged was both shocking and puzzling. With one look the detectives on-scene realized they needed to sound the alarm for a more intense and wide-ranging investigation. Over the next several hours, investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s office along with detectives from the Homicide Unit of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office converged on the scene and partnered up with the Malden Police inspectors. They located and collected evidence and interviewed dozens of residents. This case had the clear earmarks of a classic whodunit, but with a definite twist.

When the Smoke Cleared is a remarkable true-crime thriller that will have your undivided attention from the moment you open the book’s front cover until the time you finish it and pass it on to a friend or family member! Beyond the suspense, this factual account is a police and prosecution procedural, detailing and explaining the movements and tactics of the detectives and prosecutors who worked the case through the trial to the ultimate verdict. You literally have a seat at the conference room table with their playbooks opened in front of you.

Bill Powers, the Detective Lieutenant and senior supervisor of the Massachusetts State Police Unit assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office when this event occurred, wrote and narrated this story. He was on-scene that morning and his position and direct involvement in the case offers a unique assessment of the people who have committed their careers to solving and prosecuting capital crimes. This is where truth separates from fiction. There are no lone wolves in the world of homicide investigations, only dedicated teams of specialists whose sole professional purpose is to bring those responsible for murdering another human being to justice. You are sure to come away with a different perspective of the kind of work these folks do than you had before you read this fascinating book!


Reviews of When the Smoke Cleared

“A Very Good Read”

The desire to undertake a good read is a personal decision based on a number of factors. The subject matter, the leading characters, the genre and, in my case, the chance to learn something that I hadn’t experienced.
When The Smoke Cleared, offered a good share of each. A homicide investigation that offered police procedure, based on real science and not television branded sixty minute solves, was a welcome change of pace. The case was brought to life from the perspective of all of the participants. The narrator and author, Bill Powers, managed to present the “shoe leather” police work, the factual forensics along with the well prepared and presented court case that, most often, will result in a successful conclusion.
The characters in When The Smoke Cleared were real people. Each of the role players were portrayed as down to earth civil servants who went about their sworn duty with a sense of purpose and commitment that seems, too often, taken for granted.
As a long time reader of crime novels from such as Michael Connolly, James Lee Burke and Louise Penny I enjoyed a factual account that I could follow from start to finish. Even knowing that success lay at the conclusion didn’t detract from the need to keep reading.
As for learning something new, the writer didn’t disappoint. The prosecutorial process was something that I may have previously taken for granted, despite working with some truly gifted members of the profession. The all-consuming process that accompanies a major investigations and eventual presentation to a jury, was detailed and eye opening.
Today, participants in the investigative and prosecutorial system are often treated with disdain for split second decisions. Those same individuals, however, spend the majority of their days in the more methodical pursuit of justice. It was rewarding to follow the best within the profession who patiently moved forward in this case to serve the victim of a heinous crime, the family left behind and the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

R. Fraelick on Amazon

Wow! This book is so intensely the best

My very first time reading Mr. Bill Powers’ book and I become a fan. Wow! This book is so intensely the best. It’s hard to put it down.

I felt like I am inside the courthouse. It felt so real while reading this book. I felt like I am one of the jurors. My favorite character is Adrienne, the attorney. She never gives up to fight justice for Kelly until the last day. The way she prepares everything for the trial is spectacular. The crime without the body and the witness to bring the victim and her family justice is so difficult but with scientific evidence, videos, and people willing to help, justice for Kelly is finally granted.

When Smoke Cleared is one of a kind book to read, it is the best book I have read so far this month. A crime mystery that put you on your chair, bed, Kindle, or book the best experience even in solving a crime. This book is long but it’s worth every page.

-J. Cassidy on Goodreads

A must read for criminal justice students, law enforcement academies, and aspiring detectives !!

One of the best investigative books I’ve ever read. Not only does DLT Powers explain, in detail, how a case is methodically investigated but how a multi agency collaboration is supposed to work. I am eternally grateful to DLT Powers for teaching me everything I know about working collectively and the importance of bringing justice for the victims !!

-Mike on Amazon