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MYSTERIES

Tahoe Deathfall and Tahoe Blowup by Todd Borg (Thriller Press, $16.95 each, paper). Borg's hero is Owen McKenna, a former San Francisco cop who, as we meet him in the first book, "Tahoe Deathfall," has just opened his private investigator's office in South Lake Tahoe.

His first potential client, 14-year-old Jennifer Salazar, wants McKenna to investigate the death of her identical twin, Melissa, eight years before. Everyone thinks it was an accident -- that she slipped off a cliff to fall to her death.

"Tahoe Blowup" begins with someone soaked in gasoline and burning horribly, stumbling through dry grasses to start a wildfire.

McKenna is hired to investigate the fires that follow. And before too long, his girlfriend, Street Casey, has been kidnapped by the arsonist.

"Tahoe Deathfall" and "Tahoe Blowup" are both paperback originals, but if Borg finds his audience it's likely he will graduate to the hardcover big leagues before long.

-- Knight Ridder Newspapers