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The Smoke Room: A Novel of Suspenseby Earl Emerson
Synopses & Reviews
From the terror of a lightless, smoke-clogged building to the secrets kept by the men and women who trust their partners with their lives, Earl Emerson knows the world of firefighting like no other author — and writes about it with passion and piercing honesty. In his remarkable new thriller, Emerson fuses together a gripping drama with unforgettable scenes of peril that, in this realm, can explode at any second.
Jason Gun, a risk-taking rookie firefighter who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, has found in his firehouse the family he never had as a child. Then, in one ill-fated turn of events, it all begins to go wrong.
A bizarre accident brings a thrill-seeking woman into Engine Company 29 — and into Jason's life. Suddenly, his future on the job is at risk. Two fellow firefighters know that he missed a call because of some sexual heroics at the wrong time and place. Now, deeply in their debt, he will find out what kind of men his partners really are.
When these two firefighters come upon a fortune in missing bearer bonds — money found in a dead man's house — Jason is forced to become an accessory to their crime. And when evidence of their greed, foolishness, and thievery begins to emerge, Jason is witness to an even darker deed.
Suddenly, the twenty-four-year-old, who only wanted to do the right thing, is trapped behind a wall of silence. Trying to undo his mistake, Jason moves further into the darkness, where a beautiful young woman might just be his emotional rescue — or yet one more very wrong move. Unfortunately for Jason, the worst isn't behind him. Like a fire hit by wind, the killing has raged out of control.
Capturing the thin line that separates a hero from a criminal, and an enemy from a friend, Earl Emerson's new novel is a gripping tale of a man's dangerous fall from grace — and of his fierce battle for redemption.
"How can a book go wrong when it opens with the immediate aftermath of a pig's 11,000-foot drop into a Seattle home? The answer is: it can't, really. Emerson's compelling latest defies easy categorization. Its mystery elements echo his Seattle-based Thomas Black detective novels; suspense comes from the felony and coverup that lie at the center of the story; and then there's the comedy of the deliciously deadpan Jason Gum, narrator and rookie firefighter, which spins the novel out of any conventional genre. There is, though, a definite coming-of-age story, as rookie Jason learns the ins and outs of his challenging job, for starters. Jason's rocky affair with the lady of the pig-wrecked house, Iola Pederson (who's 20 years his senior), is just the first of many lessons he learns at this school of hard knocks. Additional plot developments involve a compulsive fire starter cum alarm puller and his stash of valuable bonds, as well as Jason's complicated relationships with his co-workers, Lieutenant Sears and bickering fellow firefighters Johnson and Tronstad. Indeed, the more spectacular firefighting set pieces act as McGuffins before the real story gets rolling. Character becomes plot when Jason runs afoul of the amoral and possibly evil Tronstad. Emerson is funniest when he's at his most serious — and vice versa — in this consistently entertaining and always surprising yarn. Agent, Meg Ruley. (On sale May 31)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[T]he book's broad strokes diffuse suspense without providing a compensating zaniness. What remains is a laid-back and likable noir lite..." Booklist
"Emerson, always reliable, surpasses everything he's done before with this sometimes painfully funny, occasionally poignant suspense that adheres to its genre roots while achieving considerably more." Kirkus Reviews
The blistering new thriller by the Shamus Award-winning author of Vertical Burn and Pyro finds a rookie firefighter caught in an ever-escalating spiral of crime.
About the Author
Earl Emerson is a lieutenant in the Seattle Fire Department. He is the Shamus Award?winning author of Vertical Burn, Into the Inferno, and Pyro, as well as the Thomas Black detective series. He lives in North Bend, Washington. Visit the author's website at www.EarlEmerson.com.
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