Synopses & Reviews
In his pulse-pounding thrillers, Earl Emerson takes readers into the heart of the world's most dangerous profession, where the next alarm might bring sudden death. Based on stunning, actual events in the author's life, this electrifying new novel is a frightening duel between a Seattle firefighter and a man who wants to burn him down...
To a firefighter, there's nothing worse than a nuisance arsonist. His multiple fires keep a station up at night, running in circles, and more vulnerable at the next "real" call. And in Seattle, Lt. Paul Wollf of the Station Six's ladder truck hates a pyro more than most. Two decades before, an arsonist's fire killed Wolff's firefighter father, sending his mother into a spiral of depression and triggering a chain of events that left his brother in jail for murder and Wollf alone, seething in anger and isolation.
Already disciplined for punching out a superior officer, Wollf is now taking a young female firefighter under his wing. Despite the stationhouse leers and jokes, Wollf is only doing what comes naturally, helping out an underdog and bucking the system. But soon he and Cindy Rideout find themselves in a fierce political battle inside the department, just as a pyro starts to turn Seattle into his private little hell.
With fires springing up across the city, Wollf begins to see a pattern. The fires being set are coming closer and closer to Station Six. And when a crucial piece of evidence turns up, Wollf suspects the unthinkable: this pyro has turned him into a fiery target.
In Paul Wollf, Earl Emerson has created a hero on the brink. For when the pyro's rampage puts Wollf in the public limelight, Wollf must choose between his burning rage and the chance to step back for once ;and see a shocking truth hidden beyond the heat.
"A renegade in a stiff, uncaring fire department is the hero of this thriller by the author of 11 Thomas Black detective mysteries and two other firefighter novels (Vertical Burn; Into the Inferno). When Paul Wollf was 10, he and his older brother, Neil, killed the man who murdered their mother. Now, 19 years later, Neil is still in prison and Wollf is a lieutenant with the Seattle Fire Department. Wollf is a tormented and guilt-ridden man: a hot-shot risk taker with a violent, uncontrollable temper. The department brass want to fire him, but can't figure out how to can a hero. The complications get even hotter when Wolff's district is plagued by arson fires similar to the one that killed his firefighter father 25 years before. Wollf is too tired and too busy to see the connection until an ambush fire nearly kills him and his ladder crew. Then he realizes he is facing a pyromaniac, and suddenly everyone he knows is a suspect. Tight descriptions of fire department politics, petty bickering, professional jealousies and dangerous bureaucratic paralysis give Emerson's tale extra heft. Here's a fast-paced, smoke-filled, gripping story loaded with plot twists, snappy and graphic dialogue, and firefighting lore. FYI: Emerson is a lieutenant in the Seattle Fire Department and a Shamus Award-winning author." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"When the smoke clears, Wollf's life is forever changed, and Emerson has another four-alarm winner. Recommended." Library Journal
"The roving viewpoint fails to add much psychological depth to workaday prose, but fresh alarms keep the action racing toward the final conflagration....[R]eads like James Patterson decked out in fire gear..." David Wright, Booklist
"Emerson's a pro at leading his fictional firefighters and readers through crackling, smoking rooms, dodging fiery death at every blind turn, and he doesn't falter here...[he] keep[s] the pages turning at a blistering pace." Oregonian
Based on stunning, actual events in the author's life, the bestselling author of Vertical Burn depicts a frightening duel between a Seattle firefighter and a pyromaniac who wants to burn him down.
About the Author
is a lieutenant in the Seattle Fire Department. He is the Shamus Award—winning author of Vertical Burn
and Into the Inferno
, as well as the Thomas Black detective series, which includes The Rainy City
, Poverty Bay
, Nervous Laughter
, Fat Tuesday
, Deviant Behavior
, Yellow Dog Party
, The Portland Laugher
, The Vanishing Smile
, The Million-Dollar Tattoo
, Deception Pass
, and Catfish Café
. He lives in North Bend, Washington.
From the Hardcover edition.