Monday, June 06, 2011

Deadly Heat - Cynthia Eden

Deadly Heat
Cynthia Eden
Romantic Suspense
This is the second in a series that started with DEADLYFEAR.  You don’t need to read the first novel first, though, since the books are related, but not exactly continuous.  If you did read the first book, you’ll recognize some returning characters.  If you didn’t, the author does a nice job of filling in pertinent details when needed without going into information overload.

This installment concerns Lora Spade, a local firefighter.  She’s the real deal, fighting fires and pulling victims to safety because it’s her job and her calling in life.  She lived through a fire in her childhood and fights fires for partly personal reasons.  Perhaps that’s why a serial arsonist is now fixated on her.  She’s had the feeling lately that someone is watching her.  And there have been a series of strange fires.  Lora goes over the heads of her bosses to request the help of the SSD, a new and elite squad in the FBI that specializes in tracking and stopping serial offenders.
The SSD sends Kenton Lake to town as point man.  He actually meets Lora in the middle of a fire while trying to pull an informant to safety.  Since he has no idea who to trust among the locals, he’s forced to withhold some information from them.  It doesn’t endear him to the locals when he begins by investigating those closest to the fires: the cops and firefighters.  This is where the author lost me a bit.  It would be insulting, sure, but in any crime you look at the closest people first.  Professionals might not like it, but they should understand it.  Of course, there’s the usual head-butting about who’s in charge, which seemed completely realistic.

The writing moves the story along at a fast and irresistible pace.  We see scenes from the arsonist’s point of view without knowing who the arsonist is.  There are plenty of possible suspects and a few that seem more than probable.  Less probable is the instant, inexplicable attraction between Lora and Kenton.  Yes, she pulled him out of a fire (the opposite of meeting cute?) and there’s the usual verbal sparring.  But, to me, the relationship happened because the story demanded it.  There were times that I became impatient with that aspect of the story, wanting to get back to the hunt.
That quibble aside, the story of tracking the arsonist is handled very well, and is what interested me in the first place.  There are several familiar faces from the first book, and these people are brought in because they have a job to do, and they do it well.  Not for fans of cozies, there are scenes of explicit violence and the author doesn’t stint on showing the reader what fire can do to structures and bodies.  This author has a great way with an action scene, and there are lots of interesting places for this series to go.
Rating: 7
February 2011
ISBN# 978-0-446-55926-3 (paperback)


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