Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts
Read by Rebecca Lowman
Length: 15 hours, 10 minutes
Synopsis from Goodreads: There’s little else as thrilling as firefighting – at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are in Rowan’s blood: her father is a legend. She’s been fighting fires since her eighteenth birthday. At this point, returning to the wilds of Montana for the season feels like coming home – even with reminders of the partner she lost last season still lingering.
Fortunately, this year’s rookie crop is one of their strongest ever – and Gulliver Curry’s one of the best. He’s also a walking contradiction, a hotshot firefighter with a big vocabulary and a winter job at a kids’ arcade.
But everything is thrown off-balance when a dark presence lashes out against Rowan, looking to blame someone for last year’s tragedy. Rowan knows she can’t complicate things with Gull – any distractions in the air or on the ground could mean the end – but if she doesn’t find someone she can lean on, she may not make it through the summer….
My thoughts: Nora Roberts is one of my go-to authors. I love her trilogies and series but she also has some really good stand-alones, a lot that are considered romantic suspense stories. Chasing Fire falls into that category, although the suspense isn't one of her strongest - I was able to guess who was wreaking havoc on everyone's life halfway through. But that didn't stop me from enjoying the book.
The heroine of Chasing Fire, Rowan, is the captain of a smoke jumper squad, the Zulies. She's a tough lady who takes her job of protecting her crew seriously. When a tragedy occurs, it begins to haunt her. Rookie fire jumper Gul comes into the mix and there's instant chemistry between him and Rowan. Rowan fights it off for a while, but eventually gives in. He's exactly what Rowan needs - whether she's willing to admit it or not. There's also a sweet secondary romance with Rowan' dad and a local high school principal.
The main action of the story involves fighting the fires. But when people start showing up dead and someone starts messing with their equipment, it's soon apparent that someone has a grudge against one of the Zulies. Rowan seems to get the brunt end of the menacing act and takes it personally. Can she figure out who's behind things before it's too late? How many more people will turn up dead or injured before the person is caught? There are a lot of red herrings thrown in, all with probably cause, but when the guilty person is finally revealed, everything comes out.
I have to say that Nora Roberts' characters have the most interesting careers. Whatever she's writing about, you always feel like you're standing right there with them, seeing how they go about their lives, and learning the ins and outs of each career. In this case it was the details about smoke jumping, which I found to be fascinating. I didn't know much about smoke jumping before reading this, and now I have a new-found respect for the field.
Audio thoughts: I loved listening to this book. Rebecca Lowman did a great job of giving all the characters their own voices, giving them each a unique personality and the action of the book makes audio a good choice.
(I borrowed this audio book from the library.)