Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Through the Fire by Shawn Grady

Through the Fire by Shawn Grady
Copyright 2009
Bethany House - Fiction
336 action-packed pages
Shawn Grady's Website

Water channeled through the hose line, straightening the bends. I looked at the nozzle and the bale bent open. Before I could process the chain of events, a hundred and fifty pounds of pressure shot from the tip and the hose slipped from my grip.

The hose danced like a Chinese dragon, flipping and taunting. People ducked for cover. I pounced on it, inching my way back to the tip. Flailing spray shook back and forth.

"Shut that thing down!" Butcher yelled.

Katrina pounded a gate valve on the panel. I reached the nozzle as the stream stopped to a trickle.

I made my feet and closed the bale. The fire reared higher, stretching corkscrew tentacles. I stared into its burning gullet, its jaws agape, descending upon me.

Something exploded. A heat wave seared my neck through my hood. I ducked and spun, catching glimpses of a trailer now fully involved.

--excerpt from Advanced Reader Copy of Through the Fire; changes may have been made

I'm still having a little trouble thinking of anything besides my youngest son's accident, so let me say this first: This book rocks. I'm afraid I'm not going to do it justice because my head's not screwed on straight, but I'll try.

Aidan "A-O" O'Neill has firefighting in his blood. His father died in a fire, his uncle Cormac was a firefighter and Aidan has "the gift" of reading flames. But, he's a little off his game and for a firefighter, that's dangerous. He disregards a direct command and ignores his instinct, leading to the injury of a rookie. Suspended for his part in the accident, Aidan goes to visit his uncle, now retired and living in Mexico. His visit doesn't go particularly well, either, and the timing is terrible. Back home in Reno, an arsonist is on the loose and his long-time girlfriend has decided to call it quits.

Called back from his suspension early, Aidan finds himself exhausted from back-to-back calls, frequently making potentially dangerous mistakes. Meanwhile, a new fire prevention officer named Julianne has caught his eye and her discoveries shed suspicion on an old friend. Who is responsible for the dangerously explosive fires that are being set around Reno and what is the meaning of the pattern of connections to firefighters that Julianne has discovered? Will Aidan get his gift back or will more people end up hurt because of his careless mistakes?

Through the Fire is so good I feel at a total loss to describe it. Shawn Grady is a firefighter, so Aidan is a character written from hands-on experience and it shows. Particularly during the fire and rescue scenes, you feel like you're in the thick of the action. There's a Christian aspect but it's really just a part of characterization. There's no preaching and, actually, it's so minor that if I didn't happen to know Bethany House is a Christian publishing company, I don't think I would have really noticed it at all. The identity of the arsonist surprised me (always a good thing) and I loved the hint of romance. Really, I loved everything about this book.

5/5 - Excellent writing, taut action, an exciting and entertaining blend including mystery and a touch of romance. I loved this book so much I'm not willing to take off even a fraction of a point. My only problem with the book was some of the terminology. I could have used a minor glossary of firefighting/EMS terms (I did know some from previous reading). Since my book is an ARC, I don't know if there's any kind of glossary in the final copy. However, the book is perfectly readable without help; it just would have been nice, on occasion, to have a word or two defined.

And, back on the home front:

Since I'm having so much difficulty concentrating and the extra driving (back to being the Mom Taxi Service) and errands are wearing me out, I've decided it would be best not to fret about the books that are scheduled for review, this week, and do my best to get caught up and move on without going so far as to require therapy. So, there may be a couple of tour posts without reviews, this week. I haven't even begun to read the tour book scheduled for tomorrow. My apologies to anyone whose book gets shoved aside for a time. I've known for a while that I overbooked myself in July, but I certainly didn't anticipate an accident to throw an extra kink in a month when the days already seem too short to keep up.

Many, many huge, huggy, gushy thanks to all who have left comments and hugs, sent up prayers of thanks and told me what a neat kid I have (obviously I'm biased, but I'm certainly very pleased with his attitude).

Bookfool, who hopes to get back to normality very soon


  1. So, your blog did the Twilight Zone thing a few minutes ago. When I clicked on the link, your post was there. Then when I went back a couple of minutes later, it wasn't - it was back to the post with the cop photo. Strangeness.

    The book does sound very good and if you want to ask, I do know some EMS stuff plus some firefighters who could probably help with what I don't know myself.

    Give yourself all the time you need and don't worry about the small stuff. I'm sure everyone understands your circumstances.


  2. CJ,

    I did fix a mistake in the text. Maybe that made the post disappear for a bit?

    I think you'd really like Through the Fire. The arson mystery is really well done and I think you'll find the EMS scenes pretty realistic. There's one really long night when they get call after call and at least a couple of the calls are the typical drunks.

    Oh, cool! I'll remember to ask you, next time I have a question about EMS/firefighting terminology. I liked this book so much that I'm just assuming I'll read everything he writes.

    I'm slowly coming out of the fog. Seeing the inside of that car really did me in -- and I still have to go empty the trunk because it stormed, today. I hope it's sunny tomorrow, so I can get that over with!!

  3. You definitely need to take care of your family and yourself right now. Your blog's supposed to be stress-relieving, not stress-inducing, so just forget about it for a few days.

  4. Kathy,

    Thanks. I don't think I'm going to have much choice in the matter. I've got to get down to the body shop to empty the car, post haste, because the insurance company wants to move it to save on storage fees and there are still tons of other things to take care of (like replacing his broken glasses). It makes me tired just thinking about all that I still have to do!!

  5. The book does sound like it would be a great read.

    Take care of your kid and yourself! Book reviews can wait.

  6. It sounds like a great book! I'll have to keep that one in mind. :)

    Hugs, you'll figure the whole thing out with Will. Good luck getting it all done!

  7. Carrie,

    I really enjoyed this one. I think (don't trust me; I'm still in Brain Fog Mode) the author's website says his next book will have a paramedic hero. I hope I read that right. I would love to read a good piece of fiction written through the eyes of an EMT and he definitely can write.

    Thanks. I'm still not worth much. The blog may languish a bit, for a few more days. We'll see. :)


    It's very, very good. I think you'd enjoy it.

    We're slowly getting all the car stuff taken care of. It's tiring, but everyone we've dealt with has been very cordial. I did feel like the vultures were hovering at the body shop. We couldn't help but look at the wreck and moan about the fact that the car had great tires!!! David's car needs new tires. If only we could switch. LOL

  8. You have to put yourself and family before anything else. The reading and blogging can wait - we all understand. And, it's not like the books or blogosphere are going anywhere. :) We'll be here when you are ready.

  9. Joy,

    Thanks. Yeah, it'll have to wait. There's much more to dealing with an accident than I realized. We haven't ever had one that's chargeable to insurance in our 27 years of marriage. This is a first.

  10. I love your header pic! Awesome :) and so cute!~

    This book does sound sooo good!

    Will totally add it to my TBR pile :)

  11. Don't stress out about the books. They'll be there when you're ready for them. Take care of yourself and your family first.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  12. Veens,

    Thank you! I spotted that squirrel in a parking lot, a couple of years ago, and followed him as he dragged the ice cream cone (which someone had dropped) from the parking lot to the base of a tree to snack. It was such a great moment!

    The book is amazing. I highly recommend it. There's a bit of a choppy feel to the writing, but I think that's deliberate and adds impact to the action scenes.


    Thanks! There's so much to do when someone has an accident! I didn't realize that. We've never had a car totaled. In fact, in our entire marriage we haven't had a single accident chargeable to insurance, till now.

    I finally read a little, last night! Wahoo! Now, I'm just working on trying to read next week's books so I won't have to stress about getting them done in time.

  13. I finished this book last night. It was good. Did you think the beginning was slow? I am with you on the vocab. I read the finished copy and no glossary. I felt a little lost in the banter. So overall good. My review goes up tomorrow with the CFBA. :)

  14. Brittanie,

    Yes, I did think that part in Mexico was slow -- not the whole beginning. The first fire scene was good. The Mexico bit didn't do much for me, although I thought that was his way of dropping a hint.

    No glossary? Darn. I was thinking about buying a finished copy because I liked the book so much, but I really hoped it would have a glossary. Oh, well. I still loved it. I have kind of a thing for fire and EMS. I'll check out your review, tomorrow.

  15. "Keep calm and carry on" as they say. Getting through all the red tape keeps the accident fresh, but you will get through it eventually, with new gratitude for all that you love and cherish.

    I like the sound of this book--thanks for the review!

  16. Jenclair,

    I think we've gotten all the paperwork and busy things taken care of, so maybe normality will return soon. I'm still carting the kiddo back and forth to work and taking him an evening meal, though. It's amazing how those little errands cut into your day!

    We haven't forgotten our good fortune. All week, I kept looking at kiddo and saying, "You didn't even get a scratch on your pretty face. How did that happen?" He said, "Safety glass. It works." LOL Even so, I think he's amazed that he came out of that wreck with so few injuries.

    I loved this book and can't wait for the next by Grady. I'm going to have to follow his website so I'll know when it's coming!


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