Monday, March 25, 2013

When Good Firefighters Go Bad...

Congratulations to "Missy E" the winner of Anne's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Firefighters are the ultimate heroes, putting their lives on the line on a daily basis to keep us safe. So what happens when a firefighter goes bad? Evan and Faye race against time to track down and expose a firefighter arsonist in Slow Burn (Kensington Brava, April 2013). As part of my research for the book, I looked into firefighter arsons. Arson already accounts for a tremendous portion of wildland fires in the U.S.

Law enforcement has developed a descriptive profile of the firefighter arsonist that fits many of the recent cases. He (and the arsonist is almost always male) is typically:

·         A white male between the ages of 17 and 26
·         Had a violent or unstable childhood with a harsh father and an overprotective mother
·         Has poor self-esteem he tries to bolster by presenting himself as a “hero”
·         Typically unmarried or unhappily married
·         Has poor social and interpersonal skills
·         Works low-paying jobs
·         Loves the fire service and the fire service culture
·         Is smart but does poorly in school

While money plays a part in the arsons (there’s no paycheck if there are no fires to put out, and overtime puts even more money in a firefighter’s pocket), money is by no means the main motivating factor. Firefighter arsonists, because they are younger and inexperienced, are eager to go out there and get that experience. They want to ride the truck and can’t wait for the call to come in. Every fire is a good fire to them—and, when Mother Nature doesn’t provide, they set their own.


Evan Donovan is a big muscled giant of a man, whose size and strength make him uniquely qualified to be a smoke jumper. No matter how great or how treacherous the challenge, he gets the job done. But when he agrees to look in on a friend’s ex-wife after a suspicious brushfire, Evan learns that some jobs are too hot to handle.


Faye Duncan is a photographer on a mission, shooting fires for a magazine. But her first encounter with a wildfire isn’t nearly as wild as her first night with Evan Donovan. The moment she meets the bigger-than-life hero, the sparks begin to fly. But things really catch fire when Evan learns she may have taken a photo of the arsonist setting the fires. Evan is determined to keep Faye safe. But if he expects her to trust him with her life, he’ll have to open up his heart—even if someone gets burned…

               The beer was real cold, a Budweiser pick-me-up while Hollis waited for the show to get started outside. Mimi hadn’t asked questions when he’d come in, so he’d ordered up the Bud and waited. Nothing unusual about banging one back at Ma’s. Still, Mimi was watching him. He’d ditched the drip torch outside her door, but he definitely smelled like kerosene and smoke. That happy little stink could be on the up and up, though, so she was hanging back right now. She’d put two and two together in the next five to ten, however.

                Right on cue, fire alarms blared to life outside the bar’s front doors. Showtime. He started pulling money from his pocket, because he might set fires, but he paid his bar tab.

                “On the house,” Mimi growled, and she ran for the door. She’d definitely gotten the 411 on fire safety, because she felt the knob before she decided the metal was cool enough, and she flung the door open. Yeah, he’d lit up the firehouse parking  lot good.

                A car horn went off, singing a swan song, accompanied by small pops like bullets firing. Two of the three cars were fully engulfed now, and smoke shot up in black streams that faded to gray as they became airborne. The stink was bad now, because something plastic had caught, and there was plenty of orange. The added bonus was the wind lending a helping hand, spreading fire from A to B with each hot breath of air.

                Yeah. He’d set a real good one here.

                Mimi cursed, whirled around, and came right back inside, grabbing the land line beneath the bar. As she punched buttons and placed a call, he grabbed a bowl of peanuts and another beer. Popping the top, he headed for the still-open door. Shutting it on her return trip would have been a smart move for Mimi, because now his fires were pouring smoke into the bar, and she’d have one hell of a Febreze job on her hands.

                Behind him, Mimi slammed down the phone. “What do you think you’re doing, Hollis Anderson?”

                He gave her the truth. “I’m getting me a ringside seat.”

Hollis Anderson isn’t playing by the rules—and it’s up to Evan Donovan and Faye Duncan to stop him... before anyone gets hurt. 

I hope you enjoyed this small taste of Slow Burn. Share your thoughts with me—one lucky reader who comments on this blog will be randomly chosen to win a signed set of Smoke Jumper books.

Want to read more or to chat with me? Please visit me at
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Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST March 25th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. US and CANADA only.


  1. I remember reading and watching the news about the arson spree in California last year.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

  2. Many courageous men and women dedicate their lives daily to saving others. It is sad to say that there are those that are ill and intentionally put those people in harms way. Great excerpt, thanks for the chance to win.

  3. Hard to believe someone who knows exactly how dangerous a fire can be would actually start one. the excerpt was good. I will definately check out this book. thanks for the giveaway. trishleroy49 at gmail dot com

  4. How have I managed to miss this series?? I blame the black hole that is finishing up a doctoral dissertation! I must remedy this ASAP. Well, as soon as I climb out of that deep, dark hole :).

    We're prone to droughts where I'm from, so we have loads of forest fires--especially in summer, but there's just been one that burnt 266 hectares, apparently (inadvertently) started by some people setting off fireworks. (Really, who sets off fireworks in a freaking forest??) I remember having our summer camp evacuated because of a forest fire once-- at the time, it was exciting to me (and we got to move to practically across the street from the beach), but it's terrible that people are either so careless or so malicious that they cause so many fires!


  5. I have a friend that is a volunteer fire fighter and would love to read this whole series. In Oklahoma we have been having hot, dry Summers and last Summer someone started a fire that nearly burned his house down. He was trying to stop the flames in another area while his wife and neighbors stood out with hoses and were able to stop the fire at their backyard fence. Thanks for sharing such great stories with us.
    grandmabkr at yahoo dot com

  6. Wow, you have really caught my interest with this book & series... I love firefighters... I grew up around a firehouse... seeing the comradery among the firefighters... now thinking what it would be like with a bad seed among them... Thanks for sharing! :)

  7. So many men and women who put their lives on the line each day to keep others safe. I've always been intrigued by those who are willing to risk their lives for the sake of a photograph or film clip.

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

  8. Arsonists (along with a slew of nasty characters) just break my heart with the damage they can do to people and property. It's difficult to understand what drives them, even knowing the profile.
    Slow Burn does sound like a great read - the title just allows my mind go into delicious directions!

  9. Nice excerpt

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  10. Thanks for sharing and congrats to Anne on her newest release! It's so scary when the people we depend on to keep us safe, go "bad". And what's made it worse, is that they "know" how to circumvent the system or to do the most damage.


  11. I've added this series to my tbr list. I can't wait to read about each of these alpha males and their stories! I also have the perfect spot on my library shelf for a signed set of Smoke Jumpers books if I should be so lucky to win! ;)

    Heather E