[673]: Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts

chasing-fire Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts
Brilliance Audio | April 12th, 2011
Source: Audible
Adult Fiction | Suspense
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Little else in life is as dangerous as fire jumping. Flying past towering pillars of smoke, parachuting down to the edge of an all-consuming blaze, shoveling and sawing for hours upon hours, days at a time, all to hold the line and push back against the raw power of Mother Nature.

But there’s also little else as thrilling – at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are one of the most exclusive fire-fighting squads in the nation, and the job is in Rowan’s blood: her father is a legend in the field. 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 in the air.

Fortunately, this year’s rookie crop is among the 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 kid’s arcade. He came to Missoula to follow in the footsteps of Lucas “Iron Man” Tripp, yet he’s instantly more fascinated by his hero’s daughter. Rowan, as a rule, doesn’t hook up with other smoke jumpers, but Gull is convinced he can change her mind. And damn if he doesn’t make a good case to be an exception to the rule.

Everything is thrown off balance, though, 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 be lethal. But if she doesn’t find someone she can lean on when the heat gets intense, her life may go down in flames.

Nora Roberts, much like Sandra Brown, has made quite a name for herself in the Romantic Suspense genre. And while I haven’t been able to make great strides with her books, I’m slowly picking them up as I go along. Chasing Fire has always been on my periphery ever since I picked up the hardback in 2011. I just haven’t had the chance to read it because, YA. Thanks to an Audible sale, Chasing Fire is finally off my TBR.

Slow Burn

Truth be told, I almost quit on this book. The plot wasn’t revealed until about a quarter of the way in. And in this genre, the apt pacing could be the difference between a DNF and a great read. But I persevered. Because even though the story’s development came to a slow fruition,  there was a lot of interesting things within its pages – para jumpers, for one. But these particular jumpers are trained to fight fire in the wilds. They are the ones that stood between a couple of acres of burnt forest and a wide-spread inferno that incinerates an entire town. Their job is exciting and dangerous which more than made up for the sluggish plot. Even though this is only my second Nora Roberts novel (not including JD Robb’s) I already have an idea as to her style of writing.  She’s a meticulous story teller so her books tend to be longer and slower than I prefer.

The Short of It All

Rowan Tripp is a senior fire fighter who has seen the best and worst of being a Zulie. This season, however, will prove to be  the most deadly. Aside from the fires bent on killing everything and everyone in its way, someone is on a killing tear. From sniper fire to equipment sabotage, Rowan refuse to acknowledge the inevitable reality that the person responsible could be one of the team members. With the help of a cocky, handsome rookie, Rowan, and her team is on the clock. Find the killer before they kill all of them.

Into the Fire

Nora Roberts knows how to give life to a genuinely strong female character. I can surmise that even if I’d only read three of her books so far.The job of a wildfire firefighter calls for agility, endurance, and intelligence. Depending on the magnitude of the fire, they could go days without any proper meal, sleep, or rest. And because she’s a senior firefighter, she leads the team every time they jump. She kept her head in the game without fail; she knows where to cut off the fire to give them a fighting chance.

Fire, Caught

Rowan, though, is emotionally stunted. She’s got trust and abandonment issues. Despite the close and ideal relationship she has with her father, she’s never really gotten over the fact that her mom abandoned them. Consequently, she kept everyone at a distance. But when Gulliver Curry arrived, he worked on breaking down her walls (as cliched as that may sound) so she can live for the moment. They have a realistic chemistry; not at all an exaggerated attraction, but they simply are.

Mystery/Suspense Fizzled

Because the novel had a languid pace, the mystery and suspense suffered a bit. She worked hard to conceal the identity of the suspect/killer to no avail. I suspected who it was as soon as they were introduced – and I’m not even a seasoned reader of the genre! Gull and Rowan never got close to naming a suspect which is a little out of the ordinary in romantic suspense. Usually, the main characters have some involvement in solving the crime, but here, they were merely participants. They speculated and did a half-ass job of investigating but they didn’t come to a conclusion. In the end, it came as a surprise to them as well.

I learned so much about para jumping and firefighting while reading this book. My admiration for firefighters doubled. To risk their lives every time they’re called on duty goes beyond a paycheque. It’s a dedication to the people and the land they’re trying to protect. Nora Roberts dove into this enterprise with gusto; she didn’t miss a thing. Regardless of how ineffectual the suspense was in this book, readers will still be able to appreciate the lessons it imparts, the characters worth knowing, and the romance that’s distinctively Nora Roberts.