Blue Smoke [NOOK Book]


Reena Hale is an arson investigator who steps into an inferno of madness when a man begins to haunt her life with astring of horrifying crimes.

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Blue Smoke

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Reena Hale is an arson investigator who steps into an inferno of madness when a man begins to haunt her life with astring of horrifying crimes.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Nora Roberts's steamy thriller about a beautiful arson investigator and her pyromaniacal stalker is aptly titled: Where there's this much smoke, there's bound to be plenty of fire.

Catarina "Reena" Hale's life was changed forever when, at the age of 11, she watched her family's restaurant in Baltimore's Little Italy go up in flames. Determined to become a fire inspector like her hero John Minger, the man who, in large part, found out who torched her parents' pizzeria, Reena eventually graduates college and becomes a detective on the Baltimore Police Department's arson task force. And although she seems to have it all -- a loving family, good friends, and a promising career -- Reena's love life is disastrous. Her first boyfriend died after allegedly falling asleep while smoking. Another relationship was tragically cut short by a bizarre death on a back road. Reena's lonely existence is changed, however, when she buys a house that is next door to a hunky carpenter named Bo. But when a man who onced stalked Reena reappears and begins to turn up the heat by targeting her loved ones with his deadly fires, she must track down the psychopathic arsonist before she and her new lover get burned -- permanently.

With such an addictively readable blend of psychological thriller and romantic intrigue, fans of the prolific Roberts's previous novels (Blue Dahlia, Black Rose, et al.) will burn through this red-hot page-turner -- Dean Koontz meets Danielle Steel. Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly
Romantic suspense queen Roberts (Blue Dahlia, etc.) lights up Baltimore's Little Italy with this appealing story of love, family, food and arson. Eleven-year-old Reena Hale, watching her family's restaurant go up in flames, decides to become an arson investigator. The fire shapes another child's destiny, too, as Joey Pastorelli sees his father go to prison for setting the blaze. Reena's close-knit Italian family rebuilds; Reena grows up and completes police and firefighter training. Despite inheriting her mother's good looks, Reena proves unlucky in love, mainly because her beaux tend to die in fires, but her fortunes look up after she meets hunky carpenter Bo Goodnight. Bo gets along with Reena's family, friends and co-workers, and handles the demands of her career with patient humor, so nothing stands in their way except an obsessed, pyromaniac stalker determined to kill any man Reena loves. Although it does take Reena an inordinately long time to identify her nemesis, Roberts portrays investigative procedure more accurately than her many imitators. Well-sketched supporting characters with potential subplots of their own suggest that the prolific Roberts will put her feet to the fire again. Main selection, the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When preteen Reena Hale witnesses someone torching her family's restaurant, it impacts her entire life. Now an adult, she's a top-notch arson investigator, and suddenly her job gets very personal. Fires have clues in her name, and the seemingly random deaths of people she's loved take on a more sinister meaning. Why is she being targeted? Joyce Bean reads smoothly, introducing each character with Roberts's cues to an emotional landscape. She maintains an easy rhythm, which complements the story. The plot crosses mystery, suspense, and romance genres, but each element has equal weight, and Bean allows the characters to play to their strengths. An essential purchase.-Jodi L. Israel, MLS, Jamaica Plain, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Beautiful Italian babe with a passion for fire and doomed hunks joins the arson squad and discovers that someone has held a torch for her since she was a child. When Reena Hale is 11 years old, she watches her family's Baltimore pizzeria go up in flames. Thanks to a local arson detective, John Minger, and the girl's keen memory, police determine that a neighborhood crook whose young son had recently attacked Reena was out for revenge, and soon cops publicly haul the dirt bag off to jail. The large and loving Hale family bands together and rebuilds; Reena grows up curious about the origins of fire. She attends college and, after her boyfriend dies in an accident, joins the police force and learns the inner workings of the fire department. Eventually, she teams with Minger to solve the city's suspicious fires. Meanwhile, over the years, a shady character has been hiding in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to violently sabotage Reena's relationships (usually with the help of explosives). Somehow Reena doesn't put together that all of her boyfriends have been in the path of catastrophic (occasionally deadly) events, so her stalker hits the phone lines to clue her in with dirty messages that become more and more intimate. When Reena launches a torrid love affair with her new neighbor, whose truck soon explodes, she begins to get it. Fearing for her family's safety, Reena reopens past cases and learns that her troubles started when she was a child. The tale builds to a breathless climax as she (literally) races to beat out the flames of one fire before determining where the next one will be set. Roberts does it again with this fast-paced romantic mystery that's both steamy andthrilling, despite its somewhat obvious nature.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101146774
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/4/2005
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 24,780
  • File size: 792 KB

Meet the Author

Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts is truly a publishing phenomenon. With over 250 million copies of her novels in print, she has come a long way since she wrote her first novel in a spiral notebook using a No. 2 pencil. Now she has published over 150 novels and her work has been optioned and made into films, excerpted in national magazines and translated in over twenty-five different countries. "I always have stories running around in my head," she explains. "Once I start putting them down on paper, I just keep going; I just keep writing." In addition to her amazing success in mainstream fiction, Nora Roberts remains committed to writing for her category romance audience that took her to into their heart in 1981 with her very first book, a Silhouette romance.

Nora Roberts continues to write futuristic romantic suspense as J.D. Robb, and her characters Eve Dallas and Roarke have become two of her most popular creations ever. Her J.D. Robb titles are hailed as "a perfect balance of suspense, futuristic police procedure and steamy romance...truly fine entertainment" by Publishers Weekly.

Reviewers agree that Nora Roberts deserves praise. The Los Angeles Daily News describes her as "a word artist, painting her story and her characters with vitality and verve." Kirkus Reviews comments on True Betrayals saying "Roberts' style has a fresh, contemporary snap." Roberts is said to be "reminiscent of Jacqueline Briskin and Sidney Sheldon" by Booklist, and Rex Reed lauds her saying, "Move over Sidney Sheldon: the world has a new master of romantic suspense, and her name is Nora Roberts." Publishers Weekly claims "Roberts keeps getting better...[her] prolificness shows no sign of abating." They add, "When Roberts puts her expert finger on the pulse of romance, legions of fans feel the heartbeat." USA Today calls Nora "a consistently entertaining writer."

The remarkable Ms. Roberts did not become a success overnight. By the time her first novel, Irish Thoroughbred, was published in 1981, she already had three years of hard work behind her and several rejected manuscripts languishing in drawers. Today, according to Entertainment Weekly, "her stories have fueled the dreams of twenty-five million readers." One of America's leading novelists, her books are published around the world. She is frequently invited to promote her novels in other countries. Her recent travels took her to England, Italy, Australia and Japan to meet fans, fellow authors and aspiring writers.

Sanctuary was made into a television movie which aired in 2001 on CBS as "Nora Roberts' Sanctuary." The cast includes Melissa Gilbert, Emmy-winner Kathy Baker and Costas Mandylor. CBS has also optioned The Reef for another television movie. Montana Sky has been optioned by TriStar Television for a two-hour television movie. Her book This Magic Moment became the television film "Magic Moments" starring Emmy-winner John Shea and Jenny Seagrove. Sacred Sins has been optioned for film by Kaleidoscope, and Private Scandals has been optioned by Burt Reynolds Productions. Reflections and The Law is a Lady were selected by Good Housekeeping magazine for presentation as condensed novels. Honest Illusions and Private Scandals were featured as Readers Digest's Condensed Books.

The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly have all featured or mentioned Nora Roberts in articles about writing and the romance genre. She has appeared on ABC-TV's Good Morning America and Cable News Network, and has been featured on the television programs To Tell the Truth, Entertainment Tonight, and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. She has been interviewed by local television and radio programs across the country, and she has been featured in dozens of newspapers, including the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, Washington Times, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, and Atlanta Constitution.

Her extraordinary accomplishments have also received recognition from her peers. The first author ever to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame, and the first author to receive their Centennial Award when she published her 100th novel Montana Sky, she is the recipient of almost every award given in recognition of excellence in romance writing. In 1997, she was honored at the Romance Writers of America National Conference when she was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to her awards from the Romance Writers of America, she has also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Waldenbooks, and she has been honored by B. Dalton Booksellers, the New Jersey Chapter of Romance Writers of America, and BookRak Distributors.

Nora Roberts is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America, and a member of their Washington, D.C. chapter. She was the keynote speaker at their 1994 national conference in New York. She is also a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, The Crime Writers League of America, and Novelists Inc.

The youngest of five children, she was born in Silver Spring, Maryland. She now lives in Keedysville, Maryland.

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    1. Also Known As:
      J. D. Robb; Sarah Hardesty; Jill March; Eleanor Marie Robertson (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Keedysville, Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
    2. Place of Birth:
      Silver Spring, Maryland

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 171 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 171 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Jennifer Wardrip - Personal Read

    When Catarina "Reena" Hale was eleven years old, she watched with her family--father Gib, mother Bianca, sister Francesca, sister Isabella, and brother Xander--as their family business, Sirico's, burned to the ground. The case came to a swift conclusion, when the father of a boy who had attempted to assault Reena is picked up for arson. The family rebuilds their business, their family ties stay strong, and their love and respect in the neighborhood grows. <BR/><BR/>We fast-forward to Reena in college, where she's finally decided to lose her virginity to Josh, a fellow student who yearns to be a writer. After her sister Bella's dream wedding, Reena has sex with her boyfriend, returns home, and later discovers that Josh has died during a horrific apartment fire--after supposedly falling asleep in bed with a lit cigarette. <BR/><BR/>Again, fast-forward. Reena is still in training to become an arson investigator, her life-long dream. She's a member of the police force, has worked actual fires with her fellow firefighters, and now needs to finish her training. A firefighter she was thinking of dating dies in an apparent robbery, shot and left in his burning truck. <BR/><BR/>Still farther into the future, Reena is a full-fledged arson investigator, and tragedy finds her once again. Only days after earning her gold shield, Luke, a boyfriend whose marriage proposal she turned down, has his Mercedes burned sky-high, and of course Reena is the main suspect. After she's cleared, she's only more determined than ever to make fire her job--to find out who sets it, and why, and to bring the perpetrators to justice. <BR/><BR/>Then she meets Bowen "Bo" Goodnight, her new next-door-neighbor, and feelings and emotions get jumbled up with the fires that seem to dog her every step. Because someone has made her their vendetta, and will stop at nothing to make sure that his own brand of justice is served. <BR/><BR/>I loved BLUE SMOKE! Although it took me four days to read, weighing in at 437 pages and spanning twenty years, the book is a wonderful mix of engaging family saga, taut police/arson procedural, and down and out thriller. I don't agree with the other reviewers who said this book was "horror" or that Ms. Roberts delved too deeply into the mind of the killer--most romantic suspense (and this is definitely one of those books) these days go more into the who, how, and why and less on the fluff. I commend Ms. Roberts for another winning story, one which I was sad to see end. I loved reading about the Hale family and their extended relations, and I'm sure you'll be as enthralled by them as I was. <BR/><BR/>**I have to also say that BLUE SMOKE reads a lot like Nora Robert's alter-ego, J.D. Robb, in a lot of instances. Some of the short sentences, rapid-pace dialogue, and out-loud ruminating are reminiscent of Eve Dallas, but that only adds to the allure of BLUE SMOKE, instead of taking away from it. Kudos on another winner!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome book

    I have read this book when it first came out and I really enjoyed it very much and had me keep on reading. Nora Roberts is the best. I agree with other is a GREAT book and I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2007

    Good Book

    This was a very good book. I loved Bo, he was the perfect love interest. The characters were very likeable and the chemistry was great once the two got together. The killer is not kept a secret so if you like to figure out the killer in books, then this book is not for you. Overall, enjoyable read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book

    This is the first book I've read of Nora Roberts and was thrilled. The storyline I thought was great. I've never read a book with the main character as a woman fire dectective. I loved how she was so strong and determined and never backed down of becoming what she's always wanted to be since the fire at her parents Italian resturaunt when she was young. The love scenes are excellent and I enjoyed how Nora thought of making the male character fall in love from "afar".

    This is absolutely a book to read of Nora Roberts.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Could not put this down

    The characters were phenominal. Was actually able to grow up with the main character. The change in text for the villain helped to give a different voice to that character. Nora Roberts hit it out of the park again with another number one.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2007

    Loved it!

    I don't always read these kinds of books, but this one was steady reading, all the way through. I didn't want to put it down. Nice job.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Blue Smoke - simmering fire

    Nora Roberts' at her best. Intriquing and attention grabbing from the beginnng to the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2008

    It's not another trashy romance novel

    I had quit reading Nora Roberts for a while because it seemed they were getting to be just trashy romance novels. I am glad I picked this up off the sale rack. It was good and definitely a page turner!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2008

    Never a dull moment

    This was my first Nora Roberts Novel, but definately not the last. Her attention to detail was outstanding. The characters were so alive it was almost like watching a movie. I knew who the suspect was pretty much the whole way through, but the ending still had me on the edge of my chair!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2007

    Nothing too much to fault here, and she breaks new ground

    This book is classic Roberts style, with one pleasant exception: her heroine is Italian. The cop that the heroine becomes seems familiar to me, and that's because she is the Roberts female cop archetype. So she's strong, and independent, all are all the others, but she's an individual, and as different from the others as the others are from her and from each other. I've grown accustomed to seeing Roberts' women as Irish or of Irish ancestry, and I liked the fact that she shook things up a bit here. The story itself was good. There's very little mystery, because we know who the baddies are, but the tension, the passion, the drama, the characterization, the emotion -- all of these are classic Nora Roberts and, therefore, they're superbly done.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2007

    awesome book!

    this book is just awesome and I could not put it down....i even lost sleep by reading this but it was well worth it! I even gave it to a friend of mine to read it. I highly recommend this book. If you see other people saying it's dull, it's not. take my word for it! I enjoy nora roberts and she is a great writer!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2007

    My First Book By Nora Roberts

    I absolutely loved it from beginning to end. I would reccomend this book to anybody and everybody. The ending was definitely my favorite part. It isnt possible to be dissapointed by this book, if anything u might love it...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2006

    A reviewer

    Hi,i'm a huge supporter and fan of Nora Roberts. She's the best. This book, Blue Smoke, was the first book i read of hers. Words can't describe how amazing this single book is.No, it's not a's a masterpiece! If you read this masterpiece you WILL cry, aw, jump,and never take your eyes off it. This book is full of romance, action, mystery, and adventure. Please, if you are a reader and you're looking for a masterpiece by Ms. Nora Roberts, you got to read this book. Note this piece of information, exclusively from me...DO NOT EVER UNDER ESTIMATE OR PUT DOWN NORA AND HER BOOKS..thank you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2006

    Good - Not your typical Nora

    Blue Smoke was a good read. A little slow to get to the punch and the 'villian' was a little too obvious, BUT, the book itself was really good. The writing was more along Nora's JD Robb books, but since I like those, this was right up my alley!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2006

    Suspenseful, heartfelt emotions

    This was a classic Nora Roberts book, but even better! Suspense builds toward the ending, but getting there made me laugh, gasp, boo, and want to cry.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    Pyromania - an impulse/control desire or need to set things on fire. Where there's smoke there's fire, and where there's fire there's often a pyromaniac. But few pyromaniacs are also sadists intent on killing. Such is the terror faced by arson investigator Reena Hale. As a child she had seen her family's restaurant go up in flames, and as she watched the devastation she determined to learn more about fires and some day become an investigator. She went through the arduous years of study, and as our story opens Reena is an attractive woman, an arson investigator for the Baltimore Police Department. She loves her work, finds it thrilling and satisfying. The same can't be said for any romance in her life. She's had some possibles but so far none of the men have been willing to put up with the danger she faces or her unpredictable work hours. At last, she seems to have found the right one - neighbor Bo Goodnight. He not only accepts her, but wants her. He easily adapts to her extended Italian family and the perils she faces. Just as it seems her life is what she dreamed it would be she begins receiving threatening phone calls from someone who sounds like a sociopath determined to do away with Reena and those she loves. Joyce Bean delivers a tension filled reading of this suspense/romance from the prolific pen of Nora Roberts. Bean never succumbs to dramatizing the danger but mesmerizes listeners with a steady, articulate voice performance letting the narrative speak for itself. - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2014

    Reena and Bo

    Reena is a strong willed, independent woman with a huge family and even bigger goals. I love her sense of humor and her back bone. Not your normal needy woman in a romance book. She can and does take care of herself. Bo is a funny man with a heart of gold and just enough temper and spine to keep him from getting that perfect guy rap. Between the fires, murder, mystery and all the drama that comes with having a big family, this book is the perfect read. I've read it dozens of times and I love it more each time. Id give it three thumbs up if I could manage it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013


    Throughly enjoyed this book. Very end of seat.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    very good book


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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Interesting read.

    I liked the large type as it was easier on my eyes, however, this was not the relaxing reading I was used to from Nora Roberts. I prefer the regular romance stories without the violence and mystery.

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