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Blue Smoke

Blue Smoke

4.1 174
by Nora Roberts

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Incomparable #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts delivers a tale of gut-level fear, human triumph, and the bonds that carry us through our darkest times…

Reena Hale’s destiny was shaped in the destructive—yet fascinatingly beautiful—fire that leveled her family’s pizzeria when she was young. Now an arson


Incomparable #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts delivers a tale of gut-level fear, human triumph, and the bonds that carry us through our darkest times…

Reena Hale’s destiny was shaped in the destructive—yet fascinatingly beautiful—fire that leveled her family’s pizzeria when she was young. Now an arson investigator, she finds her strength and wits constantly tested, although sometimes the job seems like a snap compared to her love life. But she can’t always blame the men. After all, a soot-caked woman barking orders and smelling of smoke isn’t the biggest turn-on in the world. Then she meets Bo Goodnight, who seems different. He’s been trying to find Reena for years, and now that she’s close enough to touch, he has no intention of letting go.

Nor does the man who has begun to haunt Reena’s life—with taunting phone calls and a string of horrifying crimes. And as Reena tries desperately to trace the origins—of the calls, the fires, the hatred aimed in her direction—she will step into the worst inferno she has ever faced...

Editorial Reviews

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.
From the Publisher
“In typical Roberts style, she captivates readers with strong, likable characters. Her fans won’t be disappointed: Blue Smoke lures the reader in a quick-paced style that makes it impossible to put down.”—Richmond Times Dispatch

“Riveting…chilling.”—Oakland Press

“A book that binds you in its spell.”—The State (Columbia, SC)

“Classic Roberts.”—Library Journal

“When the pure talent gene was being doled out, Roberts got a double dose. This book is vintage Roberts, which means it's filled with witty dialogue, deft characterization and masterful storytelling. Romantic suspense in its purest form.”—RT Book Reviews

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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From the Publisher



“CLASSIC ROBERTS.”—Library Journal

Meet the Author

Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels. She is also the author of the bestselling In Death series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.

Brief Biography

Keedysville, Maryland
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Silver Spring, Maryland

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Blue Smoke 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 174 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

**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!
Beadgal64 More than 1 year ago
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 reviewers...it is a GREAT book and I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone!
Readaholic101 More than 1 year ago
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.
gnashj More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
JW58 More than 1 year ago
Nora Roberts' at her best. Intriquing and attention grabbing from the beginnng to the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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...
Guest More than 1 year ago
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 book...it'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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yet another awsome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read most of nora's books. This is one of my favorites
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read of Nora Roberts, and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to reading more of her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.