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
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.
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.
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.
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
“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