There is only one complaint to be made of this book: The picture on the dustjacket. Instead of a photograph of someone dressed in fireman's gear, there should have been a photograph of the building described in the narrative, an enormous building with no windows, no easy paths, and, once it caught fire, no mercy. It became a monster which took the lives of six firemen.
Sean Flynn does a great job in telling this story. The book is relatively short, but Flynn does not shortchange the reader. You turn the pages fast as Flynn provides brisk views of the firemen he writes about, giving us the flavor of their family lives and their personal ambitions, and then rushing on into the action and tragedy that are the centerpieces of the book.
This is a true story, but Flynn writes as if it were a novel, letting us know what people were thinking and saying in a terrible situation. He is able to do this because he has researched the story so well. (It began as a story for Esquire magazine.)
The descriptions of the desperate attempts to save the six firemen who became lost in the mazes of the fiery Worcester Cold Storage building are some of the best true-life action sequences you are likely to encounter in a book. Flynn describes the aftermath of the fire eloquently, relating the sorrow, guilt, and pride felt by the surviving firefighters, and just as important, the heartbreak of the families the heroes left behind.
Before the Worcester Cold Storage building ever caught fire, one of the firemen in this book looked at the towering thing, imagined it on fire, and said, "Bad Building." It seems he was right.
Bad building. Hell of a good book.