Vertical Burn Mass Market Paperback – 2 Apr 2003
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Top Customer Reviews
The story’s protagonist is John Finney, a fireman of considerable experience with the Seattle Fire Department. The book gets off to a furious start when Finney’s company is called out to a fire and when they arrive they are faced with a large building full of smoke with the possibility of victims trapped inside and no backup because all other crews are busy, called out to various alarms, both real and false. During their search of the building, Finney and his partner become trapped by a collapsed wall with the final result seeing Finney barely escape with his life, but his partner dying in the fire.
The fallout from this tragedy is substantial for Finney both emotionally and physically. Apart from losing his partner and mentor, he suffers some pretty serious burns from the fire, but worse, he knows that in the eyes of his fellow firemen he is to blame for his partner’s death. Due to memory loss thanks to the smoke inhalation he suffered, he can’t be sure himself whether or not he was to blame.
A second fire results in a similar outcome to the first.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This stand-alone novel is one of those books that will keep you reading well into the early hours of the morning, turning the pages and absorbing the details of the action as quickly as possible. It's literally a can't-put-down book.
Given his background as a firefighter, Emerson brings a vast wealth of knowledge to this tale of the youngest firefighter in the family who slowly realizes he is being framed to take the fall for starting several horrific fires, two of them resulting in the deaths of his partners at the time.
This is a meticulously well-plotted book (which explains why it was three years in the writing) with no strings left dangling; some mad and wicked and greedy villains and a climactic high-rise fire scene that will leave you breathless.
As always, Emerson writes with a certain lyricism and with no excess fat; his characters are fully developed with very real, very human strengths and weaknesses. The narrative pacing is in top gear all the way through. It is an enormously entertaining book, even if the conspiracy at its core is a tad hard to believe.
VERTICAL BURN is the ultimate in you-are-there suspense fiction. Although its premise seems almost unbelievably horrific in the abstract, Mr. Emerson's skillful craftsmanship...his superb pacing and vivid characterizations...quickly caught me up in the story that he had to tell and made me completely willing to suspend my own disbelief that such things actually could be and simply accept as real his world wherein they well might and apparently do happen. Especially set in juxtaposition to the events of 9/11, I found living in that world an immensely moving and enormously satisfying reading experience.
As for another reviewer's remark that Emerson wrote this book to cash in on 9/11, that's an unjustified accusation of his character. This book was probably already in the publisher's hands by 9/11, or near enough to, in order to be galleyed and proofed, and a book tour planned, for an April/May release.
I'm glad to see Emerson's publisher is finally throwing some weight into supporting one of his books. With a little PR this guy could be on the bestseller lists in another book or two. And IMHO, it's long overdue.