Book Review: Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts

chasing fire nora roberts Book Review: Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts

I know I lost some major reviewer credit when I admitted my love for Texan cowboy romances, and now that Im about to admit my soft spot for fire-fighters, no doubt Im about to drop a little further in your estimation. But admit it, who doesnt love a fire-fighter? (Er, and if my fiance is reading this, I find the rounded paunch and pasty skin of a software programmer very sexy, too).

Rowan Tripp is a smoke jumper, which means she spends her days leaping from planes and battling bushfires, and her nights recovering from the trauma by drinking a heck of a lot of tequila (as an aside, Im always amazed by anyone who has the stomach for tequila past the age of about 20). Ros tough, sexy, and fearlessbut perhaps not quite as fearless as she was last season, before her jumping partner pulled the wrong toggle on his parachute and burned up.

Ordinarily Ros attitude would be something along the lines of, unable to stand the heat? Outta the fire. But shes haunted by the event, her dreams full of (prophetic) nightmares, and her fire-jumping mojo a bit shaken. And when tough-talkin, good-lookin, arcade-ownin (erm) Gulliver Curry (okay, the fiance laughed aloud at that name, and rightly so) arrives on the scene, shes thrown for sure. Ro doesnt date guys on the team, ever.

Ros romantic troubles arent the only issues shes facing, though. Someones out to take down her team, and subtlety certainly isnt part of their vocabularywere talking pigs blood, drive-by shootings and parachute slashings here. And to top things off, Ros bachelor dad has gone and found himself a girlfriend. No wonder Ros having trouble sleeping.

I suspect that Chasing Fire'is the kind of novel that will divide readers. Those after a novel thats heavy on the romance may find the smoke-jumping side of things tiresome and drawn out, while those after a novel thats heavy on the action may find themselves spinning their wheels a little as Gull and Ro participate in the dance of abstinence versus hedonic hell-yeah!, which is a dance that to be honest takes up quite a bit of page space without really going anywhere. (But, then, goodness, theres a marriage proposal? You what?) The mystery, too, is a little on the weaker side, with the murder easily picked within the first couple of pages of the novel, meaning that the reader has to mentally scream look behind you! for four hundred pages.

Robertss laconic style is no doubt something that will have its lovers and its haters (I suspect Nalini Singh may have been a tad inspired by Nora), but the dialogue does become challenging at times. Its not that its not engagingRobert is all about quips, one-liners and snarkbut that each characters voice gradually merges into the white noise of snarky saminess. In the case of Ro and Gull, however, these character similarities arent limited just to the dialogue, and the two are essentially clones of each other but with different genitalia.

Other than the fact that Gull is a millionaire from owning a gaming arcade (sorry, had to throw that in again), oh, and that he mentions Ethan Frome'in passing in conversation, he and Ro are just as tough, blokey, and endlessly horny as each other'(really, sex in the middle of a bushfire after 18 hours on the clock? Either Im getting old, or thats entirely unfathomable) . The progression of their relationship didnt quite work for me, either, particularly as were told flat-out at the beginning of the novel that Ro doesnt date other smoke-jumpers, and as a result the final scene felt horribly rushed.

Personal distate for smart-mouthed, tequila-shooting, alpha-inclined main characters aside, though, I enjoyed'Chasing Fire. Yes, both the mystery and romance elements are roughly as tidy as Ro after two (two!) bottles of tequila, but the intriguing setting and the secondary charactersparticularly Ros dad and his new girlfriend Ellakept me quite happily turning the pages.

Rating: ????? (very good)

Purchase Chasing Fire from Amazon | Book Depository UK | Book Depository USA | Booktopia

With thanks to Hachette Australia for the review copy.

Your turn: fire-fighters or cowboys? Discuss.

Other books by Nora Roberts:

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