SMOKE JUMPERS by Brent Filson


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Straight off, Filson whooshes tough basketball ace Carla Vega from a high school cafeteria race riot in the East to her Uncle Manolo's California farm--and smack into a crashing chopper. No, it's not a crash, just a typical landing by barefoot pilot Lobo, one of several Viet vets Manolo has assembled to fight fires in the drought-ridden valley. But Manolo's barn is gone; there is gas in the basement; Carla suspects arson and says so. She wakes up the next morning to find the house on fire. Later she's fighting another blaze with the smoke jumpers and someone slams the hatch, trapping her in the chopper as flames approach. Then aloft, someone tries to push her out. At last, with another fire raging, attractive, rich, radical Jack Crater--""he was more amazing the more amzing he got""--takes her to a cliff top, declares his love, and tries to kill her openly. He's the arsonist and she knows too much. Carla loves him too and risks her life to save his, but clearly Jack is insane. And so (so?) a matured Carla returns East, determined to graduate. It seems that Filson's answer to the needs of poor readers is to put another kind of chopper to work on his prose. But no matter; the story rates a shredder.

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday