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SMOKE EATERS by Christine Andreae

SMOKE EATERS

by Christine Andreae

Pub Date: March 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-312-25206-4
Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur

There’s a monster fire at Justice Peak, Montana, and it belongs to Matty McCullough. Three years after she qualified for

high command, the powers that be have finally, in her phrase, let her off the bench. Firefighters who are also women have it easier these days than they used to, Matty knows, but that doesn’t mean the glass ceiling is the stuff of history. Still, at last the opportunity is hers, and she’s determined to shine. Matty is savvy, brave, and, more than most, well-informed about her business. Unfortunately, there are hidden factors at work at Justice Peak, where obsession and perverted fantasizing easily lead to murder and arson. Camouflaged by his position as a trusted member of Matty’s staff, a dangerously clever sociopath plots revenge for crimes that never happened. And there are other factors—less bizarre, but no less complicating. Matty’s young and headstrong firefighter son is at Justice Peak, too, and chafing under his mom's command until the fire breaks loose, becoming a rampaging enemy, killing with all the brutal efficiency of a sneak attack. Did it really have inside help? Matty commits herself to finding out. A bit heavy on the job-related lore, but fine storytelling. After three creditable Lee Squires novels (A Small Target, 1996, etc.), Andreae takes a giant step forward with her appealing ‘smoke eater’: tenderhearted and womanly, tough-fibered and

competitive.