A Massachusetts firefighter injured on the job finds new purpose as an arson investigator and discovers that looking for the sources of fires can be just as dangerous as trying to put them out.
The daughter and sister of legendary New Brunswick firefighters, Anne Ashburn grew up struggling to prove she was tough enough to be one herself. After finally making it, it’s the very thing she loves that ends her career: A routine fire goes rogue, trapping Anne and forcing her on-again, off-again crush, Danny Maguire, to amputate her hand in order to save her life. While Anne recovers—conveniently quickly for a narrative paced like a soapy TV drama—Danny, who’s also injured in the blaze, tumbles down a wormhole of undiagnosed PTSD and heavy drinking. Anne takes her position as arson investigator seriously, linking several warehouse fires to a big-shot Boston developer with ties to the department and a violent streak. Meanwhile, Danny pines for Anne, renovates an old house, and puts his life on the line, like far too many characters before him who should have “I’m Damaged and Have Nothing To Lose” tattooed across their chests. Ward (The Thief, 2018, etc.), known best for her Black Dagger Brotherhood series, relies on double-entendre instead of realistic dialogue and stock characters in place of complicated people in a dangerous profession.
For a story centered around flames, there is no spark between the characters.