HOTSHOTS by Judith Van Gieson


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 Furious with grief after her daughter Joni and eight other Duke City Hotshots died fighting a blaze in South Canyon, Nancy Barker wants Albuquerque lawyer Neil Hamel to sue the Forest Service for negligence (inadequate rest and preparation, no weather reports or helicopter surveillance). Her husband Eric's not so sure; after all, more money won't bring back Joni. In the hope of helping them make up their minds, Joni's boyfriend, Hotshot Mike Marshall, offers to take Neil and the Barkers back to the Canyon on a day when the windy weather will approximate conditions during the fire. Horrified, Neil watches another fire spring up in the same way as the first, killing unsympathetic Forest Service spokesperson Tom Hogue and leaving Neil to be rescued by Joni's friend Ramona Franklin, still another Hotshot. Who set South Canyon Two? Neil worries that it might be one of her clients--``Nancy had the rage to start a fire; Eric had the skill''--and worries even more that it might be Ramona, the woman she owes her life to. But nearly everyone in the tightly wound cast--angry environmentalists, overinsured homeowners, firefighters whose recommendations the Service ignored--has a reason for seeing South Canyon burn. Neil's seventh features magnificent backcountry landscapes, all-too-believable fights over their use and protection, and intelligent work by its savvy heroine (Parrot Blues, 1995, etc.). Only the perfunctory mystery itself disappoints. (Regional author tour)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-06-017512-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1996


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