John J. Nance
Simon & Schuster, Nov 2003, 25.00, 368 pp.
Near West Yellowstone, Wyoming the fires are out of control. They threaten the two nearby popular National parks and the local populace. The National Forest Service is undermanned and the outlook is bleak. Air tanker fleet owner Jerry Stein knows they need more specialized help so he asks his friend former fire bomber pilot Clark Maxwell to join the fray, which he does.
Besides fighting the out of control fires, Clark must deal with seeing his personal “pinup girl” married smoke jumper Karen Jones. A pilot dies in a plane originally intended for Clark's use. A second pilot almost has his wings clipped in the same way. Fighting fire and his feelings for Karen, Clark finds time to investigate who and why someone is sabotaging the planes.
The action is hot and heavy as expected form a John J. Nance thriller, but the author also makes sure his key characters, especially the star, are fully understood. Clark is a strong protagonist, who struggles between his secret love and doing what he believes his right. The sabotage conspiracy seems a bit stretched, but then again in a world where jets crash into buildings perhaps not. Fans will enjoy this action-packed tale that brings alive the dangers of forest fire fighting.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner