Vertical Burn Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Vertical Burn

Ballantine, Apr 2000, 24.95, 400 pp.
ISBN: 0345445899

    In Seattle, veteran firefighters John Finney and Bill Cordifies are searching for trapped people inside a nasty fire at Leary Way when a wall collapses. Bill is pinned under a segment of the wall so John goes after help. He finds Fire Chief Charlie Reese and firefighter Robert Kub. They follow John's directions, but return empty-handed. Afterward, Charlie tells the press that John panicked and said zilch to him about deserting his partner leaving him behind to die.
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    John is ostracized by just about everyone while Charlie is a hero. Every day for the next several months, John goes over what happened in that inferno and what he could have done differently. He concludes he did nothing wrong, and that the odious Charlie used the chaos at the scene to further his own career perhaps at the cost of Bill's life. Unless he can break Robert, John knows his chances of proof are slim while the odds of his remaining a pariah to his peers are a sure thing.

    When VERTICAL BURN follows John and Bill into the fire and its aftermath on the former, the novel is one of the best firefighting thrillers in several years. However, a well-written subplot involving a conspiracy slows down the insightful prime theme. Still John is a hero struggling with vindication for his character reminding the audience of a merging of the two brothers in the movie Turk 186. Earl Emerson is the duke of this sub-genre and his latest thriller proves how regal a writer he is.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Vertical Burn

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 70%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 10%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Legal Thriller    -   Yes Legal Plotlets    -   finding out whether someone is really guilty

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   champion of justice


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Pacific NW

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Vertical Burn

Earl Emerson Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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