Hallie's Reviews > Fireproof

Fireproof by Alex Kava
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Aug 23, 12

Read in August, 2012

Special Agent Maggie O’Dell is that familiar tough female survivor, more and more featured in crime novels. In “Fireproof,” Alex Kava’s 10th series novel, O’Dell gets drawn into an investigation of serial arson when bodies are discovered in the wake of a warehouse fire in Washington, D.C. Soon there are more fires with more murders.

Maggie “chase[s] killers for a living,” and sometimes to catch them she has to “crawl inside their heads, walk around in their skin.” To maintain her own sanity she’s learned to “compartmentalize.” But her ability to maintain her distance is eroded by a recent brush with death, her divorce, and the death of her mentor. Her partner, the edgy Julia Racine, is no help. To Maggie, Racine is reckless and all too willing to take risks to get a result. A pair of local TV news reporters seem bent on making Maggie and her family the focus of their ratings-grabbing investigative reporting. On top of that, Maggie is being watched by a creepy and particularly sadistic serial killer who “liked strong women. He particularly liked to hear them scream.” No wonder she’s having trouble sleeping.

Arson, serial killings with mutilation — it’s strong stuff. For the reader who wants a fast read, Kava’s short scenes with cliffhanger endings are spot on. Multiple viewpoints amp the suspense, but also occasionally spoil what’s coming. An unlikely hero emerges, television reporter Samantha Ramirez, whom many readers will want to see more of. At the end, Kava leaves a major plot thread dangling — to be picked up, we hope, in the sequel.

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