Select one of the keywords
Blue Smoke    by Nora Roberts order for
Blue Smoke
by Nora Roberts
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Catarina Hale is the youngest daughter of a close-knit Italian American family, for whom love, strong family ties and good food are the mainstay. Reena's parents run Sirico's, a pizzeria in the heart of Little Italy, Baltimore. When eleven-year-old Reena has a run-in with neighborhood bully Joey Pastorelli, her father is quick to discuss the matter with Joey's dad. When Siroco’s is gutted by fire, the evidence clearly points to the elder Pastorelli as the one responsible. The night her family's business is destroyed is the same night Reena discovers her own fascination for fire. She vows to understand and master the destructive force. Before her thirtieth birthday, she becomes a fire investigator with the Baltimore arson unit.

Her professional life may be going great guns, but her love life is constantly going up in flames. No less than three of the men with whom she has relationships die either as a direct or indirect result of fire. Eventually she meets carpenter Bo Goodnight, who himself has been searching for his 'Dream Girl' since the night he caught a glimpse of the dark haired beauty at a college dorm party. Now that she's living right next door, he has no intention of letting her out of his sight again. Reena wants to take things slowly, even though he gets along just fine with her family, who are quick to encourage her to 'marry the boy!'. Bo makes it easy for Reena to fall in love and she's convinced that this time nothing will stand in the way of her happiness. But an obsessed pyromaniac has other ideas and once again sets his sights on the man Reena loves.

In many of her previous suspense tales, Roberts keeps the identity of the bad guy under wraps throughout most of the book. This time however, there's no such surprise - readers know early on who the 'fire bug' is. Roberts fills the pages with her trademark characters (most notably plenty of strong-willed women). She also sketches good procedural and investigative scenes that show just how dangerous - and sometimes deadly - firefighting can be. The rest of the story turns out to be more predictable than usual (readers might wonder why it takes Reena and her counterparts so long to zero in on her nemesis), but overall Blue Smoke is vintage Nora Roberts and well worth reading.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Romance books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews