Initially the story is disjointed due to the chapters being told from different characters' viewpoints, but after getting a feel for the main characters the story is engrossing.
This was my first read by this author and I found it a great page turner, hard to put down.
I loved this book, but then, I am a retired firefighter, so I seem to be interested in most arson books. Being a female firefighter (one of the so called "pioneers" in the field), I was particulary pleased to see there were female firefighters portrayed in the story.
Pyro is a stand-alone suspense novel that takes place in and around a fire station. Unlike Smoke Room, the story has multiple narrators and a more widely focused plot that, while still suspenseful, doesn't reach the claustrophobic, near unbearable, oh-my-god-how-is-he-going-to-get-out-of-this levels that Smoke Room did.
There's a nuisance arsonist plaguing the area around Seattle's Station Six, driving all the firefighters mad with multiple nightly calls, but Lt. Paul Wolff has a special hatred for the perpetrator as his father was killed in an arson fire when he was just a kid, and his surviving family went on a downward spiral that they still feel the effects of--Paul may be the "success story" of the family, with an alcoholic murdered mother and a brother in prison, but he's still dangerously unstable emotionally, even if he keeps it well under wraps.
The arsonist's attention seems to be more and more personal, though, seeming to center on Station Six and possibly even on Paul Wolff. The unthinkable slowly begins to seem possible--is this arsonist the very same one who took the life of his father and is now knowingly toying with him? And if he is, what will Wolff do if and when the man is caught?
Emerson, a professional firefighter himself, fills the book with authentic details of firefighting techniques and every day station life and politics that add a dimension to the story beyond the mere suspense plot, and that's one of the things that has attracted me to his books. In Pyro, the narration moves from Wolff to other characters, most notably a female trainee under him who is doing her best to prove her worth and get through her probationary period, but who is being plotted against by supervisors without her knowledge. This plot was almost as intriguing to me as the main story and made me wonder what the inspiration for it might have been in Emerson's real life career.