This was a good fast read. More a thriller than a mystery, as you end up knowing who's-doin-it pretty early on. Roberts did a good job with the research on fire and fire sciences.characters are really likeable, too. Big Italian restaurant family and friends. Made me want to eat a lot of pizza while I was reading.
Great thriller/suspense/romance from Roberts. Highly enjoyed. About an arson investigator and the people and catastrophe that follow her as she grows up.
Not one of her best books, but still enjoyable. Nora Roberts never disappoints - her books are always worth reading.
When Catarina "Reena" Hale was eleven years old, she watched with her family--father Gib, mother Bianca, sister Francesca, sister Isabella, and brother Xander--as their family business, Sirico's, burned to the ground. The case came to a swift conclusion, when the father of a boy who had attempted to assault Reena is picked up for arson. The family rebuilds their business, their family ties stay strong, and their love and respect in the neighborhood grows.
We fast-forward to Reena in college, where she's finally decided to lose her virginity to Josh, a fellow student who yearns to be a writer. After her sister Bella's dream wedding, Reena has sex with her boyfriend, returns home, and later discovers that Josh has died during a horrific apartment fire--after supposedly falling asleep in bed with a lit cigarette.
Again, fast-forward. Reena is still in training to become an arson investigator, her life-long dream. She's a member of the police force, has worked actual fires with her fellow firefighters, and now needs to finish her training. A firefighter she was thinking of dating dies in an apparent robbery, shot and left in his burning truck.
Still farther into the future, Reena is a full-fledged arson investigator, and tragedy finds her once again. Only days after earning her gold shield, Luke, a boyfriend whose marriage proposal she turned down, has his Mercedes burned sky-high, and of course Reena is the main suspect. After she's cleared, she's only more determined than ever to make fire her job--to find out who sets it, and why, and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Then she meets Bowen "Bo" Goodnight, her new next-door-neighbor, and feelings and emotions get jumbled up with the fires that seem to dog her every step. Because someone has made her their vendetta, and will stop at nothing to make sure that his own brand of justice is served.
I loved BLUE SMOKE! Although it took me four days to read, weighing in at 437 pages and spanning twenty years, the book is a wonderful mix of engaging family saga, taut police/arson procedural, and down and out thriller. I don't agree with the other reviewers who said this book was "horror" or that Ms. Roberts delved too deeply into the mind of the killer--most romantic suspense (and this is definitely one of those books) these days go more into the who, how, and why and less on the fluff. I commend Ms. Roberts for another winning story, one which I was sad to see end. I loved reading about the Hale family and their extended relations, and I'm sure you'll be as enthralled by them as I was.
**I have to also say that BLUE SMOKE reads a lot like Nora Robert's alter-ego, J.D. Robb, in a lot of instances. Some of the short sentences, rapid-pace dialogue, and out-loud ruminating are reminiscent of Eve Dallas, but that only adds to the allure of BLUE SMOKE, instead of taking away from it. Kudos on another winner!
I loved how Nora didn't make this a sole love story. It had real, mystery and suspense that some of her other novels lack.