Score: 93/100 (9.3 out of 10)
Finally someone wrote a solid novel that celebrates the brave, courageous, hard-working men and women who risk their lives fighting fires around the world.
Firefighters (yes, even volunteer ones) don't get enough credit or attention. There are countless books about police officers and soldiers, but what about firefighters?
Prometheus' Gift is a mystery thriller that surrounds a suspicious fire (the “Simpson Fire”) that is determined to have taken the life of at least one person. The book follows Bill, a lead firefighter caught in the middle the drama that results from the grizzly discovery. His senior is Frank, whose wife, Dora, is the beloved waitress at the local restaurant, but is terminally ill with cancer. It also follows Walt, the chief of police and highly experienced investigator who is able to determine the suspicious cause of the fire, which appears to be arson.
Later parts of the book focus on Mac, a young FBI agent who is recruited as a mole to report on the ongoing investigation to unscrupulous entities working for the mob in the agency.
The most prominent of these unscrupulous entities in the FBI is Ricardo, a character who will definitely get under the readers' skins with how abrasive and corrupt he is.
Speaking of the mob (“the Family”), they're major players in the events transpiring in this book. In fact, the granddaughter of the mob boss, Diana, becomes a central character in her own right, the target for assassination in the middle of an apparent power struggle within the organization. One of the most terrifying members working for the Family is Elmo, an enforcer who is infamous for his ruthless, kill-crazy nature. Whenever the Family wants someone to disappear, Elmo is the first person they call.
There's also Anita, a blonde-haired, green-eyed bombshell married to Bill, who cheers him on during this arduous predicament.
In an interesting twist, this book also prominently features the arsonist himself—often just called “the Burner”—who we progressively learn is a pyromaniac with a very troubled and oddly sympathetic past. The Burner is arguably the most interesting character in the entire book. It was interesting to learn more about this person who is complicit in conspiracy to commit murder. We learn about his upbringing, his schooling, his fascination with starting fires and in figuring out technology (like drones), seeing it as one of his few outlets for self-expression and impacting the world. We also learn that he acquired a Catholic faith from being in boarding school (or possibly from his abusive religious father), and that the murders that he's involved with weigh on his conscience. He even goes to Catholic confessional to express his guilt.
This is a really interesting book with a lot of fascinating perspectives. Now, we were slightly disappointed that the attention strayed away from the firefighters and became more like a typical gangster/detective mystery story. This book that seemed very grounded eventually started to feature things like shootouts and bazookas, something out of an action movie or a comic book.
In any case, this is a really good and solid book that's worthy of your consideration.
Check it out on Amazon!