From Publishers Weekly
Romantic suspense queen Roberts (Blue Dahlia
, etc.) lights up Baltimore's Little Italy with this appealing story of love, family, food and arson. Eleven-year-old Reena Hale, watching her family's restaurant go up in flames, decides to become an arson investigator. The fire shapes another child's destiny, too, as Joey Pastorelli sees his father go to prison for setting the blaze. Reena's close-knit Italian family rebuilds; Reena grows up and completes police and firefighter training. Despite inheriting her mother's good looks, Reena proves unlucky in love, mainly because her beaux tend to die in fires, but her fortunes look up after she meets hunky carpenter Bo Goodnight. Bo gets along with Reena's family, friends and co-workers, and handles the demands of her career with patient humor, so nothing stands in their way—except an obsessed, pyromaniac stalker determined to kill any man Reena loves. Although it does take Reena an inordinately long time to identify her nemesis, Roberts portrays investigative procedure more accurately than her many imitators. Well-sketched supporting characters with potential subplots of their own suggest that the prolific Roberts will put her feet to the fire again. Main selection, the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club
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A lot of hard work is involved in becoming an arson investigator for the Baltimore Police Department, but Catarina "Reena" Hale believes it's worth it. There is nothing she enjoys more than the unique challenges involved in discovering the reasons someone would commit arson. The only thing that Reena doesn't like is that it is extremely tough to find a man willing to accept her crazy schedule and -danger-filled job. Now, just when it seems that she has met a man--her new next-door neighbor, carpenter Bowen Goodnight--willing to accept her for who she is and what she does, Reena begins receiving anonymous calls from someone threatening to use fire to destroy everyone Reena holds dear. Roberts effectively opens the mind of her twisted villain to readers to create suspense, but she balances these violent scenes with equally powerful scenes of love and family as Reena gets the support she needs to defeat a sociopath, whose capacity for evil knows no bounds. Blue Smoke
is another of Roberts' riveting combinations of danger and romance. John CharlesCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved