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Fire Lover Mass Market Paperback – May 27, 2003


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reprint edition (May 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060095288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060095284
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

PRAISE FOR FIRE LOVER:“…lines converge in a sock-’em-between-the-eyes revelation…A barn burner.” (Arthur Salm, San Diego Union-Tribune)

About the Author

Joseph Wambaugh, a former LAPD detective sergeant, is the New York Times bestselling author of The Onion Field, The Blooding, The Choirboys, and many other fiction and nonfiction works. He has won a number of awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe award and the Rodolfo Walsh Prize for investigative journalism. He lives with his wife in California.


More About the Author

Joseph Wambaugh, a former LAPD detective sergeant, is the bestselling author of eighteen prior works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Choirboys and The Onion Field. Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times' said, "Joseph Wambaugh is one of those Los Angeles authors whose popular success always has overshadowed his importance as a writer. Wambaugh is an important writer not simply because he's ambitious and technically accomplished, but also because he 'owns' a critical slice of L.A.'s literary real estate: the Los Angeles Police Department -- not just its inner workings, but also its relationship to the city's political establishment and to its intricately enmeshed social classes. There is no other American metropolis whose civic history is so inextricably intertwined with the history of its police department. That alone would make Wambaugh's work significant, but the importance of his best fiction and nonfiction is amplified by his unequaled ability to capture the nuances of the LAPD's isolated and essentially Hobbesian tribal culture."
Understandably, then, Wambaugh, who lives in California, is known as the "cop-author" with emphasis on the former, since, according to him, most of his fantasies involve the arrest and prosecution of half of California's motorists. Wambaugh still prefers the company of police officers and interviews hundreds of them for story material. However, he is aghast that these days most of the young cops drink iced tea or light beer, both of which he finds exceedingly vile, causing him to obsessively fume with Hamlet that, 'The time is out of joint.' He expects to die in a road rage encounter. For more information please visit www.josephwambaugh.net or www.hollywoodmoon.com.

Customer Reviews

There is way, way too much filler about the trial.
LA Guy
Fans of true crime will want to read this account that never slows down as FIRE LOVER: A TRUE STORY is Mr. Wambaugh at his finest.
Harriet Klausner
I guess unavoidably then we don't really get to go inside his mind.
Rajan M.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Frederick A. Babb on April 29, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
John Orr was a firefighter by destiny but not desire. His hidden wish was to someday be a policeman, but that never came to be. So he followed into the firefighting world after spending his boyhood days filled with marveling at firefighters rushing to extinguish blazes in life risking manuevers. Those impressions led him to become a firefighter with the Glendale Fire Department when he became an adult.
While there, he quickly climbed the ranks until he reached fire captain. Along the way he gained the reputation of being Southern Cal's most famous and respected arson investigator as well as an author of firefighting articles which lead to a fact-based book of his own. A rather storybook tale of a perfect life.
As Orr's ego grew, he needed more. The oportunity arose when one arson continuously escape his grasps. The arsonist, using the same simple yet devastating device, was basically terrorizing the area and his frolicing left four innocent people dead as well as destroying millions of dollars in property damage as well as the damage to nature itself. As is often the case, this arsonist got comfortable and made a mistake after years of devastation. One precious clue was left behind and fell into the wrong hands. This clue would reveal the true identity of the cruel arsonist and the horrid facts behind his hobby.
Orr had created the fires to create fame for himself. His ego wanted, needed the limelight and he needed a nemisis uncatchable that would keep him in the public's eye. Sadly, his own desire for the ultimate reward was of little value in a firefighter world and beyond his grasp. Probably acknowledging this, he created his own fame through terror. John Orr was a firefighter that did not belong in that world.
The author does an excellent job on this story and tells it like it is. The court room part is a bit longwinded and boring, but reality isn't always excitement, as John Orr himself can tell you.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dave Schwinghammer VINE VOICE on May 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read all of Joseph Wambaugh's books, from THE NEW CENTURIONS to FIRE LOVER, and this was the least enjoyable.
FIRE LOVER probably doesn't measure up because there's not a whole lot of suspense. We know from the synopsis that arson investigator John Orr may have been the most notorious arsonist since Nero. Orr was a brazen offender, setting fires in the middle of the day when customers were in the stores, leading to the death of four at Ole's Home Center in South Pasadena. But he makes one big mistake, leaving his fingerprint on yellow legal paper that was used, along with a cigarette, a rubber band and three matches, to start a fire similar to the one at Ole's Home Center. The fingerprint was almost ignored because of the jealousy between firemen and police arson investigators.
Much of the book involves courtroom gymnastics. There are so many closing statements that you tell yourself, "this must be the last one." But you're wrong. There are more of them during the penalty phase and Wambaugh cites them all, practically verbatim.
Wambaugh is also famous for his irreverent narrative tone. This works in CHOIRBOYS, where we assume the narrator is a man in blue, but here he's supposed to be an objective journalist. He refers to jurors, lawyers, and judges as "...strange fish that lazily glide, blowing gas bubbles that pop ineffectually on the surface of the litigation tanks in which they live and breed." He likes this strange fish motif so much he uses it over and over again.
All of this said, I'm still looking forward to Wambaugh's next fictional tome. It seems an eternity since FLOATERS.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on May 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As a child in Los Angeles, John Orr revered firefighters watching them as if he was sitting in front of a TV set. He relished the way the firefighter risked his or her life in the line of duty. As a young adult, John joined the Glendale, California Fire Department and quickly became one of the best. Over time, he became a fire captain and eventually an arson investigator highly regarded by his peers as one of the foremost experts.

John also moonlighted as an arsonist who remained undetectable for years and whose fires killed four people and caused millions of dollars in damage. When he finally made an error and was caught, the entire firefighting community refused to believe that one of their heroes could be a serial arsonist.

The hardest thing about this true-life crime biography is that it is true crime caused by someone whose dangerous occupation most people respect even more so after 9/11. So chilling is this account this reviewer keeps wanting to paraphrase an old horror movie ad that it's only a book. However, Joseph Wambaugh brings the fiery duality of his subject vividly alive so that the reader observes a criminal considered by the FBI as "the most prolific American arsonist of the twentieth century". Fans of true crime will want to read this account that never slows down as FIRE LOVER: A TRUE STORY is Mr. Wambaugh at his finest.

Harriet Klausner
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Howard on June 21, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is right up there with THE ONION FIELD as a Wambaugh non-fiction book. Very interesting reading about a firefighter who was also a serial arsonist. Got a little long in the court room section of the book but other than that I found it very compeling. Wambaugh is always a great read.
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