THE SMOKE ROOM (Suspense-Seattle-Cont) - VG Emerson, Earl – Standalone
Ballantine, 2005-Hardcover

Jason Gun is a young firefighter who makes dumb mistakes. Missing a call because he's having sex in the basement of the firehouse proves to be more than dumb; it's disastrous as it places his career, and other people's lives, in the hands of his fellow firefighters.

With a smashing beginning, literally, Emerson has written a very effective tale of a young man whose passivity costs others their lives and nearly destroys his own. At the same time, he is caring and heroic and what he lacks in decisiveness, he makes up for in convection. Jason is a fully drawn, very human character, and it's interesting watching his growth. A diverse supporting cast, and good dialogue and suspense enhance the story, which is also a study of the power of greed. I stopped reading Emerson for a while, as I wanted him to give me more from his writing. This definitively puts him back on my author list.

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