Book Review: Night Smoke (Nora Roberts)

night smoke

Natalie Fletcher, the daughter of Fletcher industries, is as determined to make her new Lingerie stores a success as she is to prove that she can do the job as well, possibly better, than her brother Boyd would have if he hadn’t followed his passion to become a police man.

Natalie is called to the scene where her warehouse is burning down by a worried caretaker. She meets arson investigator Ryan Piasecki, who is blunt and irritates her immediately. The ex-firefighter finds it amusing that she thinks she can help at the scene, but quickly comes to respect her work ethics. Although he initially suspects Natalie of starting the fire to claim insurance, he realises she is innocent because another fire breaks out when she is having dinner with him, miles away.

Meanwhile, Ryan and Natalie start seeing each other outside of work and he has to start facing the facts that she is an heiress to an empire while he is merely a firefighter. Natalie is furious that Ryan would dare bring her financial situation in as a tool to break things off with her, and their prideful natures are soon constantly bumping heads.

Ryan intensifies his investigation after yet another fire, and finds a convicted pyromaniac living close by. Ryan still carries the scars from a fire Clarence Roberts started, so arresting him again brings the arson investigator great pleasure. Through skill and knowledge of his suspect, Ryan confirms his suspicions that a benefactor is paying Clarence to set the fires at Fletcher industries.

Who is financing these fires? Is it a personal vendetta or a competitor? Can Ryan save Natalie when someone is clearly out to destroy everything she has worked so hard for? Will their rocky relationship survive the last fire?

Rating: 7/10

Ah, Nora Roberts. Nora has been publishing books since 1981 and I would like to thank Nora for creating completely unrealistic ideas of men since 1981. I actually love it, even though I have ultimately accepted that no man can be blunt, straightforward, intense and yet utterly charming and in touch with his feelings at the same time. It is silly and unrealistic but hey, books are these things we read to escape from reality, and Ry Piasecki is sadly not in my reality. I liked him, found him fun, and yet could not help what would wonder here in 2014 if an Arson investigator kissed a potential suspect. A broken jaw and a lawsuit perhaps, but hopefully not an invitation into the bedroom.

Serial arsonists fascinate me on the same level that serial killers fascinate me. I can’t understand them so they are ultimately intriguing. I really like Chasing Fire and Blue Smoke more than this, two Roberts books that also deals with firefighters and arson, but this was not a bad addition to the Roberts collection. The book is well written and a quick read and I really had fun with it. My only pain was the floppy ending – it could have been more dramatic, it really felt like it flopped just a bit, and that the writer was tired and couldn’t care any less about it.

Recommendation: For fans