Now, we all know I’m a blazing fan of Stephen King. I’ve said this fact a number of times in this blog. When I heard this new author, Joe Hill, was igniting the horror book world, I thought I would check him out. It wasn’t until much later that I learned the searing knowledge that Hill is King’s son. I have previously read NOS4A2 and liked it a lot, but it was truly a scorching, horrifying book. I needed a previous Goodreads Reader Choice winner for the book challenge, found The Fireman on my Kindle and chose it for the category.
I’m always curious how a title is chosen for a book. Is it a spark from the author’s mind or something just occurs naturally? Because the fireman isn’t even the main character in this story. The first character we meet is Harper, a nurse married to Jakob, living in a world where people are literally catching on fire thanks to a new fungus called Dragonscale. Preliminary investigation shows the ‘scale is ignited by your emotions. If you get scared, angry, upset poof. Combustion. Harper gets infected and gets pregnant, Jakob leaves her, tries to kill her, and in walks the fireman (also known as John) to help keep her from burning to death.
John takes her to an abandoned summer camp where the members have found a way to survive and not burn to death. They sing. The Dragonscale feeds on positive emotions as well, so singing unites the people, they begin to glow, and the ‘scale doesn’t harm them anymore. What’s more is some people can manipulate the fungus to their benefit, causing searing damage to those not infected. The main problem in the book is keeping Harper alive long enough to give birth, but there are many obstacles in her way, namely her husband, who isn’t infected but is still poisoned in his own way.
I couldn’t put this book down. Hill does a smoking great job of keeping you on the hook with Harper’s fate. And the ending doesn’t disappoint. I didn’t see it coming, either. So far, Hill is two for two in my book and I can’t wait to read more.