Alpha-female Rowan Tripp works as a personal trainer in Montana until fire season begins each year. Then her life is lived on campus with a bunch of other super-fit, adrenaline junkies known as smokejumpers. These are the people who jump from planes into burning landscapes to fight and control fires that threaten to wipe out entire national parks and the like. Rowan’s a little preoccupied this season as she is still processing the tragic death of her former jump partner, Jim, which occurred on her watch the previous year. Luckily, a rookie called Gull arrives to take her mind off things. He’s tall, handsome, strong, and fast (is probably fresh from the fight) and is generally very manly.
Up to this point, it’s looking like a nice romantic tale with a bit of forest fire drama thrown in to spice things up. Then Roberts adds in a few nasty murders (charred remains and that type of CSI carry-on) and the story turns into a pretty decent thriller.
Special mentions are deserved for Dolly, a vicious unhinged bitch of a character, and the heartbreakingly cute relationship that develops between Rowan’s father, Lucas ‘Iron Man’ Tripp, and schoolteacher, Ella.
Roberts is a bona fide bestselling author, also writing under the pseudonym J. D. Robb. She has written over 150 New York Times bestsellers to date. I imagine her editors warmly receiving her manuscripts, dollar signs in their eyes.
The verdict? Another page-turner from Roberts. While the dialogue is often cheesy, the plot and pace never falter.