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American Fire

Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
Narrated by: Tanya Eby
Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
4 out of 5 stars (334 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Shocked by a five-month arson spree that left rural Virginia reeling, Washington Post reporter Monica Hesse drove down to Accomack County to cover the trial of Charlie Smith, who pled guilty to 67 counts of arson. But Charlie wasn't lighting fires alone: he had an accomplice - his girlfriend, Tonya Bundick. Through her depiction of the dangerous shift that happened in their passionate relationship, Hesse brilliantly brings to life the once-thriving coastal community and its distressed inhabitants, who had already been decimated by a punishing economy before they were terrified by a string of fires they could not explain.

Incorporating this drama into the long-overlooked history of arson in the United States, American Fire re-creates the anguished nights that this quiet county spent lit up in flames, mesmerizingly evoking a microcosm of rural America - a land half gutted before the fires even began.

©2017 Monica Hesse (P)2017 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting read

Interesting read , hard to believe its true . Not for those looking for beautiful prose or to get swept away to another land by a narrative this is not your book. Nevertheless the Author does a good job to give adequate background and provide enough background about the characters thst you feel like you know them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting Story- Narrator very difficult to listen to

I really liked the arc of the story- alternating between past and present until the two stories collide. The narrator speaks in a very choppy intonation that makes it hard to listen to, but worth the story if you can get passed the first few chapters and get used to it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Truth is always stranger than fiction

If you didn't know this was a true story, you'd think it was a very unlikely piece of fiction. Very interesting tale presented in an interesting way.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

As an Eastern Shore person, I was keen to

read this story as it unfolded in my neighborhood.

The story is good and well researched and well-written. My only negatives were several misspelled place names and the butchering of place names the reader managed.

Still, a good read.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Vanilla telling of what most people know already

This book was simplistic. Maybe that is it's meaning. It was predictable and bland. The reading was close to awful. Not worth your time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Boring

How am author and reader can take an interesting story and make it tedious is remarkable

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good book, Bad Reader

This sounded as if it was read by a robot. She. Pronounced. Every. Word. With. No. Emotion. Siri would have done a better job.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Narration is horrible

If you want to hear Siri read you a book, then this is the book for you! The story is good but the narration is hard to overcome.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Lack of Passion

Monica Hesse writes fine but does it without passion. The book reads blandly and without luster. It goes on too long lasting into how the jury was selected and harping on how love NOT sex is the reason for all the supposed mayhem. I bought into none of it. Oddly, The Edgar Awards nominated this book as part of its final selections under Best Fact Crime. Wow. It pales in comparison to true crime novel The Man From The Train by Bill James and his daughter Rachell James. I respectfully suggest James's book over Hesse's book. Merry Christmas to all. Regards, James

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Good story but boring writing

This author managed to make a very interesting event and make it boring. If this was written by someone like Erik Larsen, it would have been great.