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Publisher's Summary

From the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman.

The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it's Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies - before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she's discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: They would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob's dismay, Harper wants to live - at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine, too...if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads - armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn't as alone as she fears: A mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow firefighter's jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as the Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted...and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman's secrets before her life - and that of her unborn child - goes up in smoke.

©2016 Joe Hill (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,964
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    1,624
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    620
  • 2 Stars
    221
  • 1 Stars
    113

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    3,544
  • 4 Stars
    1,121
  • 3 Stars
    385
  • 2 Stars
    91
  • 1 Stars
    52

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    2,708
  • 4 Stars
    1,403
  • 3 Stars
    650
  • 2 Stars
    266
  • 1 Stars
    151
Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Why the politics

What disappointed you about The Fireman?

All of the little political jabs. It was obvious where the authors beliefs were and I just dont like that in a book. If you want to be political make up some names.

What was most disappointing about Joe Hill’s story?

All of the little political jabs.

Which character – as performed by Kate Mulgrew – was your favorite?

Didnt get far enough into the story to find out. I quit.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Fireman?

Any reference to politics, or any real life names of politicians, news reporters, radio talk show host.

Any additional comments?

I had high hopes but its hard for me to like characters when I get a bunch of subtle paper cuts from the author about their obvious political leanings. I read fiction to get away from real life people. I would prefer made up people for the entire book unless its some kind of historical fiction. I admit that ended listening to it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Carla
  • Oxnard, CA
  • 03-07-18

I couldn’t finish this one!

I’ve tried three separate times to finish this one. I just can’t!! It’s moving way too slow for me. I’ve read a few of Joe Hill’s other novels and have liked them.
I rated this one based on the few chapters I did make it through.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

don't waste your time.........pointless. wordy.

skipped half. awful. sexist. If they said spoke with his hands one more time. we know it's sign.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

Still not done

Frankly I pulled the pin on this audio book. Narration was good, but the story was painfully slow. Too much introspection and not enough action for me.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

garbage book.

hated every moment of this stupid book. Joe Hill is such an obvious dweeb. Giving your characters a pop culture reference every 3 minutes is his idea of character development. hope you like classic rock.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

A good story buried in cliché

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

The base story is good however it's encased with cliché character dialog that bordered on grating. Hill tries too hard to insert pop-culture references accompanied with "golly-gee-whiz" character dialog in an effort to build character depth that makes for some cringe-worthy passages. The antagonist's character is way over the top with predictable and lazy traits intended to build a villain that instead makes Jacob feel like a cartoon character. I feel Hill got bored at the end and just gave up trying to make the tale exciting, ending it with a an easy sentimental ploy.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Less kitsch and more exploration of the apocalyptic universes, lackadaisical character development.

Would you be willing to try another one of Kate Mulgrew’s performances?

Mulgrew's narration made the cartoonish characters even more over-the-top and frankly almost convinced me to abandon the book altogether.

Was The Fireman worth the listening time?

About half the time perhaps.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

Political comments..No thanks!

Authors should keep their politically motivated comments to themselves. Does not help the story, only alienates readers; perhaps intentionally. Great reading by Kaye Mulgrew.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • adam
  • SAINT GEORGE, UTAH, United States
  • 01-19-17

turds on wheels

please stop writing the same crap. S. king should sue his son for plagiarism. loved the stand, hate most new King work. only a young teenager would buy this cheeseball writing, however no teenage could with stand the length of this drivel.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

What disappointed you about The Fireman?

I appreciate a novelist creating a strong female heroine, especially when parts of the story read like an action hero story. But an 9 month pregnant action hero that does not ever go into labor? Running, jumping, explosions, walking dozens of miles? Come on - worse than Mission Impossible.
Additionally, multiple story types were used at the same time, and it just did not work. Science fiction, fantasy adventure, action, post apocalypse, etc. Too much all at once.
The never die bad guys were Terminator style.

Would you ever listen to anything by Joe Hill again?

Wont be rushing into it. This was my second read from him - the first was a completely shameful ripoff from his father, including setting, characters, and references to many King books and characters. I was hoping it was a fluke, but there were a few in this book as well, not to mention terrible writing, way too many words, and poor character development.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I have listened to one other book with Kate Mulgrew as a narrator. I am a fan of her acting but not as a narrator. She doesn't do voices well, and her inflections are poor. It was hard to get through.

What character would you cut from The Fireman?

Many characters could have been cut.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

Not what I thought

What did you like best about The Fireman? What did you like least?

This started out ok. Unknown "pandemic" keep me interested until about the middle of the book. Then all of sudden this seemed to turn into lost. Weird happenings, side stories. I'd return the book but I listened to it in full so I'd feel bad.

Would you ever listen to anything by Joe Hill again?

Not if the books are anything like The Fireman

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Narrator did good.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

definitely would not go see this as movie. If I got free tickets maybe.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful