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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

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This was a miss for Mr. Hill. He had plenty of pop culture from my age and I liked the references to Ray Bradbury. I was kinda of wondering why someone of his age would be enthralled with Mary Poppins? It is going to take more than a spoon full of sugar to get through this, as the book, smolders more than burns..

Mulgrew, like usual was a plus. She is one of my favorites.

114 of 132 people found this review helpful

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Can't fathom why anyone didn't like this book

Now, I would like to say I was hesitant to buy this due to the bad reviews. I am very glad I went on my instinct and bought it. I didn't find anything boring or confusing about this, and I actually love the character development was pretty good. Of course it's not perfect, nothing ever is, Who cares. I still think a lot of people would like this, and whoever said it was like the stand, why? It has the same basic premise, but that's it. It's a totally different book with a totally different feel. I read both, and like this better. I keep thinking, if this is Joe Hills worst, what is his best? I can't wait to find out

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Excellent listening experience

I realize it’s unfair to compare Hill to his famous father, but I find it impossible not to, having been a King fan forever. Hill does not suffer in comparison at all. He’s a great storyteller, and has a deft way with language/descriptions. This is an imaginative post-apocalyptic tale with a lot of heart-definitely character driven, but the premise is pretty scientifically solid as well, something I think is underrated in post-apoc stories in general.

I was unsure about Mulgrew as a narrator, at first. Although I loved her Captain Janeway, I didn’t think her voice was one I’d want to listen to for hours in end. I was SO wrong. She did an amazing job of differentiating the character voices and the performance was overall very subtlety wonderful. There were a couple of spots that were oddly “shout-y” but otherwise I enjoyed it immensely. Highly recommended!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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This book had great potential, the premise of the the story was really good but unfortunately the author just fell short. I thought that the narrator did a great job but the writing style killed the story.

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Missing something...

I tried, I really did. More than half way through and although I really wanted to like it, this is one of the few books that I will put back on the shelf and maybe look to finish another day.

The story, the characters just did not engage me and I have been disappointed.

17 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Read Steven king's the Stand instead

Would you try another book from Joe Hill and/or Kate Mulgrew?

Maybe if available at the library.

Any additional comments?

Maybe it's better to read then listen to this audio book?

I loved the author's previous book. While it was clear he was inspired by Steven King in his earlier work, it didn't jar you out of the story as much as this book. So if you loved The Stand, you'll like this book (maybe). As long as the blatant rip off of plot devices or characters doesn't bother you. It's not plagerism, it's not homage, it's just obnoxious. For examples, see the bottom of this review.

Aside from this, the absence of consistent world building was jarring. I was intrigued at the concept (the infection itself was pretty original). But that's where it ends. The post-infection world was 2-dimensional. For example, a year after the world fell apart, an important scene was premised on both the "911" system still functioning normally, and that the system would send an ambulances on the word of someone saying, "I'm not infected." Also there aren't any people unless directly related to the action. It reminded me of the scene in Truman where action is only where Truman is, and everything outside of that scene doesn't exist. Several times the plot relied on cell phones still functioning when there was no electricity for months. In addition there was a jarring lack of character motivation. I kept waiting for an explanation of why several characters personalities changed radically. (This might be worse in the audible version). My final example is the complete "blind faith" that the island is a haven, not one character voices hesitation in going there (until they are already there.) . Have they ever read a book or seen a movie about governments rounding up infecteds? In a world where "cremation" teams exist, it is unbelievable that they could travel hundreds of miles without major interruptions.

Okay- similarities with the Stand
Both books are post apocalyptic after an infection spreads across the world.
Both books have a deaf mute character named nick;
Both books have a pregnant heroine, and there is a question whether the baby will be infection free
Both pregnant heroines find a love interest that is not the baby's father;
Both books rely on survivors making their way to a semi-godlike safe haven.
Both books have the safe-haven leader being in a coma, waking briefly and passing on vital information and then dying
Both books have a "long walk" portion where our heroes have to walk hundreds of miles
Both treks include a domesticated animal;
Both books have 1 of the group getting seriously hurt on the way;
Both books use the phrase "my life for you"
Both books have characters who are originally in a jail and the "locked up and how they got free" story;
Both books (as do many King books) have a human character gone "crazy" and trying to kill our Heroes (There is NO explanation for Jacob going homicidal psychopath).
I could go on

54 of 77 people found this review helpful

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I'm glad others like it, but........just not me

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

I liked the narration, well done by Ms. Mulgrew. The story line started out well, but then fizzled and just dragged on and on with not much happening. Very little suspense. Harper will not be one of my favorite heroines. Well, to be honest maybe it did get better but I could not continue listening as my mind just kept wandering. I made it halfway and quit. I loved Nosferatu and Heart Shaped Box and Hills other books so I just knew I had a winner. But NOT!

Would you ever listen to anything by Joe Hill again?

Yes, I liked all his other books. This one just did not do it for me. Too slow and boring

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

The Fireman

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

Probably, because most of the mundane-overdone dialog will be cut out.

26 of 37 people found this review helpful

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Loved it!

Joe Hill does not disappoint! This is my second book by him and both were great! I always love hearing Kate Mulgrew narrate. She does an excellent job. This is a great post apocalyptic book with a fresh new idea! No zombies, but instead a contagious spore that causes people to burn. Most people go up in flames while others learn to embrace and control it. I definitely recommend this to anyone!

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Unsurprisingly Good

An extremely enjoyable read... The author enthralled me again... Great story that grabs and engages throughout,although it may mirror The Stand a bit too much at times... Kinda apocalyptic, kinda fantasy/sf, entirely engrossing... Great characters, both good and bad... I particularly appreciated all the homages to other works, especially those of the author's father, which makes the aforementioned mirroring fit better than it might have in a different instance... After all, I imagine he read a fair bit of those books, if not all... The narration was very good, and adds to the experience w/o distracting... Worth the credit... PS. A tease at the end that leaves us wondering if the end of the story is truly the end;)

31 of 46 people found this review helpful

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Retread of old Stephen King ideas

The best part of this audible book is the narrator. Kate Mulgrew is now one of my hero's. Her gravelly voice is beyond captivating.

The worst part of this book is the character development. An example is the husband wife interaction that starts things off... On one hand you have a do no wrong perfect wife. A woman that can't do anything but help everyone. On the other hand you have a 100% selfish husband that is crazy. Intent on getting his way and blaming his wife for all of his ills. The absolute extreme in which these characters embody good and evil hits the realm of the ridiculous and then keeps going.

A close second to character development in the running for 'worst aspect of this book', is the plot. The story is so confused. Hill has episodes that are held together by some time line, but the timeline is vague. Hill dives into EXTREME detail. Just like his father, he has a bad habit of batting the smallest thoughts past their welcome. Neither Stephen King or Joe Hill have ever figured that what is their greatest strength (the ability to focus on nuanced narratives) can also quickly turn into their greatest faults (boring over kill).

This is a horrible book. Disjointed. 2 dimensional characters. A plot that is confusing. And repeated instances of the author mistakenly thinking that over using his best gift is better than showing restraint and letting it peak out in rare moments.

47 of 76 people found this review helpful