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Publisher's Summary

The blaze that night at her family's pizzeria changed young Reena Hale's life in more ways than one. Neighbors and relatives would pull together to help the Hales get through the crisis and rebuild. The Baltimore authorities would arrest the arsonist responsible. But as Reena gazed into the fire, beheld its brutal beauty and destructive power, her destiny began to take shape.

She would study, struggle, and walk the gauntlet to understand and master its terrible force - and one day become an investigator herself.

But she is not the only one fascinated by the flames. Someone else sees their power as well - and is obsessed not with conquering the fire but with controlling it, owning it, using it to exact vicious revenge.

When Reena achieves her goal and joins the arson unit, her strength and wits are constantly tested - though sometimes the job seems like a snap compared to her love life. One relationship after another has ended for her - some in tragedy or drama, some not with a bang but with a whimper. And she can't always blame them - after all, a soot-caked woman barking orders and smelling of smoke isn't the biggest turn-on in the world.

Then she meets Bo Goodnight, who seems different. He's been trying to find Reena for years, and now that she is close enough to touch, he has no intention of letting go.

Nor does the man who has begun to haunt Reena's life - with taunting phone calls and a string of horrifying crimes. And as Reena tries desperately to trace the origins - of the calls, the fires, the hatred aimed in her direction - she will step into the worst inferno she has ever faced...

©2005 Nora Roberts; (P)2005 Brilliance Audio

Critic Reviews

"Romantic suspense queen Roberts lights up Baltimore's Little Italy with this appealing story of love, family, food and arson." (Publishers Weekly)
"Bean's versatile vocal range skillfully portrays male and female parts without hesitation." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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I'm not sure this novel would have had such power without being so graphic in the abuse and fire deaths, but it was a very powerful story. Lots of people to love and cry over in this one. And the narration was good too.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Nora Roberts has crossed the line with me

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The rape and sodomy she included near the end was unnecessary and twisted

Would you recommend Blue Smoke to your friends? Why or why not?

No I would not , I have loved her books for a while now and have so many in my library , but I won't be sending anymore money her way the rape and sodomy near the end was horrible. as a woman I am deeply appalled at the horror she put into words

Which scene was your favorite?

When the couple finally meets

Do you think Blue Smoke needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No she said enough in this one

Any additional comments?

I was really enjoying the book and was involved wanted to listen in one sitting until the sexual abuse near the end . It would be really appreciated if audible could put some kind of warning for listeners to know in advance what they are getting

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Raemar3356
  • Williamsport, PA, United States
  • 06-30-12

Entertainment from start to finish

Where does Blue Smoke rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Since I have close to 700 audiobooks, it's hard to rate it exactly. I am very fond of Nora Roberts , so this is close to the top.

What other book might you compare Blue Smoke to and why?

I think maybe High Noon. Strong female lead, lots of suspense, good character interaction and good narrators.

What about Joyce Bean’s performance did you like?

I think she did a great job on making the voice of each character seem different from the one before. You got a sense of different people. She didn't make the male voices sound as though it was a female doing them. I like her work.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I really enjoyed the fact that when Bo (who had been searching for Reena for years) looked up and see's her next door, he recognized her as the girl he'd dreamed of since college. For all you romantics out there, it's a moment!

Any additional comments?

I have listened to this book a number of times and always enjoy it. It does have some particularly graphic scenes in it, so you might want to skip over them if you have trouble dealing with that kind of realism. I will listen to this many more times. Well worth the credit.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 06-15-14

2 ½ stars. A good story until the last third.

Narrator Joyce Bean was very good for general narration and female voices. But she was bad with men. She made the hero unattractive and undesirable. She had weird ick voices for some men.

A fun idea was Bo seeing Reena across the room and for him “the music stopped. She was his dream girl.” He tried to get to her but she left before he could. On two more future occasions he sees her but is unable to get to her before she leaves. I was curious wondering when and how will they ever meet?

Bad guy was too perfect and no hope for the good guys.
The last third or fourth of the book was depressing. The serial killer/arsonist was getting away with many murders and fires. He was so smart and so perfect. He never made mistakes. Even though cops are watching and guarding places, the killer gets inside without being seen. That was not good for me. Reading about “perfect characters” (be they good or bad) is not interesting. I prefer stories where little things glum up the works – maybe an accidental witness seeing something. And there was “no hope” for the good guys. They just were not getting it – for years. Finally the bad guy calls Reena and gives her a clue.

Bad guy sets a fire and places a false fire extinguisher nearby which is an explosive device. So why does the firefighter grab the fake extinguisher instead of using his own equipment?

Reena and the cops know the killer is after people she knows. Reena tells everyone “do not be alone.” So what does Reena do? She goes somewhere alone – and the bad guy is there waiting for her.

Reena knows the bad guy has been watching her and mentions her sex life on the phone. So why does she later have sex with someone in her back yard?

There is one violent rape/murder scene - very unsettling.

Nora Roberts is hit and miss with me. My favorites are: Carnal Innocence, Born in Fire, Angels Fall, The Witness, Northern Lights, and Sea Swept.

Genre: romantic suspense

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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To many things

I agree with other reviews it took too long for them to figure out the killer,didn't like this one with the rape,burning of bodies just too much. The love story part was cool

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Arthur
  • Mauldin, SC, United States
  • 04-19-11

One of her more intense.

Not for the faint of heart. Brutal in some areas, powerful in emotion, and in the end makes you pity the main character. Great detail, a good deal of thought, though the ending was no real surprise once you've heard the first few chapters. A very good book, however. Fans of Nora, I recommend this book

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • michaela
  • burien, wa, United States
  • 03-09-11

Great listen!!!

I LOVED this book! It was so incredibly detailed, and I felt like I knew the family. The narrator had a knack for subtly changing her voice for each character, which made it easy to follow. I couldn't quit listening :-)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Kept me on my toes

A little predictable but enjoyed the book. I'd like to meet Bo someday!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Carolyn
  • Woy Woy, Australia
  • 07-16-08


Great story, good narration.Found it hard to stop listening. I found myself being caught up in the characters. Always a sign of a good book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Lia
  • Sutton, Australia
  • 03-04-11

Pretty good

The detail given is fantastic, that the character took sooooo long to realise who was behind everything was very frustrating.

The characters are interesting and well described.

I did enjoy the listen but it took almost too long to get going and almost too long to finish.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Saluki Selfie
  • 06-18-15


Where does Blue Smoke rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?


What other book might you compare Blue Smoke to, and why?


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs. K. I. Richards
  • 03-25-15

didn't enjoy this one

Would you try another book written by Nora Roberts or narrated by Joyce Bean?

I have already got a lot of nora Roberts books but this will be my last.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

was glad to get to the end.

Which character – as performed by Joyce Bean – was your favourite?

there wasn't one.

Any additional comments?

all nora Roberts books run to a format (romance boy meets girl they get together in the end, descriptions of them having sex) only the setting and story is different.
as usual good characterisation and plot but I preferred chasing fire.
gif you are a nora Roberts fan you will like this one.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dannielle
  • 06-25-16

Another hit for Nora.

Beautifully performed and a dramatic and enthralling story. The characters are well formed, you truly feel like you know them personally.