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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
    3,141
  • 4 Stars
    1,718
  • 3 Stars
    661
  • 2 Stars
    242
  • 1 Stars
    120

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    3,744
  • 4 Stars
    1,201
  • 3 Stars
    406
  • 2 Stars
    101
  • 1 Stars
    57

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    2,862
  • 4 Stars
    1,492
  • 3 Stars
    688
  • 2 Stars
    285
  • 1 Stars
    165
Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

A 23-Hour Long Short Story

This should have been one of Joe Hill’s wonderful short stories. As it is, the book is sooo long, sooo uneventful, sooo plodding. I gave it six hours waiting for the story to begin. For something exciting to happen. Instead, I found myself tuning out and finally abandoning it. Not the author, by any means. Just this particular novel.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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

A bit disappointed

This started out with a great premise but then it unraveled and was disappointing in the end.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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

As someone else said...disapointing

I've read Horns and Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill, as well as a graphic novel collection of his. This novel is not up to the same level of quality. There are so many cliches and tropes in this novel: The disease that may not be a disease, the quiet brooding loner, the lovely young lady thrown into strange circumstances, the abusive husband who will show up again later in the book.

Kate Mulgrew does a good job of narrating the book and I would give another one by her a try.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

Joe Hill Fan Left Disappointed

I am a fan of Joe Hill’s work. I found this book to be more annoying than compelling. It started out great but the middle made me think of my least favorite book in the Harry Potter series. It was full of references relating to Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Mary Poppins. I enjoy those things but when you keep getting constant reminders of them it becomes highly annoying. I wanted his original work but found myself basically reading a love letter to his dad and other authors. This was the first book I’ve ever returned on audible. Don’t waste your time. Read Horns or Heart Shaped Box.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

Smoke, but No Fire

I really liked other books by Joe Hill, but this one just rubbed me wrong from the start. It got worse as I went on -- I realized I didn't like any of the characters, not even Harper. The firestarter disease wasn't thoroughly realized, and I kept finding holes in the story. When an author is trying to sell something so implausible, he or she has to be very detailed, very observant, to make it seem real. This didn't.

Harper's husband was an ass from the start, and quickly he become so nasty that I lost whatever sympathy I had for her because she'd been so oblivious to his lack of humanity for an entire marriage. I stopped reading/listening as soon as I realized that wherever the story was going, it was going to include a crazy husband still wanting to kill her, and that just seemed boring and obvious to me.

I used to refuse to give up on books, even when I really didn't like them. I would finish, no matter what. But I'm older now and I know that life is too short for books you don't enjoy. This one just wasn't for me. Honestly, I didn't think it was as well-written as Heart Shaped Box.

17 of 18 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.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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

Fireman just doesn't work.

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

yes

Any additional comments?

I kept listening for something to happen and nothing ever does. Horns, Heart Shaped Box and NOS4R2 were excellent.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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

rambling boring

I got to chapter 5 I kept waiting for action to start and it never did just random dribble with no point that I could be bothered to wait on anymore

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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

Enough with the Mary Poppins!

Enough with the Mary Poppins! The story was good, but got ssooo tired of the Mary Poppins and Pete's Dragon references and all the volumes of other writers works and characters alluded to.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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

Poor start

Couldn't get passed the first few chapters because of odd character motivations and dialogue choices. There was some shoehorning of current political issues that may have been an attempt to ground the book in reality but it came off as pretentious forcing of the author's views e.g. referencing Eric Garner when describing a scene about someone being choked.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful