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The Fireman

A Novel
By: Joe Hill
Narrated by: Kate Mulgrew
Length: 22 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6,320 ratings)
Regular price: $49.05
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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

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Story

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  • 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

40 of 42 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Gave Up

Sounded like a great story premise, but just could not get into it. Extremely slow moving plot and very little tension. At 1/3 of the way through the book when the main storyline was focused on the mystery of someone stealing a bag full of worthless personal items, I decided this one wasn't really going anywhere.

Written by anyone else, I doubt this title would have been published, or at least would have been drastically edited to focus the plot.

Fans of Stephen King will probably appreciate the references to his works, and maybe that will be enough to carry the story for them. But this book fell really flat for me. Very disappointing.

39 of 41 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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spare yourself

no plot, no theme, no suspense, narrator could be used as a secret weapon, drone

38 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    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.

36 of 38 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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THIS BOOK IS HORRIBLE!!!

this is such a terrible book. the story is about a contagious disease that makes people spontaneously combust and catch fire. but the author wants you to believe that a small group of people are able to overcome the disease by singing along as a group at Church. i guess if you like that kind of thing you "may" like this book. but it's too much for me. I can't even bring myself to listen to the book anymore. way too touchy-feely. the only reason I got the book was because it was recommended so I decided to take a chance on it. I really wish I hadn't. I wouldn't waste a credit on this book.

48 of 51 people found this review helpful

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

So disappointed there are no words for how much

I am not even sure where to start... I have always been a King fan and excited that his son was an amazing horror writer as well. I am not sure what happened with this book. If there isn't an endless whining of political issues that absolutely nothing to do with the story line at all - talk about trying to insult.... probably half the people that spent the money on this book. Then there's the over written Mary Poppins! Seriously did he just discover Mary Poppins? - singing, analogies or movie references to the verrrrry end. I literally had vertigo by the end of the book having to listen to the constant whining of both, and I will probably never watch Mary Poppins again.
I feel like the potential for a great story was here but it never really gained traction. He spent the whole time singing, A spoon full of sugar. I have listened to 5 other books from Mr. HIll's book and just loved the creativity and storylines. I am at a loss at what happened here. Most of the book I felt like I was watching a B rated horror movie, why are you doing that?! Don't go there?! I literally forced myself to the end of the book hoping for some kind of redemption or satisfaction only to be even more disappointed in the end. Which I did not think was possible. Not only do I want my credit back I also want the wasted hours of my life back listening to this.

35 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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Neat premise, amateurish writing, hokey narration

This book is slow to start, winding through a lot of tedious build-up. Then when it gets interesting, it feels cornball. The basic idea is very fresh, and this book might do the trick as a beach novel, but 22 hours is a lot of time to put into something that's generally mediocre and sloppy.

35 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jason
  • United States
  • 08-13-16

Senseless injection of politics

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

Maybe. If the person really like Joe Hill I'd recommend it but otherwise not much would be missed by skipping it.

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

Skip the senseless injection of politics. It served no purpose other than apparently to offer the author a chance to insult 50% of his audience.

Have you listened to any of Kate Mulgrew’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I first heard Kate Mulgrew's narration in NOS4A2 which I enjoyed. She's just as good in this one although the material is weaker.

Could you see The Fireman being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I can see this being made into a movie or TV series. I'll leave the casting to somebody else.

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed the basic premise of the novel as well as the narration. The main characters were fleshed out enough to care about and I thought they were all pretty sympathetic. The "disease" was novel enough to be interesting and I thought well detailed.

The constant yet needless hammering of his liberal political view was annoying. If it contributed something to the story that would be one thing but it doesn't. It's simply self-gratification. Joe Hill doesn't like conservatives. I get it. His smug self-superiority shines through very brightly though just in case you would miss it. Not sure why he feels the need to alienate half of his perspective audience though.

Another thing... Apparently Joe Hill thinks every rifle is a Bushmaster. That's kind of like referring to every car on the road as a Chevy. Not just on this point but on a few others, Joe Hill demonstrates that he isn't willing to do the simplest research on some of the things he writes about.

Despite the many negatives, I am on the fence about this one. Annoyances aside, I found the story interesting enough that I'd probably check out a sequel if there was one. I really enjoyed NOS4A2 so I know that he can turn out a good book but unfortunately this one was only kind of meh.

46 of 49 people found this review helpful

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

overly long and a predictable ending

Started strong, interesting idea and characters but rhen it took the longest route to every development.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Painfully overwritten

The worst aspects of Daddy's writing style were drawn out and beaten to a pulp in this overwritten and forced book. There was no momentum after the first act, and it became a mindless exercise in slogging through cheesy dialogue and cheap pop culture references. Had a good editor done their job well, this could have been a decent read.

33 of 35 people found this review helpful