Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fire Men: Stories from Three Generations of a Firefighting Family

Hugs and thank yous don't happen often. This is a thankless job. So why do it? Why be a firefighter? The reasons obviously differ for each person. For me, it's the satisfaction of doing something only a small percentage of people can do - entering buildings being consumed by fire and having the skill to save lives. (Excerpt from Fire Men by Gary R. Ryman)

You've heard the sirens. You've seen the bright red engines that barrel through town when the alarm sounds. You tune in each week to TV programs like Rescue Me. But in FIRE MEN: Stories from Three Generations of a Firefighting Family, Gary H. Ryman has given readers an authentic, firsthand account of what it really means to answer the call (literally and figuratively) to fight flaming battles, day-in and day-out.

FIRE MEN is a well-written, emotion-packed memoir that is rich with description. In twenty concise chapters, Ryman details, with unabashed grit, a personal account of what it's like to serve on the front lines of danger. The book has a linear structure and is told via episodic installments of how and why Ryman became a firefighter; how and where he trained; and his personal firefighting experiences that now make him an expert, veteran consultant on firefighting practices. The stories reflect how firefighting has evolved over the years, now requiring more specific training and certifications, as the role of firefighting becomes more diversified and emergency service oriented (EMS), especially post 9-11 and amid the implications of terrorism.

Long-time fireman Ryman offers a unique perspective of what it's like to be the son, as well as the father, of a firefighter. He writes engaging, dramatically rendered scenes which shed light into what a firefighter may face with his buddies while on-call; at the firehouse during down-time; and also in serving the public.
Taken as a whole, FIRE MEN is filled with joy and heartbreak and offers harrowing insight into the emotional landscape of those who see the best and worst of what life has to offer.
Fire Men: Stories from Three Generations of a Firefighting Family by Gary R. Ryman
Tribute Books, $10.95, Trade Paperback, 978-0982256596, 280 pp.
Publication Date: April 20, 2011
To order this book via INDIEBOUND link

NOTE: In order to write this review, I received a copy of this book from Tribute Books.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fall from Pride

Karen Harper (Dark Angel) launches a new romantic suspense series set in Ohio Amish Country. Each installment in the proposed trilogy will feature a different pair of heroes and heroines. In book one, Fall from Pride, Harper introduces Sarah Kauffman, a young, single Amish woman who has been granted permission from church elders to paint murals that resemble typical Amish quilt squares on some of the barns in the area. The hope is that her work, publicly showcased in the Home Valley Region, will increase tourism, as even the Amish aren't immune to the faltering economy. But what begins as a means for Sarah to pursue her art turns destructive when the barns featuring her work suddenly start to be burned down.

Two very different worlds collide when State Arson Inspector Nate MacKenzie, a rugged Englischer or auslander (outsider), drives into town in his high-tech SUV past horse-drawn buggies to investigate the situation. Sarah serves as MacKenzie's guide among the Amish community and together, the two set out to reel in the suspected serial arsonist. The fast-paced mystery is filled with a host of red herrings and dead ends. Everyone becomes a suspect. And as the fires continue to wreak further devastation, the danger and tension deepen and the mutual attraction between Sarah and MacKenzie heats up as well. Harper gradually reveals shared experiences of her hero and heroine, making the pull and tug of their seemingly star-crossed romance as enticing as the elements of suspense.

Fall From Pride by Karen Harper
Mira, $14.95, Trade Paperback, 978-0778312499, 352 pp.
Publication Date: July 26, 2011
To order this book via INDIEBOUND link HERE

Please note: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (7/29/11), click HERE.