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Into the Inferno [Hardcover]

Earl Emerson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 35.95 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

March 4 2003 Emerson, Earl
Earl Emerson, bestselling author of Vertical Burn, turns up the heat with this dynamic, fact-based depiction of the world of firefighting. In a frantic race against time, one man must unlock the secret to his own potential demise and that of his entire department—as they venture . . .


In the freezing heart of the Pacific Northwest winter, a group of firefighters from North Bend Fire and Rescue responds to a freeway accident. Two trucks have collided on the icy pavement. One of the trucks was transporting livestock; the other carried within its cargo an unmarked, innocuous-looking container. Now the highway is chaos with irate drivers, volunteer fire crews, and hundreds of escaped chickens.

The trucks are cleared, the highway reopens, and another day ends. But the repercussions of the crash are enormous. For six months later, the firefighters who were at the scene begin to mysteriously succumb to unexplained accidents and ailments. Jim Swope wakes up with the first, strange symptom—a symptom of an unknown disease that renders its victims brain-dead within a week. Now he has only seven days to determine how he and his fellow firefighters have been poisoned—and to discover an antidote . . . if one exists. If he doesn’t, these will be the last seven days of his life.

In a red-hot pursuit to the end, Earl Emerson puts real-life heroes up against seemingly insurmountable odds. Intense in the third degree, Into the Inferno is a brilliant melding of fact and thriller. Prepare yourself for the sweltering heat of wickedly good suspense.

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From Amazon

It's a tribute to Earl Emerson's narrative skill that he manages to make this implausible medical mystery not only believable but also compelling. When fire chief Jim Swopes traces the unknown disease that's wiped out half his department in less than a week to a truck crash on a western Washington highway, he knows his days are numbered--like the other victims, all of whom died, he has just seven days to live unless he can find an antidote to a chemical poison no one else believes exists. Helped by a beautiful doctor whose comatose sister drove one of the trucks in the crash, he traces the poison to a biotech firm with nothing to lose and everything to gain by letting the clock run out. But until it does, this tightly plotted race-against-time thriller will keep you riveted. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

Seattle firefighter Jim Swope-the irresistible protagonist of this latest high-octane thriller from the author of the Thomas Black detective series-is, in his own words, "destined for a jail cell, a straitjacket, or more likely, to end up dancing the funky chicken in a fusillade of bullets." This divorced, womanizing father of two has just realized he has exactly six days to figure out the nature of the mysterious ailment that's been killing off his North Bend Fire and Rescue colleagues-and is about to fell him, too. It all started several months ago, when he and other firefighters reported to the scene of a highway accident. It was here that Swope met emotionally unstable trucker Holly Riggs, a woman who became his girlfriend, then his ex-girlfriend, then his stalker. When Holly's sister, Stephanie, finds her in a coma months after the accident, she figures it was a suicide attempt. Only when Jim's colleagues also fall into comas does Jim realize that they were all poisoned at the scene of the accident. Each victim has only a week to live from the day his symptoms begin, and Jim already has trembling hands and a headache. He and Stephanie team up to uncover a tangled web of corporate corruption extending far beyond the Pacific Northwest, but centering on a nearby "hazmat" facility. Emerson, a veteran Seattle firefighter, infuses the firehouse scenes with expert detail, but it's the full-bodied characterization and wry humor of "mad dog" Swope that really sizzle. Readers who like a little hot sauce with their mystery will snatch this up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise... Jan. 7 2004
Being cooped in up the house in this storm, I've had plenty of time to read in the evenings. A novel I just finished was Into The Inferno by Earl Emerson. Looking at the cover, it would appear to be a firefighting story of some sort, but in actuality it's a medical thriller that has a firefighter as the main character. One day they are called to an accident scene involving a number of cars and some overturned cargo from a semi. Nothing appears to be suspect in the load, and everything is cleaned up with no problems. But five months later, the members of the fire station involved in the response start dying off and/or going brain-dead over a week when they start to show symptoms of an unknown disease. The main character recognizes that the source must be from the cargo spillage, and he races to find out the killer substance that is going to render him brain-dead in seven days unless he can solve the mystery. When he finds out the true source, the question becomes whether the condition or a gun will kill him first.
A good read for something that I picked up at the library just scanning through the shelves. Pleasantly surprised and pleased, even though it wasn't the type of book I thought it would be...
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1.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment! Aug. 13 2003
By A Customer
Emerson is one of the best of today's thriller writers - quirky, human, entertaining - with a good sense of locale. The Mac Fontana and Thomas Black series are outstanding.
This is a piece of overwritten rubbish. The writing is simply bad - the opening pages are those of a novice not a skilled craftsman. The plot is unconvincing (to be generous). The group dynamics - which he usually excels at - are childish. But above all the characters are totally uninvolving and unconvincing. The awkward combination of self-knowing weakness and "charm" of the protagonist just make the hair curl on the back of your neck.
This is careless and lazy writing from an author who is capable of much better and needs to stop looking for the "besteller" - and thereby underestimating the taste of his readers.
Regretfully all three thunbs down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful June 2 2003
An ordinary freeway accident between two trucks during a Pacific Northwest winter. Six months later people begin dying. Attributed to the accidents but from the onset of the first symptom to the last they are all dead within a week. What do they have in common? A white waxy substance on the backs of their hands.
Is in their minds or is it a syndrome on the loose from that one accidend? Are companies covering up their involvment to protect their assets?
Jim Swope and Dr. Stephanie Riggs begin to turn over the stones in this suspense novel to find the answers before Jim becomes just another statistic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling May 29 2003
Earl Emerson's experience as a firefighter is evident in this fast-paced, page-turning thriller. The plot is slightly implausible, but overall the plot is so suspensful that any implausibility can be forgiven. Emerson is a first-rate writer.
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Jim Swope is a nervous firefighter in the Earl Emerson's new novel "Into the Inferno." Swope works in Washington State's North Bend Fire and Rescue Company, and this group of paid and volunteer firefighters have run into some serious trouble. One by one, the North Bend firefighters have either become seriously ill or died in violent accidents. Are these events coincidental or is there something more insidious going on?
Swope is terrified when he begins to experience the same symptoms as his fallen colleagues. With the help of Stephanie Riggs, the sister of one of the victims, Swope starts investigating the "North Bend Syndrome" and what he and Stephanie find out is shocking and horrifying.
Earl Emerson sustains the reader's interest throughout this unusual novel. I loved the character of Jim Swope, an individual whose childhood traumas have left lasting scars, especially in his ability to relate to women. Jim is also a loving father and a courageous man who is willing to learn from his mistakes. I liked the character of Stephanie Riggs, as well. She is a tough and intelligent doctor who is dogged in her pursuit of the truth about the syndrome that has destroyed her sister.
Emerson balances the book's humorous and serious aspects skillfully and he maintains a high level of excitement throughout the novel. I recommend "Into the Inferno." It works both as a thriller and as a quirky psychological study of a beleaguered man who is pushed to his limits.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very predictable April 19 2003
I expected a sit on the edge of your seat book like "vertical burn". It started out with a who-done-it theme and I got dissapointed. As I read, it came around. A good read!
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