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Why Read A Firefighter Book?
If you’re a reader in the thriller, mystery, suspense, or crime genre you will likely have your favorite authors who write in one of the four genres. These stories almost always have cops of one type or other, PIs, lawyers, or lone wolf types who take it upon themselves to solve a problem. This is all familiar ground. Police procedure, forensics, interrogation rooms, chases, DAs, witnesses, etc. So when you come upon a firefighter book on the shelf what goes through your mind?
There can be some reluctance to buy a firefighter book due to unfamiliarity of the job. Yet, the novelty or rarity could and should pique some interest. Unfortunately, there are few firefighter books around, and none whose authors can sell a book merely with their name like a Scott Turow or Michael Connelly.
A firefighter book can bring a different world to the reader, a freshness by introducing readers to the fire service. Fire stations and rescue operations are unfamiliar ground to the vast majority of the public. There is always danger and suspense in a variety of ways.
It’s not all about fires these days as the scope of a well-trained fire rescue service involves many more elements: arson investigation, technical rescue, hazardous goods, water and ice rescue, structure fire and collapse, gas leaks, med calls, power lines, riots, and vehicle/industrial accidents. Each one of these can have many derivatives such as med calls: mental patients to stabbings to flesh-eating disease to TB to squirting ammonia up a butt.
Someone has to clean up the mess. Often extreme or large-scale incidents arise that look impossible to overcome. Cue the resourceful firefighters. Chaos control is their stock in trade. Firefighter books can easily contain a few of these. Responses to these incidents are hugely interesting to the public and can be incorporated into firefighter books in a variety of ways. Arsonists alone are a peculiar breed from a psychological standpoint. An array of crimes are covered up by fires. Arson is used as extortion and terror. There are killer arsonists. Arson goes hand in hand with insurance fraud and is big business.
The fire service doesn’t usually carry weapons although some U.S. arson investigators do. What the firefighters have are unique specialized tools for extrication, building collapse, forcible entry, and of course there are the variety of fire trucks from simple bush fire units to the giant aerial ladder trucks in a Tom Clancy-ish angle.
There’s also the fact that firefighters are very team-oriented. Everything from inspections to clean up to cooking is done together. Difficult task are assigned and expected to be completed or the structure of a rescue falls apart. Firefighters don’t have the luxury of standing outside a building with a megaphone negotiating. Any firefighter book should have the human dynamic because teamwork also stems from working such long hours together. In the popular TV show starring Dennis Leary Rescue Me the story mostly involved the interaction of the men. Too much of that wouldn’t bode well for a firefighter book in the thriller/suspense genre. But the series was hugely popular, as is the substandard Chicago Fire.
I do know that in history fire fighter were glamourized and put on pedestals of respect. this came with many great movies being filmed like Back Draft. And TV shows like Rescue Me. These shows were extremely popular and continued to receive great reviews and great feedback.
The question is why aren't there more novels being written about fire fighters?
Children love them. It is hard to find a child who doesn't know and respect a fire truck driving out of the pages and into the street, but it is really hard to find a novel written dedicated to the life, struggles, and passion of fire fighter.
I think this is something that needs to be addressed and deserves a bit more respect than it has in the past.
What's your favorite?
Fire fighers honestly have lots of time to sit down and write. I would love to see them start pumping out great fire fighter novels (not romances) that tell us of their strugglesm challenges and goals. Where can we get our hands on these amazing books and read some great fiction?
I want more adventure and to learn about a profession that has protected citizens and people around the world.