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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Into the Inferno by Earl Emerson

Into the Inferno by Earl Emerson. New York: Ballantine Books, 2003. ISBN: 0-345-44591-0

This was my second foray into the list of mysteries set in Washington. The cover describes the book as “A novel of suspense.” I wouldn't know, because I didn't get that far into it. I read 79 pages during my lunch hour one day, and then realized I didn't really want to read any more.

The protagonist is a fireman living and working in North Bend, a town up in the foothills of the Cascades, off I-90, nowadays a bedroom community for the Seattle area. He tells the story himself, meaning that the book is written in the first person. Which would be fine if he were the kind of person whose head you'd enjoy living inside of for a while. But this guy rubs me the wrong way from the get go.

Apparently he's well-known to his co-workers as a womanizer, which they love to rib and remind him of. As the book opens, he meets an attractive woman, and by page 79, she's in a coma, possibly self induced from an suicide attempt, because our hero has not only been carrying on a torrid affair with her, but seeing other women (at least one, anyhow) at the same time, and dumps her, once she lets on that she had thought their relationship was headed toward the altar.

Of course, he justifies himself to us by assuring everyone, well, her sister, actually, who comes around to harass him, that he never gave her the slightest indication that he was interested in any kind of permanent relationship.

Now this is all just a sideline to the book's main plot which apparently involves some kind of contamination or disease which is striking down the fire fighters, and which may also be responsible for the aforementioned coma, and with which our own protagonist is inevitably infected as well.

But sorry, if I have to live inside this creep's head for the entire telling of this tale, I'm not going there. Had the story been written from another perspective, or in the third person, I might have been willing to spend more time on it, but I just didn't have any interest in spending any more time living inside this guy's thought processes. Not particularly recommended.

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