The Fourth Angel

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( 231 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780399147050: The Fourth Angel

Georgia Skeehan, a rookie fire marshal with the New York City Fire Department, finds herself heading up the investigation into a deadly SoHo fire that claimed fifty lives and uncovers links to three other unsolved fires and to a series of bizarre letters from a psychopathic arsonist calling himself the "Fourth Angel." A first novel. 22,500 first printing.

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Review:

Suzanne Chazin's harrowing thriller follows rookie fire marshal Georgia Skeehan's efforts to solve a series of baffling high temperature fires that look to her like the work of a serial arsonist. The blazes have already incinerated more than 60 victims and threaten to claim the careers of many of Georgia's colleagues.

Still suffering guilt over her failure to save her partner in an earlier fire, Georgia knows she won't win any popularity contests when she's promoted over more senior members of the department and put in charge of the investigation. There are plenty of reasons for their resentment. Not only is she a woman in a milieu that's still determinedly masculine, but she's also too dedicated to the department's mission to comply with the code of silence that's concealed the fact that these seemingly unrelated fires are not only connected but may have been started by someone inside the NYFD. It takes a long time for Skeehan to trace the relationship between the self-styled Fourth Angel--the madman who announces his intentions in letters rife with biblical allusions--and the real perpetrator of the arsons. Before she gets to the bottom of things the reader is drawn into the backroom politics of the department, the unimaginable bravery as well as the locker room bravado of its members, and the technical details of how to reduce a skyscraper to ashes with ingredients almost anyone can assemble.

The wife of a NYFD firefighter, Chazin's access to the firehouse culture and firefighting technique gives this well-written story its verisimilitude. Her skills at character development make Georgia a complex heroine who can carry the series her creator expects to build on this debut. --Jane Adams

About the Author:

Suzanne Chazin is a contributing editor at Reader's Digest and an award-winning journalist whose credits include articles in People and The New York Times. A member of the International Association of Arson Investigators, she has unusual access to the inner workings of the FDNY: her husband is a high-ranking chief of the FDNY and her research has included extensive interviews with many of the department's members.

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