Fireman: A Novel, The

Joe Hill
From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman.The fireman is coming. Stay cool.No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.


Reviewed: 2019-01-14
way to go lil King. Much better than your dad's work, if I'm to be honest. Great read, and it went alarmingly fast for a 700 page thing.
Reviewed: 2017-11-17
I like Stephen King, and Hill proudly demonstrates being one of his dad's constant readers throughout this book to a degree I haven't seen before. King references were a rapid fire constant through the narrative - and the book itself pretty much answers the question "What would it look like if The Stand and Firestarter had a baby, in 2016?".

There was a pretty long lull in the middle that left me wondering if I wanted to continue. Think of half of The Walking Dead, season two (no really - think of it, because he's aiming directly at tWD fans with this book). I like moving into a book and living there a while, but not when it feels like sating this desire is the only reason for the page count.

It's not clear why the book is even called The Fireman. He's not the main character... and remains, to the end, almost one-dimensional.

The story seems to carefully follow a Walking Dead trajectory. Perhaps Hill wants to write for tWD, or maybe the sets, scenes, effects and pacing seem custom fit for a screenplay (small screen) that made Hill's proud declaration that the film rights were sold seem like the real goal - and therefore a little cringe-worthy... seeing as though I just read the book.

If you wanted it to be primarily enjoyed on screen, and celebrate this in a first edition of your book... maybe it isn't suited for prose? Is that an illogical assumption?

I'm going 3 stars though, because I liked the little pokes at Constant Readers - and I loved seeing the mechanics of earlier work expanded upon and made modern for a readership 30ish years after the originals. Firestarter was in 1980... so the vibe feels sort of zeitgeisty, in a world where Stranger Things recently made a splash.

I really hope his work continues to improve, and that he continues to be the Constant Writer his family of readers wants to grow older with. Maybe don't have 9 months pregnant women literally carrying grown men around on their shoulders so much in future efforts, though.
Reviewed: 2016-11-29

The idea was good and the virus was developed well but the characters are just not that fantastic. The fireman was cheesy and macho and always just about dying. The girl was unlikable but fancyed herself Mary Poppins. There were amny many characters and not one of them a hero or a villian. 

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