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Friday, September 28, 2012

Review: Fire Season

Title: Fire Season
Author: Jon Loomis
Series: Frank Coffin Mysteries (#3)
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Publication Date: 
 July 17, 2012
Reviewer: Ethan

Summary: Beleaguered Police Detective Frank Coffin is on the trail of a firebug in Fire Season, the third in this sharply witty mystery series set in Provincetown, Massachusetts

Until a replacement can be found, Frank Coffin is pulling double duty as a detective and interim police chief for the Provincetown, Mass. Police. The off-season has just started for this tourist town and the streets should be quiet. But they’re not.

When three fires are sparked in quick succession, it looks like there’s a firebug on the loose. A firebug who doesn't care who he hurts. With a deputy terrified of UFOs, a severed head in a lobster tank, and the fact that Frank's mother is setting some fires of her own, it’s another busy season in P’town in Fire Season, an excellent addition to Jon Loomis’ acclaimed series.

Review: Frank Coffin, police detective and interim chief of Provincetown, Massachusetts, is undergoing a lifestyle change. As a typical middle-aged man who's mind tells him he's invincible while his body reminds him of his mortality, Coffin is attempting to eat better, exercise more, and quit smoking. He's been recognized for his dedication to his job, is surrounded by supportive friends, and his girlfriend has just revealed that she is pregnant with his child. As the tourist season draws to a close, life is good for Frank Coffin. With all this considered, he has decided he would like to live a little bit longer to enjoy it.

Of course, the quiet off-season is soon interrupted. It all begins when an arsonist sets fire to a dumpster. As more fires begin to pot up around the city, Coffin attempts to catch the arsonist before he escalates to burning down the small town and killing anyone who stands in his way.

Even more troubling is the mental state of Coffins cousin Tom, who is also one of his police officers. For years, Provincetown has fostered rumblings of UFO's in the surrounding area. Locals remain divided on the issue, but Frank becomes directly involved in the matter as Tom begins to speak of his own sightings. As he rambles about being abducted by the invaders, Frank must find a way to ease his cousin's fears and stop the arsonist before the entire town goes mad.

I was very impressed with this novel. While it is certainly not the biggest or most ambitious mystery that I've read, I really appreciated Loomis's subtle way of crafting this delightful story. Frank Coffin immediately comes off as a kind of every man who is easy to root for. Provincetown has the perfect combination of small town setting and quirky characters, allowing a sense of reality to permeate the story. Loomis writes with a refreshingly frank style that makes this novel a quick, suspense driven read.

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