All branches will be closed Wednesday, December 24 through Friday, December 26. We wish you a happy & safe holiday!

If you like "Pyro" by Earl Emerson...

You asked for a book similar to Pyro by Earl Emerson, and mentioned that you
also like Wambaugh's Fire Lover and Picciotto's Last Man Down. Here are
a few suggestions, both fiction and nonfiction, featuring firefighters:

Fiction:

Emerson has written quite a few books featuring firefighters, including
a series about a female ex-firefighter and arson investigator, Mac
Fontana, such as Morons and Madmen, Going Crazy in Public, and The Dead
Horse Paint Company. But, one of his books with a male firefighting
protaganist is:

Vertical burn / Earl Emerson
Six months after firefighter John Finney fought his way out of a burning
Seattle warehouse to get help, no one remembers him giving the
directions that pinpointed his partner's position inside. No one can
remember anything about Finney except that he left his friend to die.
But Finney doesn't believe the fire was an accident. And he doesn't
believe the campaign against him is one either. Trying to reconstruct
the events from that tragic day, Finney uncovers suspicious actions by
men at the scene. With only one person on his side-a female firefighter
who is herself an outcast in the department-Finney begins to piece
together an astounding conspiracy that will turn friends into suspects
and every man inside the department into a potentially deadly enemy. And
the most horrific fire is yet to burn. (catalog summary)

The fiction book below is not about a firefighter good guy, but an
arsonist:

Beyond recognition / Ridley Pearson.
by Pearson, Ridley.
Fans of award-winning thriller writer Pearson take note: Seattle Police
Sergeant Lou Boldt is back, battling a scholar-arsonist who vaporizes
his victims in hotter-than-hot house fires. Equally dangerous and about
to blow is the smoldering romance between Boldt, who's drifting away
from his wife, and police department psychologist Daphne Matthews.
Pearson masterfully depicts the sparks between them. "A student of
people, of behavior, of music, science, the arts," Boldt is an unusually
appealing cop who treats himself with elegant high teas and worries
about victims as if they were family. A riveting secondary plot
involving a motherly psychic and her young accomplice parallels the main
one until the two plots converge. Shop talk is authentic, but at times
we feel we're hanging around the station too long. Moving from one
punchy scene to the next, this fuse-burning suspense tale is wonderful
reading for a wide audience. (Library Journal)

Fire Flight / John J. Nance
When wildfires threaten two national parks and countless homes, retired
fire bomber Clark Maxwell joins his former teammates despite the fact
that their air tankers are breaking apart with fatal consequences.
(NoveList)

Nonfiction about firefighting:

Medal of valor firefighters : gripping tales of bravery from America's
decorated heroes / Michael L. Middleton
"Medal of Valor Firefighters" details the extraordinary feats of those
brave men and women. From the disaster of downtown Manhattan, to the
earthquaking streets of San Francisco, these unforgettable stories are
told through the rough-and-ready words of the men and women who were
there putting their lives on the line. (catalog summary)

On fire / Larry Brown
This memorable collection of short essays, some of them merely
fragments, is the first venture into nonfiction by fireman turned
novelist Brown ( Dirty Work ). After 17 years as a firefighter in
Oxford, Miss., home of the state university and William Faulkner, Brown
devoted himself to full-time writing, which had been an avocation for 10
years. Most of his observations here are about fighting fires, the
camaraderie among those who perform this service, the tragedies and the
miracles they encounter. But there are other pieces, some humorous,
others poignant, on Brown's family, on hunting and fishing, on his pets
and his attempts to raise rabbits for the market. (Publishers Weekly)

Young men & fire / Norman Maclean
On Aug. 5, 1949, 16 Forest Service smoke jumpers landed at a fire in
remote Mann Gulch, Mont. Within an hour, 13 were dead or irrevocably
burned, caught in a ``blowup''--a rare explosion of wind and flame. The
late Maclean, author of the acclaimed A River Runs Through It , grew up
in western Montana and worked for the Forest Service in his youth. He
visited the site of the blowup; for the next quarter century, the
tragedy haunted him. In 1976 he began a serious study of the fire, one
that occupied the last 14 years of his life. He enlisted the aid of fire
experts, survivors, friends in the Forest Service and reams of official
documents. The result is an engrossing account of human fallibility and
natural violence. The tragedy was a watershed in Forest Service
training--knowledge and techniques have since been improving--and this
work will interest Maclean's many admirers. (Publishers Weekly)

Jumping fire : a smokejumper's memoir of fighting wildfire / Murry A.
Taylor
Fighting fires since 1965, veteran smokejumper Murry Taylor finally
retired from his legendary career after last summer-the worst fire
season in more than fifty years. After three decades of parachuting out
of planes and battling blazes in the vast, rugged wilderness of Alaska
and the West, Taylor recounts in Jumping Fire, with passion and honesty,
stories of man versus nature at its most furious and unforgiving. He
shares what it's like to hear the deafening roar, to smell the acrid
burn, to feel the intense heat, to breathe the thick fumes, and to
finally run for your life with exploding flames two hundred feet high
and a mile wide licking at your heels. Written with a keen eye for
detail and a talent for storytelling, "Jumping Fire is a tale of love
and loss, life and death, and sheer hard work, set in an unforgiving and
unforgettable landscape, that's second only to Norman Maclean's classic
Young Men and Fire" (Publishers Weekly).

Working fire : the making of an accidental fireman / Zac Unger
Zac Unger didn't feel like much of a firefighter at first. Most of his
fellow recruits seemed to have planned for the job all their lives; he
was an Ivy League grad responding to a help-wanted ad at an Oakland bus
stop. He couldn't keep his boots shined, and he looked horrible in his
uniform. Working Fire is the story of how, from this unlikely beginning,
Zac Unger came to feel at home among this close-knit tribe, came to
master his work's demands, and came to know what it is to see the city
of Oakland through a firefighter's eyes. From the materials of his days'
work -- the harrowing calls and the hilarious, the moments of triumph
and of grief -- Zac Unger has forged a timeless story of finding one's
path. He never takes himself too seriously, but he comes to take his job
very seriously. Because he tell his story with such extraordinary
empathy and wit, the fierce passion he feels for his work, his comrades,
and the city he protects becomes our own. (Book jacket)

I hope you find something you like in these suggestions. If not, please
call, drop by, or write to us again, and we'll dig further!

Michele R. Brown
Reference Librarian