Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review: Phoenix

Phoenix by A.J. Scudiere

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Thriller Reading Level: Adult book available October 2, 2012

Disclosure: I received a free ebook ARC/eGalley from NetGAlley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Jason Mondy’s world is unraveling.

His seemingly secure job as a fire fighter is suddenly thrown into chaos. The bright spot in his week is that he rescued two children from a house fire, but he returns home that night to find all his furniture is missing. His girlfriend has left him without warning and his nightmares keep him from sleeping. Even just a simple trip home to find some rest leads his adoptive mother to sit him down and tell him that maybe his troubles aren’t quite as innocuous as they seem. Then his she divulges a secret she’s kept for over twenty-six years . . .

Jason has a brother he doesn’t remember existed.

He doesn’t remember his life before he was adopted at age seven. He only knows that he was rescued from the fire that took his birth mother’s life. But the story is deeper than that, and the foundation on which he built his world is now cracking. The brother he doesn't remember it out there somewhere, left behind.

Armed with only this stunning new piece of information, Jason embarks on a quest to find the truths buried deep in his past. As he searches, one by one the pieces of his life fall like dominoes. And the more he uncovers, the more everything he thought he knew about himself and his past begins to turn to ash.

His truth isn’t true at all . . .

My Thoughts: I have read – and loved – every single book by A.J. Scudiere; she is an amazing writer. I’ve been looking forward to this one for ages and was thrilled to get a chance to be an early reader/reviewer.

The first place I lived in Beaverton, OR (suburb of Portland) was right next door to the fire station. The firefighters had an apartment on that side of the complex to stay in during their shifts. It took awhile, but I eventually became accustomed to the sound of the bells and sirens and would sleep right through it. I can’t imagine having to be the one who has to constantly be alert to that ringing and have to go out and fight fires over and over again – or, that is, I couldn’t until I read this book.

An incredible amount of research went into this novel. I noticed on Scudiere’s blog that she spent a significant amount of time in a fire house, and went out on calls with them. She has created a very realistic environment for the firefighter characters in her book. She takes the time to give us information on each major character and several minor ones. Like all of her books, she does great characterization.

The only real problem I had with this story is there tends to be a lot of head-jumping. I think it might have worked better to maintain a consistent point-of-view, or somehow sectioned off each point-of-view in some way – either change at the chapter break, or put some sort of break indication within the chapter to signal the POV change. This is a very early ARC, though, so possibly there will be changes made to clarify that issue before publication in the fall.

Jason was not a particularly likeable character – he was obtuse, self-immersed and a bit of a jerk. However, once he had his nose stuck into a mess he made, he would do his best to fix it. His heart is in the right place, he’s just very much a man.

I think a variety of people would enjoy this book; there is a terrific mystery, suspense, some romance (but a bearable level), and a great day-to-day idea of what goes on in a fire house. Definitely check out this book.

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