Reena Hale has always understood the destructive power of fire. When she was a child, her family's Baltimore restaurant was burned to the ground in a cruel arson attack. The Hale family banded together to rebuild, and Reena found her life's calling: to become an arson investigator.
Reena loves her job - but the danger and crazy hours have left her unlucky in love. When she meets handsome carpenter Bo Goodnight, things look promising - until a series of suspicious fires are connected not just to each other, but to Reena herself. As danger ignites all around her, Reena must rely on hard-won experience and gut instinct to catch a man determined to burn down everything - and everyone - she loves.
Romantic suspense queen Roberts (Blue Dahlia, etc.) lights up Baltimore's Little Italy with this appealing story of love, family, food and arson. Eleven-year-old Reena Hale, watching her family's restaurant go up in flames, decides to become an arson investigator. The fire shapes another child's destiny, too, as Joey Pastorelli sees his father go to prison for setting the blaze. Reena's close-knit Italian family rebuilds; Reena grows up and completes police and firefighter training. Despite inheriting her mother's good looks, Reena proves unlucky in love, mainly because her beaux tend to die in fires, but her fortunes look up after she meets hunky carpenter Bo Goodnight. Bo gets along with Reena's family, friends and co-workers, and handles the demands of her career with patient humor, so nothing stands in their way except an obsessed, pyromaniac stalker determined to kill any man Reena loves. Although it does take Reena an inordinately long time to identify her nemesis, Roberts portrays investigative procedure more accurately than her many imitators. Well-sketched supporting characters with potential subplots of their own suggest that the prolific Roberts will put her feet to the fire again. Main selection, the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club.