When we left Scott and Robby last, they’d finally moved in together and aired out all the secrets, then tragedy strikes, and that’s how we’re left at the end of book four. So when we open book five, it’s two months later and Scott is finally ready to read the dreaded letter from Pauline and DJ, the former owners of Mountain Shadows (it’s a letter he’s been putting off reading the entire time he’s owned the place.) In the letter, he learns most of what he already knows about the residents, then Pauline closes with a plea for Scott to visit Danny, the firefighter whose life he saved in the fire that nearly took both their lives, who is also Pauline and DJ’s son. Having finally faced his demons, Scott is ready to see Danny and maybe help him face some of his own.
While Scott is out visiting Danny, Robby makes a trip to the station to return his gear since it’s his official last day of work, even though he’s technically still on vacation. Since he’s there, he figures he’ll ask about the investigation of the cabin fire (from Backburn). When the chief won’t give him any answers, Robby deduces that they’re trying to pin the fire on Scott and is determined to figure out who the arsonist is before they can use Scott as an easy out.
Radiant Burn is the final book in Harner’s Fighting Fire series and to say I’m sad to say I’m a bit disappointed. Okay, yes. We finally get to meet Danny and find out his big issues but is it world altering for Scott like I expected it to be after all the build up? Nope. It’s just two guys who have experienced something horrific together, who have come to find peace on their own terms, finally coming together to ask for forgiveness from one another. So then Harner hits me with the twist of Scott being the main subject of the fire investigation. So I’m thinking, yes, this is it. This is where the real action comes in. The author is about to blow me away, just like she’s done throughout every other book in this series. And… nope. Didn’t happen. See, I’m pretty sure since the whole fire thing isn’t resolved at the end of the book, it’s going to be the subject of the big combined finale, but that’s not my real problem with this story. My issue is that after a year of heart pounding ups and downs—and really Scott and Robby have had one hell of a ride—this story wasn’t really comparable to the others in intensity or angst or even emotional drama. I love these guys more today than I did on day one. If one anything, that’s the best thing this story has going for it, but the story just doesn’t fall in line with the others in this series.
One thing I was surprised by—and thanks for this—was the return of Carl. You may remember him as the guy who lived with Jillian in Firestorm, the first book in the series. I’ve been wondering what happened to that guy. And the big reveal as to who he actually is… yeah, I didn’t see that one coming.
Now, I don’t want you to think that the story isn’t good. It’s quite informative and I’m pretty sure it’s meant to leave the door open for a bigger event to come. Scott being part of the investigation is a game changer, if nothing else, but I just feel like it’s missing the oomph that the rest of the series has. Obviously, you’ll need to make the decision for yourself because if you’ve been following along with the Pulp Friction world, you need to read this one. It’s a must. I’m just hoping for an extraordinary finale.