It has been six months since Edward Dingus escaped from maximum security prison with the help of his boyfriend Raul, aka The Mad Bombardier. Now that he is firmly on the villainous side of the law, Edward feels like it is time he tried out some criminal activity on his own, without relying on Raul to help take care of things. Edward has been working hard to control his ability, a reverse empathy that allows him to push his emotions onto others, but it is taking some time to get the hang of it. But Edward is determined to show that he can stand on his own and decides to take on a bank job.
Things are going well until they fall apart, at which point Edward learns that Raul has been kidnapped by a new super villain in town, Maggot. While Maggot’s stated goals of securing fairer treatment for villains may seem reasonable, his methods for achieving those goals are merciless and murderous. Maggot wants to take advantage of Edward’s abilities, and he has no problems holding Raul hostage to ensure Edward’s compliance. Now Edward has to figure out how to stop Maggot and save his boyfriend before they both lose their lives.
Where There’s Fire is the second book in Cari Z’s Panopolis series and the direct follow up to Where There’s Smoke. In the first book, we meet Edward and Raul and see the beginnings of their relationship, as well as learning how Edward ends up with his powers. This story then picks up shortly thereafter and assumes a basic understanding of their relationship and the Panopolis world, and is therefore best read after the first book.
I really enjoyed this follow up, even more than the first book. This one is a bit longer and we already have some familiarity with the world building and their relationship, both areas I felt like weren’t totally developed in the first story. So now that the basics are established, I felt this one takes off a bit more. I continue to really like the world that Cari Z has created, and I like how it plays with the ideas of good and evil. The good guys aren’t necessarily totally good, and the bad guys aren’t all evil. And there is a lot going on in Panopolis that the leaders definitely don’t want to shine a light on. So I like the way this series continues to play with that line. I also like the mix of playfulness with the more serious elements, and I think the story really works as a light and fun superhero story with some nice underlying depth.
I once again listened to this in audio with Nick J. Russo as narrator. He continues to do well with this series and the voices remained nicely consistent with the first book, as well as true to the characters. The tone and pacing are good and the story flows really well. Russo keeps up the suspense and energy in the right parts of the story. I still feel Raul’s voice is a little overly deep and drawling, but overall I think the audio is very enjoyable. This is a shorter story, so it is nice quick listen and a great way to enjoy the book.
The third book in the series shifts things to a new character and I am REALLY excited for that. This story takes things in an interesting direction and I am looking forward to seeing it play out in the third book. So I am definitely a fan of this series and can recommend it, particularly if you are a super hero fan like me.