It’s surprising how many times a book about fire left me feeling cold.

I bought the audiobook version of Joe Hill’s Fireman, narrated by Kate Mulgrew. This is the second Joe Hill audiobook that I’ve heard performed by Kate Mulgrew. The first was N0S4A2.In both cases I found her execution flawless.

I think the key to making people like an audio version of a book  lies almost entirely with the narrator, the fact that the writer was someone as good as Joe Hill is just an added bonus. Kate Mulgrew has not disappointed me in the least.

The book itself was my third Joe Hill book and coincidentally all three were in audiobook form. I wonder if actually reading them myself will have an impact on how I feel about his writing. It’s a little addictive to hear it all being played out and I have a feeling I would much rather listen to his books than read them although I can’t say why.

The Fireman was the milder of the three books of Joe Hill I’ve come across. I think some of it is due to the subdued nature of the supernatural element in the book and a lot of it is due to the mild nature of the protagonist herself.

I am highly biased towards books with strong, leading characters that have an edge to them. The other two books had exactly that. In this case, the protagonist was a soft-natured, lukewarm, uninspiring nurse who was pregnant throughout the whole story.

What this book is NOT, thankfully, is a long account of a pregnant woman’s hormones and feelings and a walk-through of her prenatal journey. I cannot express my gratitude at the lack of information I received on this lady’s pregnancy. The only thing I cared about less than the protagonist was her uterus and what might be inside it.

If at any point during a story I find myself not at all concerned for the main character’s wellbeing, that book has already gone down to 2 stars in my eyes. I was, however, interested in the more colorful characters that surrounded her. I don’t know if that was done on purpose or not but it was a relief.

What saves the book in my opinion, is Joe Hill’s ability to create storylines in various frameworks.  It takes you through an interesting range of ambience. I felt reminded of  Gone Girl, The Chrysalids, Lord of the Flies, a bit of Resident Evil, and a little pinch of the Walking Dead. Maybe that’s just my way of seeing it.But I can’t think of any other way to describe the journey of this book.

Overall I give it a conservative 3 star rating.




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