5 stars for August Fire by Kasey Riley

 

August Fire is a departure from the first two books that I have read by Kasey Riley. “Desperate Endurance” and “Skeleton Trail” both centered around endurance riding, mystery, and bad dudes. The blurb for this book seemed quite different, I was curious to see how she handled it. I was not disappointed!

The book starts off like many traditional romances—Doyle is a hunky man, Stephanie, a beautiful woman—both are running away from former love gone wrong; neither seeks the attraction they feel for the other, neither are able to trust. There is conflict, but they find themselves thrown together in inevitable situations, and gradually the tension and magnetism grows.

Fires start springing up in the area, and one night the two of them find themselves driving back roads together, intent on rescuing livestock from the latest inferno. Unwittingly they come upon the arsonist, but they assume he is just a firefighter lighting a backfire. After they pass him, Stephanie looks back, and realises that the man has deliberately set fire on both side of the trail, cutting off any chance of them driving back out. They are trapped.

From there on, the story line takes a deadly turn. The arsonist knows they could recognise him and he is determined to make sure that never happens. They find themselves in a fight for their lives, and it doesn’t end when they escape certain death, by the using ingenuity and Stephanie’s knowledge of the area to save themselves from the fire.

The book gives you a look into the mind of the arsonist—why he lit his very first fire as a child, why he continued to do so until he became addicted to the thrill of the burn. What starts out as resolve not to be caught, becomes a determination to destroy the two people who have foiled his efforts to eliminate them. He is devious, and willing to take anyone out as he targets Doyle and Stephanie.

Ironically, I read this book while the area where I live has been experiencing an explosion of wildfires cause by nature. Before we retired, I was a rancher’s wife, and I well understand the devastation that fires wreak on livestock and range. I can only imagine how terrifying it would be to be caught in a wildfire with no way out. Riley did a wonderful job of portraying the situation, making me feel like I was caught up in it.

But she also put other realist elements into the story. I had to cringe at the honesty she wrote into the bout of food poisoning that Stephanie experienced. And I loved Doyle’s matter of fact reaction and consideration as he dealt with it all.

Kasey Riley has proven to me that she is a talented, multi-faceted author. I will be looking for her next book when it comes out.

August Fire is a great, quick read. I suggest you do not miss it!!

This book can be purchased on Amazon.com by clicking here.