Primal Threat, by Earl Emerson (Ballantine, $24.95) Zak Polanski is a Seattle Fireman, and we see him through traumatic car wrecks that shape his rescue efforts, causing him to be a bit too involved. He's the best in the department for extracting car crash victims, but the memories of earlier wrecks haunt him. He rescues the lovely Nadine, and has a short lived affair with her, unable to reconcile with her elite attitudes. When Zak confides his mother didn't really seek treatment for her second round of cancer (the first had bankrupted the family), Nadine exclaims "no-one dies in America for lack of health care, do they?"
Zak has led a group of fellow firemen and bikers to the trail to Salmon la Sac, to prepare for a bike marathon. The trails are closed for late summer fire danger, but the group decides to continue with the trip. Nadine's resentful ex-boyfriend and her brother have followed our bikers into the dry baked woods to harass the team. Quickly, resentments build, the pranks take on a lethal turn in the tinder dry forest. When one of the drunken bullies dies in a fall, it all turns deadly.
Out-numbered by the elite Mercer Island frat boys in over powered cars and SUVs, the bikers pedal for their very lives. The forecasted wild fires catch up with the firemen, who aren't trained to deal with anything other than a house fire, unless it is to get away from it. On the lowest gear on the steepest slope, one lick ahead of the flame.
I really raced through Primal Threat, I felt as if I needed to lean forward to help the bikers up the hill ahead of the flames.
Earl Emerson, himself a Lieutenant in the Seattle Fire Department, knows the world of Firefighting and the inner workings of the department hierarchies. Working the Central District has given him entry to some of Seattle's poorest and wealthiest homes. Increasingly, his novels have been taking on a social statement, this time he skewers the ultra-rich of Mercer Island and their presumptive entitlements. I'm seeing a trend in the current batch of thrillers being published this spring, strong social justice themes as opposed to generic crime sprees. It's a welcome change.
Signed copies of Primal Threat are available at Jackson Street Books and fine Independent Bookstores everywhere!
democommie™™™™®© will begin training later this season.
I hope everyone's gotten their March 1st weekend cleared so you'll be able to attend HAIRSTOCK 08: Saturday, March 1st, Jackson Street Books will be hosting a showing of the movie Hair at Central Cinema in honor of the General. Central Cinema is a dinner theater, with food and drinks brought to your table. The bistro opens at 6pm, and the movie shows at 7pm, and again at 9pm.
$5 Ticket at the door.
Here's your chance to party with J.C. Christian before booking your visit to the spatula man.