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    Review of FIREPLAY by Suzanne Chazin

    G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2003

    It started out as a routine fire in a restaurant basement. But then two firefighters were killed, and New York Fire Marshall Georgia Skeehan must sort through the evidence to determine who is responsible for the arson--and two murders. She is elated when an answering machine tape at the restaurant yields a clear-cut confession from a notorious torch, Michael McLaughlin. But suddenly there are Feds involved, and the fire department is ordered to keep their hands off McLaughlin. He's a confidential informant, and the magnitude of the FBI's case takes precedent over an arson case.

    Georgia, who is a bit hot-headed, is livid over the Feds' high-handedness and finds herself part of the FBI's investigative team. It's the only way they'll keep her quiet. Soon she's working undercover with gangsters and terrorists, she almost gets blown up, and she realizes she has become a pawn in McLaughlin's little game. She also discovers she and McLaughlin have a history she didn't even know about, and the mysteries, lies and dead bodies pile up until Georgia doesn't know who to turn to, who to trust.

    Fireplay is a really outstanding mystery that incorporates elements of a police procedural and a taut, woman-in-jeopardy story. The emotions were honest, and realistic details about fires and arson made me believe, for a couple of hours, that it was really happening. I can't give much higher praise than that. The only thing I didn't care for was the very last twist, which was so far-fetched it killed the believability factor. But it was almost an afterthought, thrown in as details of the mystery were being wrapped up, so it didn't really spoil the story for me.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 12/23/03

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