A new series heroine marks a welcome development for a veteran author.
Susan Kim Delanceys left her San Francisco university job teaching arson investigation to become the California governors first appointed arson czar. Shes confronted with her most challenging case to datea series of young mothers have been burned to death in their homes, and their newborn infants have vanished.
Jacobss uncluttered, straight-ahead narrative style moves the story along at a fast-moving pace that never lets up on the tension. An auspicious debut.
Kirkus Reviews (8/1/02)
We have reached a new appreciation for the heroism of firefighters, along with police, since the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Fire, which is humankinds greatest civilizing agent and friend, can also be its deadliest enemy. Arson is probably the most difficult crime to solve and bring the perpetrator to justice.
In Flash Point, a serial arsonist makes fire investigation as dangerous as fire fighting. Author Nancy Baker Jacobss research involved attending an arson investigators class at the California Fire Academy, during which she learned much about the psychology of arson and observed many of the detection techniques described in the book. She even donned protective gear to throw a Molotov cocktail at an abandoned building. (Due to gloves four sizes too big, she was unable to throw hard enough to break the gasoline-filled bottle. Thus, my one and only attempt to be an arsonist fizzled, she says.)
In addition to interviewing many fire experts and firefighters acknowledged in the book, Jacobss research included visits to South Korea and the DMZ to get a feeling for Korean culture, half of her biracial heroines heritage. For a previous nonfiction book, Babyselling, she investigated all aspects of both legal and black market adoption, also crucial to the plot of Flash Point.
Nancy Baker Jacobs is the award-winning author of eleven crime novels, including the Devon MacDonald private eye series, plus six nonfiction books under another name. She has worked as a private detective, a college professor, and a journalist. Jacobs lives in the Monterey Bay Area with her husband and now writes full time.