It’s not often that you find a solid police procedural couched in dialog that makes you laugh out loud every few pages, but Fire Season by Jon Loomis is just that. Loomis leavens the criminal—and sometimes tragic—events he writes of with snappy patter and the occasional dose of absurdity.
A less accomplished writer might be seeming to undermine the seriousness of the subject at hand: rampant death and destruction are no laughing matter, after all. Loomis, however, juxtaposes the dramatic with the humorous in a way that serves to enhance each. His deliberate, and masterful, use of this technique is a neat reminder that even in the most dire of situations, a little humor can help anchor us in the long view. When used in a crime novel, it’s a nice nod to the fact that this technique is also a coping mechanism not unfamiliar to police officers and others in similarly stressful occupations.
And while the crimes—beginning with the grisly slaughter of seals in captivity, and escalating to multiple arsons, a murder, and international drug trafficking—are depicted with the gravity each deserves, the human relationships are usually laced with levity and warmth, such as between the protagonist, Acting Police Chief Frank Coffin, and his partner, Sergeant Lola Winters:
"Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Lola said, after they’d found five hollow ducks.
“I’m thinking I wish we had a drug dog,” Coffin said.
Coffin nodded. “Not a lot of volume, so something pricey—high quality heroin or coke, maybe.”
“Could be some other smuggling thing,” Lola said. “Diamonds. Krugerrands.”
“And any minute now Cary Grant could jump in through the window,” Coffin said.
Lola punched him in the shoulder.
There have been some other very nice pre-pub reviews, but it really doesn't get any better than this one. Thank you, Ms. Sheridan.