Fire Lover by Joseph Wambaugh
A True Story

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Synopsis

From master crime writer Joseph Wambaugh, the acclaimed author of such classics as The Onion Field and The Choirboys, comes the extraordinary true story of a firefighter who may have been, according to U.S. government profilers, "the most prolific American arsonist of the twentieth century."

Growing up in Los Angeles, John Orr would watch in awe as firefighters scrambled to put out blazes with seeming disregard for their own lives. One day he would become a fireman himself, and a good one. As a member of the Glendale Fire Department, he rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a fire captain and one of southern California's best-known and most-respected arson investigators, as well as a writer of firefighting articles and finally of a fact-based novel. But there was another, unseen life, one that included many women, a need for risk, and a hunger for recognition.

While Orr busted a string of petty arsonists, there was one serial criminal he could not track down. The fire lover used the same simple yet devastating device and was unerring in his execution. His lethal handiwork led to the death of four innocent people and countless millions of dollars worth of property damage. Homes, retail stores during business hours, fields of dry brush in stifling summer heat -- little was safe from his obsession to see them burn.

But after years of terror and destruction, he would make a mistake. He would leave behind a precious clue that investigators would use to lead them to the true identity of the fire lover, to the shock and disbelief of the firefighting community.

Chilling, colorful, and vivid, Fire Lover is Joseph Wambaugh at his best. He explores the making of a deviant personality, the fascinating intricacies of fire science, the uneasy relationship between firefighting and law-enforcement communities, and a legal system gone haywire.Based on his trademark meticulous research, interviews, case records, and thousands of pages of court transcripts, Wambaugh fashions a powerful narrative. You will never look at fire the same way again.

 

About Joseph Wambaugh

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Joseph Wambaugh, a former LAPD detective sergeant, is the New York Times bestselling author of The Onion Field, The Blooding, The Choirboys, and many other fiction and nonfiction works. He has won a number of awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe award and the Rodolfo Walsh Prize for investigative journalism. He lives with his wife in California.
 
Published April 1, 2002 by William Morrow. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Crime, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Fire Lover

Publishers Weekly

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That same year, Orr was appointed fire captain and began writing a "fact-based novel" about a serial arsonist who turns out to be a firefighter—and in it Orr revealed certain facts about the unsolved arson case that he couldn't have known through his work.

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Book Reporter

His next attempt was with the Glendale fire academy, and that time John Orr completed the program, becoming a full-fledged fireman, and from that point on nothing stood in his way.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Fire Lover: A True Story

The Best Reviews

Fans of true crime will want to read this account that never slows down as FIRE LOVER: A TRUE STORY is Mr. Wambaugh at his finest.

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Reader Rating for Fire Lover
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