I just finished reading Shawn Grady's debut novel Through the Fire. I met Shawn last April at the Mount Hermon Writer's Conference during breakfast one morning. I found him very unassuming, soft-spoken and engaging. Turned out that several at our table lived within a few hours of each other. We exchanged cards and information about what we wrote and hoped to one day get published. Then Shawn announced with a hand-out of goodies that his novel would be released on July 9th. We were very excited for him. It's wonderful to see that indeed there is hope for new authors getting published.
Shawn's book kept me turning pages. The story drew me in with vivid descriptions and careful character development. Aidan O'Neill struggled with inner ghosts while he and fellow firefighters chased down an elusive arsonist. Things shifted and changed throughout the novel, but never felt predictable with the exception of the growing attraction between Aidan and Julianne. Shawn's writing painted a picture of the intense danger a firefighter faces. Fire scenes built to a palpable level and I found myself there crawling on the floor of smoke-filled rooms, facing flames that "seemed to form faces. Razor teeth like a blacksmith's irons, a wall of glowering eyes encircling me."
Through the Fire is a great read. Oh... and expect to be sent to your dictionary more than a few times. This book will also expand your vocabulary with lines like "... clouds formed a soporific ceiling." And "Piceous smoke surged from the overpass, sunlight coruscating off an overturned semi."
If you read Shawn's book already, leave a comment with your favorite twenty-five cent word from the book.