BOOK REVIEW: WILD INFERNO
Often the books following great debuts are great letdowns. That is definitely not the case with Ault's Wild Inferno. This second entry in the Jamaica Wild series is in many ways even better than the debut, Wild Indigo. Jamaica has grown into her potential as a character and Mountain, Jamaica's wolf has settled down into a companion role. Jamaica's relationship with the Native American community seems to just “fit” better this time out. Make no mistake, this reviewer thought the first book was terrific, but this one seems smoother over all.
In this outing, Jamaica has been called to the Southern Ute Reservation in Southwestern Colorado to work as a liaison between the various tribes present for a sacred ceremony taking place on top of Chimney Rock and the government agencies in the area to fight a raging wild fire. Her first job is to try and locate a man last seen entering the fire zone. What she finds is a fireman trying to out run the approaching fire. Just before the man collapses, he says to Jamaica, “save the grandmother.” She has no idea what the man meant, nor do the other firefighters. However, there are a few people who do know, and are determined to keep Jamaica from finding out the truth. That one statement is the key to much of what happens in the rest of the book.
There is of coarse a mystery to be solved in this book. But Wild Inferno offers so much more to readers. Set against the wild fires burning through the west, the book is a fascinating look at both how the fires burn and how the fires are fought. Also, the Native American ceremony taking place involved several different tribes. It was as interesting look at how individual tribal traditions have managed to survive in spite of governmental policies. And for animal lovers, the relationship between Jamaica and her wolf, Mountain is a special treat.
Readers of Tony Hillerman, James Doss or Nevada Barr should definitely try Ault's books. They won't be disappointed.
REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR
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