Strange Fire

Fiction - Thriller - Environmental
384 Pages
Reviewed on 08/31/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Patrick W. Emmett for Readers' Favorite

In Strange Fire by Joel Burcat, Teressa Bruno-Campbell is a bored housewife living in rural Pennsylvania with a husband who is frequently away from home. They allowed Yukon Oil and Gas to drill on their property for which they receive a royalty. Yukon began drilling and fracking the substrata of limestone and shale about a mile and a half from their home. During the drilling, the company contracted to have a fresh-water containment pond built to push water into the well for the fracking process. During construction, weather and pressure from Yukon’s management forced the site manager to release the blow-back water from the well into the containment pond, which it was not designed to do. Teressa accused Yukon of poisoning their well water due to the fracking. The lawyers line up. Yukon has 26-year-old Darius Moore. The Department of Environmental Protection, which issued the drilling permits, has a classmate in the form of Mike Jacobs. They have no love for one another. A local Environment Advocacy group is handling Teressa’s complaint.

The pond contractor goes missing, and Mike Jacobs begins an exciting investigation that takes him on several twists. I liked Strange Fire because it’s a thriller about lawyers and I found the author's depth of knowledge about structural geology fascinating. I also found the book compelling as I have a degree in geology and I love reading books about lawyers. The murder kept you reading to find out what happened to Cordova. The wrap-up was good. It's a shame the Chief was sacrificed and Vlad disappeared but that's the way mysteries work. The author's time spent crafting this novel was well spent. The book has its share of bad guys and they keep you on your toes to the conclusion. Joel Burcat has crafted a must-read book. I recommend you put this on your summer beach reading list.