Of course, it had local appeal for those of us on the Eastern Shore, but Monica Hesse’s exploration of the 2012-13 arson spree here that damaged 60+ structures was masterful writing. In American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land, the Washington Post reporter used the window of the crime to explore what was happening on a larger scale throughout rural America. And she did it without turning the people she spent time with into caricatures. The investigators, fire fighters, and arsonists all feel like three-dimensional people.
Good, timely writing about what’s happening in the American countryside made this is a shoo-in for the Heartlands Top 10 Best Reads of 2017 and I give American Fire the #8 slot. My interview with Monica Hesse was also fun.
Click on the title link above for my review of the book.