The Fireman by Joe Hill

I’ll admit it: bacteria and microbes freak me out. I am hyper-vigilant about food safety.  When I have a cold, I won’t shake your hand, but don’t be offended, it’s for your own good.  I wouldn’t say I have mysophobia – the excessive fear of germs – but it is a fear that is definitely capitalized upon by Joe Hill in his new book, The Fireman.

A plague is rapidly spreading throughout society – Dragonscale. Once you contract dragonscale, your body breaks out in black and gold stripes, until – suddenly – you begin burning from the inside out and anything flammable around you goes up, as well.

Harper Grayson is a nurse whose world is halted by the Dragonscale. She goes to the local hospital to help, as she can’t imagine just sitting locked up in her house with her husband, Jakob, doing nothing.  After there are no more patients left to treat at the hospital, as it burned to the ground, Harper returns home and, there, she discovers that “nothing” is not exactly what Jakob has in mind for their path forward.  Will Harper agree to his plan? Will she be beside her husband or need to find her own way in this new world filled with pain and fire?  You’ll have to pick this one up to find out.

The Fireman

From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman.

The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies–before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live–at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads–armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life–and that of her unborn child–goes up in smoke.