3 out of 4 stars
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Holy Crap...We’re on Fire! The Brush Truck Chronicles by Diane Vetter and Paul Miller is a look at what happens behind the scenes of firefighting and is written by two of the stars of the book. It is the first in a series but can be read as a standalone novel.
Pablo, Diane and Phil are firefighters from the Mimbres Springs Fire Department on the Triple Nickel brush fire truck, and are used to fighting smaller fires, but have been called up to fight a campaign fire in Nevada. Local wildland fires have been no problem in the past, but this one will take them to another level. Join the team as they show you the different facets to firefighting; from dealing with the aftermath of natural disasters to helping create firebreaks and saving land before the fire gets there, to saving trapped cattle, and basically laying their lives down for complete strangers.
This book was a load of fun to read, and made even more impressive by the fact that even though it is a work of fiction, that these encounters are loosely based on actual events. I don’t think that unless you know or are related to a person in the profession, that you understand the intense pressure they are under, the split-second decisions that they have to make, and the impact they have on people’s lives. This book managed to show part of the downtime they get to have and some of the crazy pranks they pull to boost morale. It also expressed the camaraderie between the different units and how they work together to save property and lives. The story offers an insight into Pablo’s Vietnam experiences, which brings in some sobering moments for anyone who has to try and understand what a person has been through. There is a ghostly element to the story too, and you sometimes wonder how much of what they saw was true. Some of the things that happened to the truck were horrific, and if I was their boss and read this, there would be some serious repercussions!
The format of the book was a little offputting. At the end of each chapter, it would either lead directly to the next chapter on the next page or have a blank page inserted for no reason. You would never know when to expect this, so would scroll too far and back again for no reason. The glossary at the end of the book was a good and bad thing. I enjoyed learning what the colloquial terms meant, but at the same time going back and forth between where you were reading and the glossary to find out what they were talking about was a bit annoying. The tone of the book was fun and light-hearted, but the overuse of exclamation marks was unnecessary. It seemed like every second or third line ended with one. The editing was relatively good, but silly mistakes tended to creep in every now and then.
I took one star off for editing, and was hovering between that second and third star, but decided that the message these heroes were trying to bring across definitely raised the rating. I was actually really surprised to find out about their intense training and the crazy constant physical work they put in during a fire. I thus rate Holy Crap...We’re on Fire! The Brush Truck Chronicles 3 out of 4 stars, and recommend it to anyone interested in firefighting or finding out about the people behind the masks.
Holy Crap ... We're On Fire!
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