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Through the Fire by Shawn Grady

Reviewed by Dale Lewis

"...an exploding blend of extreme action, sweet romance, and constant danger, to say the least."

Relying on his experience as both firefighter and paramedic, first time novelist Shawn Grady pens a sizzling suspense thriller.

Aidan “A-O” O’Neill is the son of a fireman and possesses an inner inkling about fires. This ability often manifests itself with Aidan taking reckless risks because firefighting burns in his blood. Aidan is suspended when he defies orders attempting to rescue a child thought trapped, nearly getting a rookie firefighter killed.

His forced weeks off turn into just a few days when he’s called back to Reno to help combat an arrogant arsonist targeting his beloved city. Teaming with beguiling Julianne Caldwell, a fire-prevention analyst who knows more than she's letting on, Aidan must now discover where his trust will be placed. Clouding his vision is inability to fully recover from his dad’s death as a firefighter. Although haunted by visions of hell and paralyzed when he faces the fires, Aidan pushes forward on the daily firefighting missions with the need to defeat the arsonist.

Shawn Grady, uses familiar, repetitive words to help indoctrinate the reader to the firefighter’s language and work environment. (The story brought back images and memories of the vintage TV show “Emergency 51” and recently released movie, “Fireproof.”) The life of a firefighter is certainly not a glamorous one, as often assumed. At times, Grady gives the reader too much extra verbiage with the firehouse details.

The story’s protagonist, Aidan O’Neill, is cocky, confident, self-righteous, bitter and lonely and yet the reader will be able to identify with him. The supporting cast is well-rounded and easy to empathize with, in regard to their personalities and stories. The underlying romance adds to the redemptive flow and healing process as Julianne and Aidan wrestle with personal issues that affect their individual lives and their work together.

The author’s descriptive, imaginative word pictures help recreate life and death situations in Through The Fire. Shawn Grady’s debut novel is an exploding blend of extreme action, sweet romance, and constant danger, to say the least.


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Dale Lewis now mans the front desk at the EFCA (The Evangelical Free Church of America) National Office in Minneapolis, MN. He was the graphic designer/pre-press production artist for over twelve years before being asked to step into this new role. Prior to that, he was the publications manager at his alma mater, Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN in the public relations office as well as the adviser to the college’s yearbook. He's a director/actor/writer for the Hope Church (Oakdale, MN) adult drama worship team and was the senior editor of the church newsletter. He's also written two collections of poetry, “Whispers of Assurance” and “On Life: Constant Communion Without Ceasing” as well as a devotional entitled “Eternal Education.” He and his family live in Oakdale, Minnesota.