FBI agent Maggie O’Dell is having a difficult time as “Fireproof,” Alex Kava’s 12th thriller about her, opens.
Maggie is still recovering from the events in the last book, which brought her to Nebraska — author Kava’s home territory. In “Hotwire,” she survived several mishaps, including getting shot in the head, as she investigated happenings in and around the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey.
“Fireproof” (Doubleday, $24.95) takes up several months later, when Maggie isn’t quite her old self, getting blinding headaches that may or may not be related to the gunshot wound.
She also is dealing with a boss she doesn’t like, who apparently doesn’t care for her either because he keeps giving her assignments that she thinks waste her experience and abilities. He also wants her to get a psychological evaluation.
On the home front, she is adjusting to sharing her house with a half brother, firefighter Patrick, whom she doesn’t really know. She’s trying to sort out her feelings for Benjamin Platt, her former doctor and would-be romantic interest if she could relax her guard enough to actually have a healthy relationship.
Then there is the series of fires that have Washington, D.C., on edge. When a body is discovered by a warehouse fire, she is sent to the scene, where she is injured by an explosion, which doesn’t help her headaches. As the investigation proceeds, she tries to figure out if she is seeking a fire-setter/serial murderer or two people whose crimes just happen to overlap. And is someone following her, providing a significant threat to her and everything important in her life?
As if all that weren’t enough, there is the pesky TV journalist who has decided Maggie’s a perfect candidate for a profile piece, another complication she just doesn’t need.
Kava does her usual great job of taking all these story threads plus her extensive cast of characters and weaving a dynamic mystery out of them. Her writing is spare, which sets the right tone and makes this a quick read. That’s all to the good, because it’s one of those books that won’t let readers set it down until every last detail has come to light. I think the Maggie O’Dell thrillers have been getting better with each installment, especially the last three.
Kava will be in our area for a series of readings and book signings. Her Omaha stops are at the Barnes & Noble, 3333 Oak View Drive, at 2 p.m. Saturday, and the Bookworm in Countryside Village, 87th and Pacific Streets, at 1 p.m. July 21. She also will be at the Grand Island Public Library at 6 p.m. Aug. 1.
‘I Am a Man’ event at Ponca
The Friends of the Ponca Carnegie Library will celebrate the book “I Am a Man” by Joe Starita, with a One Book-One Nebraska event on July 15.
Dwight Howe, a member of the Ponca and Omaha tribes, will speak about the history of Chief Standing Bear and the Ponca tribe. The event will start at 2 p.m. at Missouri National Recreational River Resource and Education Center, Ponca State Park, near Ponca, Neb.
For more information, contact Vicky Irby, president of the Ponca Carnegie Library, or Beth Foulks, the library director, at 402-755-2739.
On the Calendar
Reading: Marcia Calhoun Forecki, author of “Hurricane Blues and Other Stories,” 7 p.m. Tuesday, Metro Community College South Omaha Campus Writing Center, 2909 Edward “Babe” Gomez Ave., Room 222 of the Connector Building.
Book discussion: Amiable Adult Readers Discussing Books Almost Always Read by Kids, “The Other Half of My Heart” by Sundee Frazier, 6 p.m. Thursday, the Bookworm.
Book discussion: Sherlock Holmes Book Club, “The Adventure of the Priory School,” 10 a.m. Saturday, the Bookworm.
Speaker/book discussion: Jane Austen Society of Nebraska, Hannah Brockhaus on “Jane Austen: Feminist or Feminine?” and Chapters 30-36 of “Mansfield Park,” 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Countryside Community Church, 87th and Pacific Streets.
Book signing: ReShonda Tate Billingsley, author of “The Secret She Kept ...” and “Say Amen Again,” 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Aframerican Bookstore, 3226 Lake St.
— Events are open to the public and free.
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