Book Review: Falls Like Lightning by Shawn Grady

Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: July 1, 2011

Book Synopsis as provided by the publisher:

Smokejumper Silas Kent never expected to see pilot Elle Westmore again. In fact, reuniting makes him realize what a mistake he made all those years ago. But before he has a chance to try to make amends, he's called to lead a new crew into battle against a massive fire in the Sierra Nevadas.

And then things go very wrong, very quickly.

A suspicious engine explosion forces the crew to parachute early while Elle barely survives a crash landing. Silas reaches the ground safely, but in beginning a desperate race to reach the downed plane, he soon realizes he has more to fear than just a raging forest fire.


Shawn Grady has offered a fascinating look into the world of those fighting forest fires, from the pilots flying through dangerous conditions to the smokejumpers launching themselves into the sky and parachuting to the edge of a roaring inferno. I have never before read a book that took place in such settings, and the author did an excellent job describing the scenes and using the tension created by fighting fires to great effect.

Unfortunately, while I found that the book started off with great promise, after the first few chapters the introduction of more characters and viewing the story through their eyes (i.e. Bo and then Caleb) slowed down the novel for me and impacted my ability to get caught up in the story. Some of the scenes where the characters relived past occurrences also seemed a bit awkward. Fortunately, the book picked up in pace in the middle, though the ending was wrapped up a bit too neatly for my liking. Overall, though I loved Shawn Grady's first two novels, this one did not quite live up to the same standard for me.

I would still give this novel a solid recommendation, however, as it was entertaining and written with careful attention to detail. 4 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.