Trial by Fire: A Devastating Tragedy, 100 Lives Lost, and a Fifteen-Year Search for Truth

Scott James. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $29.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-13126-3
Journalist James, the author of two novels under the pen name Kemble Scott, makes his nonfiction debut with this gripping, meticulously researched account of the 2003 Station nightclub fire in West Warwick, R.I., that killed 100 people. On February 20, 2003, pyrotechnics used by the band Great White ignited the walls and ceiling of the Station nightclub, and flammable acoustical foam spread the fire within minutes. In the aftermath, the public was incensed by the loss of life and furious that only three people were indicted. The Station’s owners, brothers Michael and Jeffrey Derderian, and band tour manager Daniel Biechele all made plea deals and received short sentences. Michael served four years in prison, Jeffrey had his sentence suspended, and Biechele served less than four years. But plenty of others shared the blame, notes James, including the fire marshal who certified the building as safe and the manufacturer of the acoustical foam. The only solace for many of the survivors would come from civil suits that were settled by the companies involved for tens of millions of dollars. James draws on his knowledge of the state’s politics and interviews with the principal players to present a complete, affecting picture of the tragedy’s terrible human cost. This is essential reading for true crime fans. Agent: Michael Carlisle, Inkwell Management. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/07/2020
Release date: 10/27/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-6650-4515-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-6650-4516-2
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