cover image Help Wanted: Orphans Preferred

Help Wanted: Orphans Preferred

Earl Emerson. William Morrow & Company, $17.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-688-09333-4

Emerson brings back Mac Fontana ( Black Hearts and Slow Dancing ), fire chief and part-time sheriff in a small Washington town, in a tightly written and suspenseful tale of murder and corruption. One of Fontana's men dies of poisoning, another has gunshots fired at him through his window, a third is the object of an aborted kidnapping. As the fire chief tries to sort out these seemingly unconnected events, he also find himself drawn more and more to the wife of the fire department's paramedic, an attraction that eventually leads him to the revelation of a terrible secret. The author, a Seattle fireman, writes with compelling verisimilitude about fire-fighting and unreels his plot in a distinctive, colorful style. (Mar.)