American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land Audiobook, by Monica Hesse Play Audiobook Sample

Download American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land Audiobook

American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land Audiobook, by Monica Hesse Play Audiobook Sample
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Author: Monica Hesse Narrator: Tanya Eby Publisher: Dreamscape Audio Length: Release Date: July 2017 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781520075877

Publisher Description

Shocked by a five-month arson spree that left rural Virginia reeling, Washington Post reporter Monica Hesse drove down to Accomack County to cover the trial of Charlie Smith, who pled guilty to sixty-seven counts of arson. But Charlie wasn’t lighting fires alone: he had an accomplice, his girlfriend Tonya Bundick. Through her depiction of the dangerous shift that happened in their passionate relationship, Hesse brilliantly brings to life the once-thriving coastal community and its distressed inhabitants, who had already been decimated by a punishing economy before they were terrified by a string of fires they could not explain.

Incorporating this drama into the long-overlooked history of arson in the United States, American Fire re-creates the anguished nights that this quiet county spent lit up in flames, mesmerizingly evoking a microcosm of rural America—a land half gutted before the fires even began.

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  • “The propulsive pleasure of American Fire rests in author Monica Hesse’s decision not to force a thing…Hesse gathers the pieces but leaves connections to the reader. When they snap together, the feeling is a bit like gazing upon a blaze you’ve just lit.”

    - Time
  • “Has all the elements of a lively crime procedural: courtroom drama, forensic trivia, toothsome gossip, vexed sex. It also happens to be a very good portrait of a region in economic decline.”

    - New York Times Book Review
  • “Hesse’s spare but memorable prose sketches the true story of a once-prosperous county now in sharp economic decline, its derelict buildings easy targets for Smith and Bundick…Hesse can do with a handful of words what other writers do with paragraphs, and as she traces the intersecting paths of the amateur arsonists and the authorities determined to capture them.”

  • “A true-crime saga that works in every respect.”

    - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


  • BookPage Top Pick for July
  • Elle Magazine Pick
  • Time Magazine Pick
  • Entertainment Weekly Pick
  • Amazon Best Book of the Month
  • New York Times Editor’s Choice

Customer Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " This book reads like a novel, but instead it is a true story of a crazy love story / crime spree in small town America. Author Monica Hesse of the Washington Post writes in a way that will keep you engrossed in this tale to the end. Unfortunately, there are as many questions unanswered in the end as there were in the beginning. Still, it's a good, interesting read. "

    - Julie, 5/11/2018

About the Author

Monica Hesse, a columnist at the Washington Post, is the author of several acclaimed books. including Girl in the Blue Coat and American Fire.

About the Narrator

Tanya Eby is a novelist and an audiobook narrator who has earned several AudioFile Earphones Awards and been nominated for the Audie Award. She has a BA degree in English language and literature and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.