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Extended Audio Sample The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder and the Agony of Engine 57, by John N. MacLean Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John N. MacLean Narrator: Pete Larkin Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The Esperanza Fire started October 26, 2006, in the San Jacinto Mountains near Cabazon, California. It destroyed 41,000 acres and dozens of homes and cost taxpayers $16 million dollars. But by far the highest costs of the conflagration were the lives of the five-man crew of Engine 57, the first engine crew ever killed fighting a wildfire blaze. Fire and super-heated gases had erupted in a freak “area ignition,” sending flames racing across three-quarters of a mile in mere seconds, engulfing the crew and the house they were defending.

The deadly blaze was quickly determined to be no accident. Within a week, serial arsonist Raymond Lee Oyler was arrested and charged with almost two dozen counts of arson—and five counts of first degree murder. The Esperanza Fire recounts with drama and precision the gripping details of the fire and of Oyler’s precedent-shattering trial and its stunning conclusion.

John Maclean spent more than five years researching the Esperanza Fire and covering the trial of Raymond Oyler. The result is a thrilling, moment-to-moment insider’s chronicle of that devastating and tragic inferno and the pursuit, capture, and prosecution of the man who intentionally set it.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Maclean is a fine storyteller…He writes a chiseled prose that does justice to the action.”

    Washington Post

  • “At a time when wildfires and arson continue to haunt us, this new book by John McLean deserves a wide audience.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “For readers interested in firefighting and wildfires, this book will fascinate.”

    Library Journal

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About the Author

John Norman Maclean is an award-winning author and journalist who has written about wildland fire for more than fifteen years. Before turning to fire, Maclean was a journalist with the Chicago Tribune, most of that time as diplomatic correspondent in Washington. His first book, Fire on the Mountain, was featured in two documentaries by Dateline NBC and the History Channel. He has also written Fire and Ashes and The Thirtymile Fire, both widely celebrated and critically acclaimed. He and his wife divide their time between Washington, DC and the West.