Summary

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 67 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.
©2017 Monica Hesse (P)2017 Dreamscape Media, LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Julie M. Badger on 18-10-17

As an Eastern Shore person, I was keen to

read this story as it unfolded in my neighborhood.

The story is good and well researched and well-written. My only negatives were several misspelled place names and the butchering of place names the reader managed.

Still, a good read.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Eileen Votava on 04-11-17

Truth is always stranger than fiction

If you didn't know this was a true story, you'd think it was a very unlikely piece of fiction. Very interesting tale presented in an interesting way.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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