The Spark: A Novel

John Kenny
Incendiary Publications (2013)
ISBN 9780992070809
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (12/13)


John Kenny’s “The Spark,” although fiction, is informative and based on the reality of Kenny’s twenty-five-year career as a firefighter. The book provides compelling insight into the life, culture, and the boredom of routine duties between the action, adventure, drama and danger of actual firefighting.

Kenny draws the reader into the dilemma of his protagonist Donny Robertson as he watches helplessly while his friend and fellow firefighter meets his death, as the result of a suspicious explosion, while attempting to rescue a research scientist in a blazing warehouse inferno. Donny himself becomes the victim of smoke inhalation and is badly burned as the result of the fire. After a year of rehabilitation and therapy, Donny is promoted to Captain of his station, and returns to work.

The results of an arson investigation conclude that the fire was accidental and the case is closed. However, Donny is not convinced. He begins a search for truth and justice that make him the target of conspirators in a plot of corporate intrigue, and contract gunmen.

Kenny’s writing is absorbing and intriguing, his plot is complex and fast moving, and his characters are believable. The background information and technical data on departmental procedures and techniques are enlightening. His firsthand knowledge as a professional firefighter adds validity to Kenny’s writing.

I appreciated the insight into the motivation found among firefighters in their dedication to a cause; regularly putting their lives in risk to serve others. I was also impressed by the comradeship among members of the firefighting team and their willingness to risk their lives for each other.

“The Spark” by John Kenny combines all the elements of a good crime novel: intrigue, conflict, suspense, action, and a touch of romance. John Kenny’s first novel promises to launch him into a stellar new career as a successful writer.  Highly recommended.

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