Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hazardous Material By Kurt Kamm : Book Review

*Disclaimer - I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.



Bucky Dawson is a HazMat specialist with Los Angeles County Fire Department HazMat Task Force 103. His station is in Lancaster, CA--an area populated with meth labs and outlaw motorcycle gangs, as well as Edwards AFB, NASA, and top-secret aerospace facilities. 

Bucky--divorced and lonely--struggles with painkiller addiction. One night Task Force 103 is toned out to support a Sheriff's raid on a meth lab. Bucky thinks he sees his sister at the door of a double- wide trailer in the Mojave Desert just before it explodes. 

Bucky's life is in chaos. While he searches for answers to his sister's death, he is drawn into a conflict with the Vagos, who are selling drugs in the Mojave Desert. After a confrontation in which the Vagos nearly kill him, Bucky exacts an unusual revenge that only a HazMat firefighter could accomplish. 

The novel twists and turns, bringing together firefighters, a sinister aerospace engineer, the Vagos -- led by the Dwarf, their seven foot tall Sergeant at Arms, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in a surprise ending you will not anticipate but you will certainly enjoy.

My opinion:

Overall I was very impressed with the research and complete, brutal honesty in this book. This wasn't fluffy chick-lit, or an emotional journey ... it was a dark and ugly look at the reality behind drugs and the brutality of biker gangs. 

As someone who has never delved into those realms, the first chapter was hard to read. It was well written, clear and completely necessary to set-up the rest of the story. But, it was a reality I would have liked to turn away from. 

Of course, the book took off from there. I liked that in this dark underbelly of the Mojave Desert, Bucky wasn't without his own flaws and addiction. He was also struggling, but through the book was able to get back on track and put both his sister and his own demons to rest.

Though I am not in need of being "scared straight", this book would do that. I was glad to read along and see the pieces of this mystery fall into place and applaud Kurt Kamm on his strong character development and fascinating look into a world I am glad to only glimpse in a book. I highly recommend giving both author Kurt Kamm and Hazardous Material a place on your Summer reading list.

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About the Author
Malibu resident Kurt Kamm has used his contact with CalFire, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Ventura County Fire Department and the ATF, as well as his experience in several devastating local wildfires, to write fact-based firefighter mystery novels. He has attended classes at El Camino Fire Academy and trained in wildland firefighting, arson investigation and hazardous materials response.  He is currently riding with Los Angeles County Fire Department’s famed urban search and rescue task force. He is a graduate of the ATF Citizen’s Academy.

One of the Malibu fires, the 60 mile-per-hour Santa Ana wind-driven Canyon Fire, burned to his front door and destroyed the homes of several neighbors. Kamm said the lessons he learned from the County Fire Department while writing his books helped him save his home.

Kurt Kamm has built an avid fan base among first responders. Each of his firefighter mysteries features a firefighter in a particular discipline (wildland, arson investigation, paramedic, hazardous material response, and search and rescue).  His first novel, One Foot in the Black (2008) has become a favorite of firefighters.  Subsequent novels, Red Flag Warning: A Serial Arson Mystery (Aberdeen Bay, 2010) and Code Blood (MCM Publishing, 2012) have won numerous fiction awards (see attached summary). Kamm’s latest book, Hazardous Material, has just been released.  He is currently attending search & rescue training and working on his fifth novel.


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*Disclaimer - I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

Andrea
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