Book Review: Consumed by J.R. Ward

Posted December 10, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 6 Comments

Book Review: Consumed by J.R. Ward

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Consumed by J.R. Ward
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Gallery Books on October 2nd 2018
Pages: 409
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Possession, The Shadows, The Bourbon Kings, Blood Kiss, The Beast, Blood Vow, The Chosen, Blood Fury, “Dearest Ivie”, The Thief, "The Rehearsal Dinner", "The Reception", The Savior, Blood Truth, Where Winter Finds You, The Sinner, J.R. Ward, A Warm Heart in Winter, Claimed

First in the Firefighters romantic suspense series and revolving around Anne Ashburn and her passion for firefighting in New Brunswick, Massachusetts.

CAUTION: While I do recommend reading “The Rehearsal Dinner“, part 1, and “The Reception“, part 2, for the background they provide, do NOT read “Part 3, Excerpt from Consumed“, 3. It was so depressing that I almost couldn’t open Consumed, and it is only an excerpt from it anyway. What was the publisher thinking??

My Take

This is not a Black Dagger Brotherhood sort of tale, but more of a “cozy-ish” classic romance of why one should always obey orders and always, always consider that there are two sides to any situation.

Using third person global subjective point-of-view, we hear the thoughts and feel the emotions of a number of characters. Mostly Anne as she agonizes over and over about her dad and mom, her loss, and her realizations. She is right in one way, that you should be your own rock, but she needs to find out that it’s okay to rely on others as well.

It’s an adversarial relationship between the siblings with Anne so angry with their mother and her doormat character. And then again…there’s that change in perspective, from child to adult.

In some ways, this story is annoying, primarily because of Anne. I get that she feels she needs to prove herself as a woman, but it’s gotta be that huge chip on her shoulder that makes her so dang contrary. She’s gotta do everything her way. And I mean everything. She’s so obsessed with her mother’s relationship with her dad, that she refuses to allow anyone in. As for her attitude toward her new job? Crap.

Why would Anne leap to believe anything that bitch Deandra says… WTF? How stupid is this woman?

I love that Danny loves Anne because he sees her as a partner, and not a princess in a tower. As for that farm Danny bought? Sounds like it’s good therapy for him too. God knows he needs it. He’s as bad as Anne at not following the rules.

I like Don’s speech, and he’s right. Investigation is important to find that justice. Anne’s got a good speech too that she delivers to Danny, now if she could just open up.

I will give Anne credit for being tenacious, and that interview she does with Ripkin…oh, yeahhhh. I loved it. He was such a jerk! And Anne just bulldozed on over him, lol. I think this interaction is also a good real-life example when you encounter a jerk like this too! And he’s why Anne and her mother must spend time together. So I reckon I’ll have to give him props for that.

“Mom? I want to be like her.”

It’s an interesting cast of characters, rather clichéd in some ways, but Ward makes them memorable from the bitchiest of the bitches to the ones who always feel second-best. From integrity and honor to the cowardly. And conservative to the man who sounds quite the perv…that ought’a be an interesting story.

Yep, Ward has built the series characters for us in Consumed, and it’ll be interesting to read their stories…of course, Ward’s already taken care of four of ’em and set the stage for three more.

It’s a little obvious about the political machinations, and I do love Thomas’ forthright cynicism and refusal to be pushed into what he doesn’t want to do. As for the mayor pushing how her dad was a firefighter? Yeah, well, Thomas puts that in perspective too…and a good example for us to keep in mind when the politicians are telling us how great they are and how bad their opponents. Ya gotta look beneath that surface. Although, the mayor did surprise me. And I suspect she’s surprising Tom, especially with that criticism she levels at him. Gotta give Tom credit for taking her seriously.

And I’d want any one of them at my back…

The Story

From firefighter to arson investigator. It’s some comedown for Anne Ashburn to this nothing job, a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind…until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny is also setting a blaze, both in Anne and in the increased risks he’s taking. Without Anne, there’s nothing for him.

Until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter.

The Characters

Anne “Sister” Ashburn is/was with the 499. Now she’s an arson investigator who still likes to rock climb blows off her first assignment. Soot is the dog she rescues. Her father, the revered (by others) Thomas Ashburn, Sr, died. Nancy Ashburn is Anne and Thomas’ mother with a love for frills and a daughter who didn’t want them. Uncle Aaron had been their father’s best friend.

Arson Investigation and Fire Inspection Division is…
…Anne’s new job, at the bottom of the totem pole, and where Don Marshall is her angry boss. Bob Burlington had been an investigator until he went too far.

New Brunswick Firehouse No. 499 is…
…Anne’s house and her team includes Daniel “Dannyboy” Maguire; Emilio “Amy” Chavez; Robert “Moose” Miller; Patrick “Duff” Duffy (TJ is his cousin); Deshaun “Doc” Lewis is the engineer; and, Captain Christopher “Chip” Baker is the incident commander. Reggie “Wedgie” Boehner is a newbie. The firemen also double as EMTs and paramedics.

Sol is the stationhouse sergeant they lost. Danny and Mick Roth, who’s in rehab, are the last two roommates left now that Moose is married, and Jack (he’s a SWAT leader) is moving in with his sister. John Thomas is the brother Dannyboy lost a few years ago. Timmy Houlihan is Jack’s second cousin and works crime scenes.

New Brunswick Firehouse No. 617 is…
…the province of Fire Chief Thomas Ashburn, Jr, Anne’s brother and a legend. Damian “Damnit” Reichmann is a walking hemorrhoid who measured his self-worth by how many he pissed off. Chuck Parnesi has a bit of a drinking problem but is a stand-up guy. Vic “Ropes” Rizzo has some hardcore pursuits that find masks handy. He’s also handy with carpentry.

Thomas’ wife, Sheila, left him. Deandra (she got her cosmetology degree and is working as a receptionist on the front desk at Avento Salon) is a disaster.

Brent Mathison is the union president of IAFF Local 5690 who’s chummy with the mayor. Dr Laurie McAuliffe is the psychologist whom Danny has to see. Lieutenant Allen Gould, now retired, explained the “dead-baby run” to Danny.

Officers Peter Andropolis and Mikey Lange are willing to extend professional courtesy only so far. Officer Remy LaSalle covered it up. SWAT has a new BEAR, called Shirley, a.k.a., Big Momma.

Catherine Mahoney is the mayor who wants support from the firemen in her first election — Daddy (he runs Mahoney Technologies) bought her this round when Mayor Greenfield died. Graham Perry appears to be an aide? bodyguard? assistant? Barring is her opponent in this election.

Dr Delgado works at the Metro Emergency Veterinary Clinic.

Charles Ripkin is a billionaire property developer who is very grateful that the city’s firefighters rescued his daughter, Constance, in a suspicious fire. Persephone is Ripkin’s secretary.

Ollie Popper, really Douglas Contare, sells all kinds of stuff in bulk and could be an independent contractor on the black market…or with mob backing. Sterling Broward is a lawyer Ripkin sent to “represent” Ollie.

The Timeout Sports Bar is the bar the firehouses frequent. It’s run by Carl’s widow, Terri. Josefina is a waitress.

The preppies are rude and crude. Debbie Fazio is married to Sal who works at the 508. She also works at the city shelter. Chris and Chilli work at Mounteria, the rock climbing place Anne frequents. Dave Richmond, a serial PITA, is the idiot client who has to emulate Anne. Silvia is the woman’s granddaughter. Teresa La Favreau is a 79-year-old victim, truly gross!

The Cover and Title

The cover is black with thin tangles of fire in reds, orange, and yellow streaming from left to right across the cover. All the text is in white starting with the testimonial at the very top with the title in lower case just above the halfway mark, the author’s name about an inch and a quarter from the bottom and underneath that an info blurb. A nice touch is the flames in the foreground on some of the letters, weaving in and out of the rest.

The title is all about Anne Ashburn being a woman Consumed by her need to be the better “man”, by her lost career, and by her obsession with that bad-boy partner of hers.

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6 responses to “Book Review: Consumed by J.R. Ward

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Kathy. Thanks for sharing your review. I like this genre and so does my sister. I’ll have to tell her to try this author if she hasn’t already.

    • Gallery Books was doing a heavy promotion of the series, including three free novellas, the first two of which were actual short stories while the third was an excerpt of Consumed.

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