• American Fire

  • Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
  • By: Monica Hesse
  • Narrated by: Tanya Eby
  • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (432 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $34.99

Buy for $34.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's 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

What listeners say about American Fire

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    160
  • 4 Stars
    158
  • 3 Stars
    87
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    9
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    150
  • 4 Stars
    109
  • 3 Stars
    73
  • 2 Stars
    30
  • 1 Stars
    13
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    169
  • 4 Stars
    116
  • 3 Stars
    66
  • 2 Stars
    17
  • 1 Stars
    8

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting read

Interesting read , hard to believe its true . Not for those looking for beautiful prose or to get swept away to another land by a narrative this is not your book. Nevertheless the Author does a good job to give adequate background and provide enough background about the characters thst you feel like you know them.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting Story- Narrator very difficult to listen to

I really liked the arc of the story- alternating between past and present until the two stories collide. The narrator speaks in a very choppy intonation that makes it hard to listen to, but worth the story if you can get passed the first few chapters and get used to it!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good book, Bad Reader

This sounded as if it was read by a robot. She. Pronounced. Every. Word. With. No. Emotion. Siri would have done a better job.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Vanilla telling of what most people know already

This book was simplistic. Maybe that is it's meaning. It was predictable and bland. The reading was close to awful. Not worth your time.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Boring

How am author and reader can take an interesting story and make it tedious is remarkable

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Narration is horrible

If you want to hear Siri read you a book, then this is the book for you! The story is good but the narration is hard to overcome.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Come here

Living in Accomack County since 2012, these fires were all the talk. As a come here from across the MD line with ancestors that landed here in the 17th century, I found the book very interesting. I especially enjoyed the history of what was and is now. I wonder how much just pure boredom played a part in their poor decision to set these fires. It is sad because there are probably hundreds more of once loved but now abandoned homesteads and buildings mingled in with all the burned remnants of the many arsons. There is nothing on the ESVA other than pure beauty and if you live here it is simply the beauty of this county that keeps you here.
Thanks for caring and sharing about an unnerving time in our county.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

The narrator was good atleast?

Yes it was a true story, but the whole thing was kind of flat. no real meaning behind her actions, his yes but hers no. The only reason I got this book was because it was a book club pick.
I am going to ask for a refund, I would never listen to it twice.