• The Fireman

  • A Novel
  • By: Joe Hill
  • Narrated by: Kate Mulgrew
  • Length: 22 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (7,880 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 $51.33

Buy for $51.33

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

From the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman.

The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it's Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies - before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she's discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: They would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob's dismay, Harper wants to live - at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine, too...if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads - armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn't as alone as she fears: A mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow firefighter's jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as the Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted...and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman's secrets before her life - and that of her unborn child - goes up in smoke.

©2016 Joe Hill (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Fireman

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,373
  • 4 Stars
    2,182
  • 3 Stars
    855
  • 2 Stars
    312
  • 1 Stars
    158
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5,103
  • 4 Stars
    1,499
  • 3 Stars
    498
  • 2 Stars
    127
  • 1 Stars
    76
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,967
  • 4 Stars
    1,878
  • 3 Stars
    873
  • 2 Stars
    359
  • 1 Stars
    202

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

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

GOD'S WAITING ROOM; AKA FLORIDA

GLEN BECK BURNS TO DEATH ON TV, HIS GLASSES MELTED TO HIS FACE
This was a miss for Mr. Hill. He had plenty of pop culture from my age and I liked the references to Ray Bradbury. I was kinda of wondering why someone of his age would be enthralled with Mary Poppins? It is going to take more than a spoon full of sugar to get through this, as the book, smolders more than burns..

Mulgrew, like usual was a plus. She is one of my favorites.

121 people found this helpful

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

What can I say

I don't know where to start. Predictable, uninspiring, author seems to think that the more foul language and gore the better, just like his dad he always has to get political (liberals always good and conservatives bad). He's not a very good writer, so he fills his book with foul language and his PC crap. Oh did I say Predictable!

110 people found this helpful

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

Read Steven king's the Stand instead

Would you try another book from Joe Hill and/or Kate Mulgrew?
Maybe if available at the library.

Any additional comments?
Maybe it's better to read then listen to this audio book?

I loved the author's previous book. While it was clear he was inspired by Steven King in his earlier work, it didn't jar you out of the story as much as this book. So if you loved The Stand, you'll like this book (maybe). As long as the blatant rip off of plot devices or characters doesn't bother you. It's not plagerism, it's not homage, it's just obnoxious. For examples, see the bottom of this review.

Aside from this, the absence of consistent world building was jarring. I was intrigued at the concept (the infection itself was pretty original). But that's where it ends. The post-infection world was 2-dimensional. For example, a year after the world fell apart, an important scene was premised on both the "911" system still functioning normally, and that the system would send an ambulances on the word of someone saying, "I'm not infected." Also there aren't any people unless directly related to the action. It reminded me of the scene in Truman where action is only where Truman is, and everything outside of that scene doesn't exist. Several times the plot relied on cell phones still functioning when there was no electricity for months. In addition there was a jarring lack of character motivation. I kept waiting for an explanation of why several characters personalities changed radically. (This might be worse in the audible version). My final example is the complete "blind faith" that the island is a haven, not one character voices hesitation in going there (until they are already there.) . Have they ever read a book or seen a movie about governments rounding up infecteds? In a world where "cremation" teams exist, it is unbelievable that they could travel hundreds of miles without major interruptions.

Okay- similarities with the Stand
Both books are post apocalyptic after an infection spreads across the world.
Both books have a deaf mute character named nick;
Both books have a pregnant heroine, and there is a question whether the baby will be infection free
Both pregnant heroines find a love interest that is not the baby's father;
Both books rely on survivors making their way to a semi-godlike safe haven.
Both books have the safe-haven leader being in a coma, waking briefly and passing on vital information and then dying
Both books have a "long walk" portion where our heroes have to walk hundreds of miles
Both treks include a domesticated animal;
Both books have 1 of the group getting seriously hurt on the way;
Both books use the phrase "my life for you"
Both books have characters who are originally in a jail and the "locked up and how they got free" story;
Both books (as do many King books) have a human character gone "crazy" and trying to kill our Heroes (There is NO explanation for Jacob going homicidal psychopath).
I could go on

PS yes, i know who joe hill is

75 people found this helpful

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

THIS BOOK IS HORRIBLE!!!

this is such a terrible book. the story is about a contagious disease that makes people spontaneously combust and catch fire. but the author wants you to believe that a small group of people are able to overcome the disease by singing along as a group at Church. i guess if you like that kind of thing you "may" like this book. but it's too much for me. I can't even bring myself to listen to the book anymore. way too touchy-feely. the only reason I got the book was because it was recommended so I decided to take a chance on it. I really wish I hadn't. I wouldn't waste a credit on this book.

68 people found this helpful

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

Retread of old Stephen King ideas

The best part of this audible book is the narrator. Kate Mulgrew is now one of my hero's. Her gravelly voice is beyond captivating.

The worst part of this book is the character development. An example is the husband wife interaction that starts things off... On one hand you have a do no wrong perfect wife. A woman that can't do anything but help everyone. On the other hand you have a 100% selfish husband that is crazy. Intent on getting his way and blaming his wife for all of his ills. The absolute extreme in which these characters embody good and evil hits the realm of the ridiculous and then keeps going.

A close second to character development in the running for 'worst aspect of this book', is the plot. The story is so confused. Hill has episodes that are held together by some time line, but the timeline is vague. Hill dives into EXTREME detail. Just like his father, he has a bad habit of batting the smallest thoughts past their welcome. Neither Stephen King or Joe Hill have ever figured that what is their greatest strength (the ability to focus on nuanced narratives) can also quickly turn into their greatest faults (boring over kill).

This is a horrible book. Disjointed. 2 dimensional characters. A plot that is confusing. And repeated instances of the author mistakenly thinking that over using his best gift is better than showing restraint and letting it peak out in rare moments.

67 people found this helpful

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

Too childishly written.

I am a huge fan of Joe Hill. With that said, I was not enthused by this book at all. I decided to continue listening, however, in hopes that it would get better. It did not. Kate Mulgrew is a wonderful narrator. I really liked her voice and she played all of the parts very well.

66 people found this helpful

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

Not interesting at all :(

OK Joe has the talent to write but the story was terrible on so many levels. I’d need a double scotch to be able to deal with the protagonist Harper. Her everything Mary Poppins was killing me. She was, 1/3 grown woman, 1/3 nurse,1/3 grown woman enthralled with children’s story. She is a pregnant nurse who becomes a gymnast in the latter part of her pregnancy. Throughout the whole story her method dealing with and resolving difficult situations was to sing a Mary Poppins song. Walt Disney and P.L. Travers should sue Joe Hill.

Draco Incendia Trychophyton had the potential to be an interesting disease. Instead it was a back drop with barely 15 minutes of uninformative discussion. Nothing on a reputable research on the transmission of the disease or how people chose to fight the disease. What is discovered by a cult of people is singing nursery rhymes and pop music high will lessen the dangers and give them a euphoric "high" People who do not make the connection between their emotions dragon scale … well they go up in flames.

The book is to long for all practical purposed and contains NO real action. We are there from the conception of Harper's baby to the delivery of the baby and it was grueling. We endure 9 months of pregnancy with a group of saccharinely sweet infected people living in fear of the cremation squad. The cremation squad are fanatics incense to eradicate the infected people. The irony, the leader goes by the name Marlboro man who of course smokes cigarettes and one of his groupies is Jacob, the now deranged husband of Harper.

For the younger generation, the Marlboro man was an advertising character created by a cigarette manufacture. The Marlboro was a filtered cigarette, which was considered feminine. So they created an advertisement depicting a rugged cowboy smoking. As a side note whenever Jacob and Harper get together sparks fly.

In the end Joe illustrates the most frightening threat is the one we present to ourselves. That is a laborious 22 hours and 22 minutes of discussions that was agonizing to endure to illustrate the inhumanity of man and the journey man makes to retrieve the hope in Pandora’s box.

I was listening and became enthralled with my cloths ironing (LOL) before I realized that I missed hours of the story. I read a few reviews and discovered it was one of actions parts but not worth going bad to read how it unfolds.

I read this for the underlying sense of impending threat of the unknown usually presented in Hill’s novels. Instead I was bored by the “musical”, a poor musical of May Poppins.

59 people found this helpful

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

Gave Up

Sounded like a great story premise, but just could not get into it. Extremely slow moving plot and very little tension. At 1/3 of the way through the book when the main storyline was focused on the mystery of someone stealing a bag full of worthless personal items, I decided this one wasn't really going anywhere.

Written by anyone else, I doubt this title would have been published, or at least would have been drastically edited to focus the plot.

Fans of Stephen King will probably appreciate the references to his works, and maybe that will be enough to carry the story for them. But this book fell really flat for me. Very disappointing.

57 people found this helpful

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

Better than Heart-Shaped Box?

Believe it! He's almost as good as his Daddy! Keep 'em coming Joe! Kate Mulgrew was an amazing narrator by the way. 5 stars Red!👏👍

57 people found this helpful

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

As someone else said...disapointing

I've read Horns and Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill, as well as a graphic novel collection of his. This novel is not up to the same level of quality. There are so many cliches and tropes in this novel: The disease that may not be a disease, the quiet brooding loner, the lovely young lady thrown into strange circumstances, the abusive husband who will show up again later in the book.

Kate Mulgrew does a good job of narrating the book and I would give another one by her a try.

56 people found this helpful