P'town, P'town: Burning Bright

"Fire Season" by Jon Loomis
Reviewed by David Marshall James

P'town is on fire, baby.

That's Provincetown, Massachusetts, if you've never experienced a suspiciously husky-voiced chanteuse in electric-blue sequins, rasping Cole Porter standards in-between sips of Absolut Citron, at a harbor-side-bistro piano.

P'town-- now even brighter, and gay, all down the main drag.

In spite of it all, Frank Coffin-- acting chief of police-- and his live-in love, Jamie, are infanticipating.

And Frank's wondering whether P'town is any place to raise a kid anymore. After all, it's not exactly a hotbed of procreation. Just hot-- thanks to a rampaging pyro.

It's about as far from Ward and June Cleaver as you can get.

Even though it's October and supposedly the off-season for the summer-rental crowd and the daytrippers, the pyromaniac and the participants in the latest dragfest are just jots on the Acting Chief's worry list.

His Ma's in the Valley View nursing facility, cussing like a longshoreman and setting fires of her own.

His Uncle Rudy (once Chief himself, BTW) is cruising in and out of town, courtesy of a Sasquatch-sized Tongan chauffeur, who's into New Age philosophies, veganism, and the genius of George Gershwin.

What's up with Uncle Rudy and the MD at Valley View? For that matter, what's up with the MD when he's at home?

As for Frank's Cousin Tony-- he's on the Far Side of a major mental meltdown.

Then, the brakes, clutch, and everything else are expiring from exhaustion on Frank's aged Ford Fiesta. At least Jamie's hep into buying (and, better yet, financing) a minivan. The better to transport her up-and-coming child to the virtually childless local parks.

So, Eau Claire, Wisconsin (Frank's fellow officer Lola's hometown), is looking mighty fine to the Acting Chief.

Author Jon Loomis crafts another raunchy, punchy, and decidedly offbeat police procedural, spiced with colorful (from neon-bright fuschia to worn-linoleum green) characters--along with ooh-gobs of sometimes sparkly, sometimes salty local color. The Uncle Rudy/MD and Cousin Tony subplots result in some raucoulsy humorous incidents.

Reading "Fire Season" is like listening to a suspiciously husky, sequin-clad someone singing Cole Porter-- or George Gershwin-- in a harbor-side bistro, while sipping your own specially-aged something.