Book Review: Fire Sign, M.A. Petterson

Fire Sign Cover


Fire Sign, M..A. Petterson

Summary borrowed from

“A beautiful forensic engineer hiding a tragic past reluctantly teams up with a troubled cop to stop a serial arsonist targeting churches. 

Dr. Anja Toussaint believes that her own dreadful youth foretells who the arsonist is and the shocking motive behind the fires. But Detective Gil Dolan stubbornly sets his sights on a white supremacist previously convicted of arson and just released from prison. 

Unfortunately, when Anja blocks his efforts the arrogant cop sets his own plan into motion that leads them both into a fiery trap. 

* Please note: Fire Sign is a novella and about one quarter the length of regular novel.”


Fires are a tragedy that can strike at a moment’s notice, a small drop of a spark can ignite a fire that can devastate lives in a heartbeat – those are accidental in nature and not something one can predict; then there are other times when those fires are set intentionally with the intent of destruction, this form of fire crime is known as Arson – in fact so much so that where I live just recently a fire destroyed a condominium building displacing several families and killing two.  The young man in question who may have set the fires is being charged with first degree murder for the deaths of those two women along with arson! The logic and reasoning behind his actions is yet to be determined, but the result was devastating for the families and community involved.  One can only hope the one responsible is the one the police have arrested and that justice will be served in a timely fashion.  But then this begs the question of who are the ones investigating the fires, who determines it is arson vs. an accident?  Well those members of the fire service are the ones we hardly hear about – M.A. Petterson has put the arson investigator front and center in her novella Fire Sign.

Dr. Anja Toussaint is known by the fire community, she is tough, but also fighting the gender bias that women don’t belong in the fire department or anywhere near a fire service outside of possibly being a Medic or EMS Personnel.  So when she is called to the scene of a church fire she needs to determine what started the fire, where it started and if it was in fact arson – a fact she quickly figures out to be true!  So then why set fire to a church?  Why go down that road and why destroy something generally held sacred by many?  Those questions are brought up in this easy to read and enjoyable novella.  As someone who has had some first-hand experience on a fire scene I know that there’s a certain amount of chaos that’s involved when a fire is being fought and yet through it all the firemen and women are doing their best to help the investigator determine what caused the fire and preserve that evidence.  This novella both engaged and intrigued me, bringing to the surface questions of the who, why, what, where and when?  These questions that are not answered in this book, and they possibly are or are not answered in those that are following.

Overall, four out of five stars for Fire Sign, there was some components of the novel that were a bit choppy and I really wish the author had added more detail or even a hint as to what happened in Anja’s background more than the angel hair of a hint she dropped.

**I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review**

Obtain Your Copy of Fire Sign from these Retailers

Barnes & Nobles

About the Author, from His website:

The seed for this series goes back to when I attended firefighting school in the maritime service. I got all dressed up in protective gear, strapped on a self-contained breathing apparatus, grabbed a charged 2 ½-inch line and then stepped into a simulated bilge.

On a ship, the bilge is the lowest compartment and located below the waterline. There’s usually a foot or more of water sloshing around mixed with other disgusting stuff. In this particular case the top layer of the bilge water consisted of something quite flammable.

So there I was, standing on a grated catwalk a foot above all this, when everything below me suddenly exploded into a roaring carpet of flame.

I stared at the fiery spectacle in stunned surprise until my mask sooted up and I remembered to open the hose.

Unless you use the correct technique, squirting water on a bilge fire just pushes the flames back and forth. In my case some of the flames snuck around behind me and made things much more exciting than expected.

My poor vision prevented me from following a career in firefighting, but I never stopped admiring the incredibly brave men and women who put their lives at risk every time they get kicked out on a call.

What many don’t know is just how large their hearts are. When they’re not volunteering their time for great charities they’re out raising money to help the less fortunate. Check out the Anja’s Kids link to see one of their favorite causes. Mine, too.

I hope you enjoy my books.

In the meantime stay safe, stay well, and pay a little something forward if you can.

Connect with M.A. Petterson through these Channels

His Website




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