Ask anyone how they feel about firefighters and I guarantee they will immediately rush to shower these outstanding citizens with praise. While not everyone always trusts or idolizes other public servants, no one has a shadow of a doubt that firefighters are true heroes. And for good reason–it’s hard not to place someone on a pedestal when they regularly venture into burning buildings, fearlessly risking life and limb to save people and their homes. However, in all that admiration it can also be easy to forget that they are still real people with hopes and dreams just like me and you, a truth that Geonn Cannon’s upcoming novel, Into the Furnace, so poignantly captures.
Into the Furnace follows the daily life of Seattle resident Kelly Lake, part-time firefighter and full time bad-ass. As if saving lives for a living isn’t already enough to make her a paragon among men, she’s also fiercely loyal, devilishly charming, and passionate as all hell. Working both as a firefighter and a bartender, Kelly is all too familiar with the way the world works and refuses to let anyone underestimate her on the basis of being a woman (especially considering that thanks to years of endurance training she can physically dominate just about anyone who would be foolish enough to give her lip). Despite her many charms, however, Kelly is nothing if not human. While in matters of the mind she’s as level-headed and composed as anyone can be, she finds herself frequently trapped in worry and doubt when it comes to issues of the heart. She’s in love with a beautiful woman but can feel herself slipping away and, though very close to her family, lives with a deep wedge between herself and her mother that has only seemed to grow after the tragic death of her firefighter brother, Casey.
After a disastrous fire consumes a low-income building and claims the life of six adults and five children, Kelly’s own brush with death while attempting to rescue the doomed residents leads her to grasp on to what she feels is a new lease on life. She curses herself for ever doubting the love she has for her girlfriend Courtney and thrusts herself fully into the relationship once more, only to have life begin to crumble around her as Courtney starts to pull away, the media closes in unjustly on the firehouse for its inability to save the eleven victims of the tragic fire that nearly killed her, and a dark secret threatens to change her family forever. In a desperate hope to keep life worth living, Kelly digs deep inside herself to examine what it is she truly wants and what it means to be happy in a world where people set fire to the things they are meant to love.
Written with honesty and emotion that cuts to the bone, Into the Furnace is a remarkably powerful tale of self-exploration and discovery. Rather than masquerading solely as a love story, Into the Furnace offers a candid portrayal of what it means to grow through love and loss into the person you are meant to be. The novel deals very frankly with themes of death and betrayal, sexuality and passion, and shows that even if you’re the kind of person who would throw themself into a fire to save another’s life, sometimes the hardest thing you will have to do is have the courage to save your own. Coupling these themes along with the excellent representation of bisexuality throughout the narrative (in a time when that is a concept all too easily erased from public discussion) makes this easily one of the best samplings of queer fiction I’ve had the pleasure to read in a very long time. I could not recommend it more, and sincerely hope that upon its release in November Into the Furnace will light the same fire in each of your hearts that it has already lit in mine.
Into the Furnace
Into the Furnace can be purchased here
A closeted pansexual feminist from a family of bible-thumping conservatives, Tabitha is an undergraduate English major with seven beautiful furbabies and more Sailor Moon collectibles than sense. Her hobbies include (but certainly are not limited to) reading, writing, and taking absurdly long baths. She currently resides in the middle of nowhere, which is naturally the perfect place to be when it comes time to read books for a living.