American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse
Imagine a five-month long crime spree in which no one is killed or even seriously injured. This happened recently on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, in rural Accomack County, once wealthy and now full of abandoned buildings, dozens of which have been set on fire. Meet the firefighters, mostly volunteer, stretched to their limit, and the law enforcement officials trying to figure out where the arsonist will strike next. Likeable mechanic Charlie and his girlfriend Tonya, an attractive night clubber with two children, are clearly involved, but the author, an award-winning reporter, frequently surprises the reader as the story unfolds, from the first fires to the final court case. This is a story of small-town America and how it’s changed over the last century, along with an unlikely love story and a page-turning crime drama.