This book and the previous book #4 in this series Line of Fire were improvements over the first three books in the series, imo. My biggest peeve of the series up through book #3 was that I felt a dearth of fire-fighting to justify these characters being actual fire-fighters. The last two books seemed to remedy that. There was a definite up-tick in the work element.
I was looking forward to this one the most because Sean's story arc that began in book #1, as the embattled alcoholic who was trying to numb the pain of watching his family die and his daughter burn alive, was really intensely interesting and carried me through the series quite a bit. I also am a sucker for unrequited love (when done well). I thought Eve's quiet longing for Sean throughout the series was quite affecting and a great set up for when they finally got their story. I was already so invested in them that I connected with them immediately while reading.
So while one of my biggest dissatisfaction with the series so far has been somewhat addressed, my other big problem with the series was still in full force in this book. The villain. I think the villains have been the achilles heel for this whole series. They were too broadly written, no nuance whatsoever. We get a lot of their inner dialogue and planning. And unfortunately much of it sounds like it could have been accompanied by evil laughter and ominous piano music.
The romance and the connection between the couples remains the strongest element in these books. And frankly it was what kept me coming back even with the eye-rolling villains. Sean and Eve were no different. They have incredible chemistry and squeaked past Howard and Kat from the first book Trial by Fire as my favorite couple of the series (Howard, though, remains the series MVP, love that guy!)
I was happy to see Sean working through his demons finally and accepting Eve's love. They even had a few bumps that were nicely realistic. Eve is also a fantastic character. She had been established throughout the series as a tough, straight shooter who was one of the few who had no problem confronting Sean while he was drunk. Her character remains true in this book. She doesn't mince her words, she doesn't play games and she can piss with the big boys.
Not sure if this is the last book in the series. If so then it is going out on a high note. If not, that is good too because it feels like the series has finally hit it's stride.