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‘Burning Paradise’ reveals expertise of Spokane novelist

‘Burning Paradise” (Gray Dog Press), a thriller by Spokane novelist Terry Hughes, is about a devastating, arson-caused fire in the fictional town of Santa Marta, Calif.

And if anyone has the experience and expertise to write about such an event, it would be Hughes. He was the chief of the Paradise (Calif.) Volunteer Fire Department during the tragic Painted Cave Fire, an arson-caused fire which destroyed 500 homes in 1990.

In fact, the first part of the book uses some of the actual radio transcript from the emergency response to that fire. The book’s protagonist is an arson investigator named Monte Raleigh.

Hughes moved to Spokane from the Santa Barbara area in 1994 and became a home builder and designer – and novelist. He is currently at work on several other novels.

Hughes will read from “Burning Paradise” at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave., on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Local poetry prizes

The Poetry Scribes of Spokane has announced its annual poetry contest. It will accept original, unpublished poems of 60 lines or less in two categories: rhymed and free-verse.

All poets 18 and over are eligible. Each poem must be accompanied by a $5 entry fee.

Send two copies of each poem to Clararose Childs, 2912 W. Longfellow Ave., Spokane, WA 99205, postmarked no later than Sept. 7. One copy should include name, address and phone number; the other should be without identification.

Winners will be announced on Oct. 5, with a $50 cash prize for first place in each category. This is in conjunction with the Amy Woodward Fisher World Day of Poetry.