“The Fire This Time is a vivid, harrowing portrait of 20th-century Boston in all its brutal tribal schisms, made deadly by old secrets, old lies, and old hatreds . . . a fascina...



“The Fire This Time is a vivid, harrowing portrait of 20th-century Boston in all its brutal tribal schisms, made deadly by old secrets, old lies, and old hatreds . . . a fascinating trip.” - Joseph Finder, The New York Times Best Selling novelist

"The Fire This Time burns with intensity from page one.  Liss skillfully paints the novel's settings, characters and plot;  His language is descriptive and flawless. A legal thriller with characters who stay with you.  Maddie Devlin is an attorney who grabs your mind and senses, a protagonist you root for, admire, she stirs your emotions. Clever, believable story, with twists and turns, all at a brisk pace. The dialogue is sharp, characters vividly drawn. Excellent first novel, let's see more." - Wayne Avrashow, Esq., author of award-winning novel, Roll the Dice.


To obtain an acquittal for a client charged with a heinous murder, Maddie Devlin, a public defender, must produce the killer.

Boston, MA, April, 1981.  Tensions between its religious, racial, and ethnic communities are high because of court-ordered school busing.  The mayor’s son is murdered.  At the crime scene is the skull cap of a rabbinic student.  After his arrest, anti-Semitism explodes.

Devlin thinks the killer is the leader of Boston’s most notorious street gang.  She has no evidence.  The D.A. and police won’t investigate.  To seek evidence, she must enter the gang’s turf without knowing whether she will live to present whatever evidence she finds.  Never has defending a client zealously been so dangerous. 

Paperback: 422 pages
Publishing date: July 16, 2020
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1-952570-88-9
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches

S. Frederic Liss, a multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, a nominee for the story South Million Writers Award, and a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Prize sponsored by University of Georgia Press, the St. Lawrence Book Award sponsored by Black Lawrence Press, and the Bakeless Prize sponsored by Breadloaf Writers’ Conference and Middlebury College, has published more than 50 short stories. He has received numerous awards and other forms of recognition for individual short stories including The Florida Review Editor’s Award for Fiction; .James Still Prize for Short Fiction sponsored by Wind; Midnight Sun Award for Fiction sponsored by Permafrost; Third prize in the Arthur Edelstein Prize for Short Fiction; Finalist for the Raymond Carver Award for Short Fiction sponsored by Carve Magazine; and Honorable Mention in the New Letters Literary Award for Fiction and the Glimmer Train June, 2014 Fiction Open. Liss has also been published in The Saturday Evening Post, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, The South Dakota Review, The South Carolina Review, Dogwood, The Worcester Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal. He earned a BA from Amherst College, Amherst, MA; a JD from Columbia University School of Law, New York, NY; and an MFA from Emerson College, Boston, MA. He was the recipient of a Grant-in-Aid in Literature from the St. Botolph Club Foundation, Boston, MA where he leads a workshop in writing fiction.

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