Strange Fire

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Gold Medal Readers’ Favorite International Book Award – Best Environmental Fiction
New York Book Festival Award
Los Angeles Book Festival Award
Beach Book Festival Award

San Francisco Book Festival Honorable Mention – Best Fiction

Strange Fire is complex and intelligent, deftly plotted and character rich. As a bonus, it’s also like a college course in fracking and the moral and technical issues surrounding fossil fuel extraction; as such, it couldn’t be more timely. Joel Burcat has a winner with this one.” —John Lescroart, NY Times best-selling author of the 13th Juror

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Gold Medal Readers’ Favorite International Book Award – Best Environmental Fiction
New York Book Festival Award
Los Angeles Book Festival Award
Beach Book Festival Award

San Francisco Book Festival Honorable Mention – Best Fiction

Fracking for natural gas has turned deadly in Bradford County, Pa., and not only is the water contaminated, but people are dying. Round-the-clock operations conducted by Yukon Oil and Gas may have poisoned a residential well and threatened a town’s water supply. Who is contaminating water wells in Bradford County? Why are contractors disappearing? Mike Jacobs, a 29-year old impassioned environmental lawyer with Pennsylvania’s Dept. of Environmental Protection, is back in this romantically-charged environmental legal thriller about fracking and drilling for natural gas.

What People Say

“Burcat writes with an insider’s edge about a dangerous battle over fracking. Strange Fire is a dark, suspenseful read that ranges from the gas fields to the courtroom, all handled with gritty style. A treat for thriller fans.” —William Landay, NY Times best-selling author of Defending Jacob

“Writers like Burcat demonstrate that ‘within the densest fog and darkest black, you can find clarity and color if your imagination is 20-20.” —Frank Bruni, NY Times best-selling author and op-ed columnist for the New York Times

“Warning: surprising twists and turns ahead! Strange Fire is much more authentic than the usual fictional fare and is a rare legal thriller with the ability to educate as well as entertain.” —Lisa Gardner, NY Times best-selling author of Love You More and Hide


Joel Burcat








6 x 9

Year Published


1 review for Strange Fire

  1. Reviewed By Patrick W. Emmett for Readers’ Favorite

    In Strange Fire by Joel Burcat, Teressa Bruno-Campbell is a bored housewife living in rural Pennsylvania with a husband who is frequently away from home. They allowed Yukon Oil and Gas to drill on their property for which they receive a royalty. Yukon began drilling and fracking the substrata of limestone and shale about a mile and a half from their home. During the drilling, the company contracted to have a fresh-water containment pond built to push water into the well for the fracking process. During construction, weather and pressure from Yukon’s management forced the site manager to release the blow-back water from the well into the containment pond, which it was not designed to do. Teressa accused Yukon of poisoning their well water due to the fracking. The lawyers line up. Yukon has 26-year-old Darius Moore. The Department of Environmental Protection, which issued the drilling permits, has a classmate in the form of Mike Jacobs. They have no love for one another. A local Environment Advocacy group is handling Teressa’s complaint.

    The pond contractor goes missing, and Mike Jacobs begins an exciting investigation that takes him on several twists. I liked Strange Fire because it’s a thriller about lawyers and I found the author’s depth of knowledge about structural geology fascinating. I also found the book compelling as I have a degree in geology and I love reading books about lawyers. The murder kept you reading to find out what happened to Cordova. The wrap-up was good. It’s a shame the Chief was sacrificed and Vlad disappeared but that’s the way mysteries work. The author’s time spent crafting this novel was well spent. The book has its share of bad guys and they keep you on your toes to the conclusion. Joel Burcat has crafted a must-read book. I recommend you put this on your summer beach reading list.

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About the Author

Zoom Into Books Author

Joel Burcat is an environmental and energy lawyer. He is the author of Strange Fire (2022), Amid Rage (2021), and Drink to Every Beast (2019). He was selected as the 2019 Lawyer of the Year in Environmental Litigation (for Central PA) by Best Lawyers in America. He has been designated by both “Super Lawyers” and “Best Lawyers” for environmental and oil and gas law. He was also selected by the Pa. Bar Association as a recipient of its annual award in environmental law plus other awards as an environmental and energy lawyer. In addition to his law practice, he has edited two award-winning works on environmental and energy law. He lives in Harrisburg, PA with his wife, Gail. They have two grown daughters, a son-in-law and two grandchildren.



Zoom Into Books Events

Joel Burcat discussing Amid Rage with Guest Interviewer, Burke Allen  Watch Here

Writing a Novel: Ten Things You Can and Should Do –  Watch on YouTube 

Writing Eco Fiction Watch Here

Discussion with Don Helin and Dennis Hetzel- writing Thrillers Watch Here

Fiction Writers and Editors Discussing COVID-19 – Joel Burcat, Don Helin, Jason Liller  Watch Here

Thriller Night with Rick Robinson, Don Stansberry, Dennis Hetzel, Eliot Parker, Joel Burcat  Watch Here

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