Policeman Kip is on patrol one night when he encounters Jos and his little brother Isaac on the streets. The orphans became homeless when he lost his job and an unscrupulous landlord kicked him out of their apartment. After a second encounter with Jos, Kip takes pity on the young man and invites Isaac and Jos to stay with him.
It isn't long before the two men both feel a powerful attraction to each other. Kip even finds the prospect of being a parental figure to little Isaac rather appealing. But Jos has had too many bad experiences with being let down by people, and feels he needs to make his own way in the world. Can the two find a way to be together?
If you've read the first two books in this series, then the rough outline of this plot will seem familiar, and you'll have no reason to doubt how things will turn out for Jos and Kip. However, while the broad strokes may seem similar, the author manages to make each main character in each book — in this case Kip and Jos — a distinct individual, with complete back stories that help you understand how they got to where they are in the story.
“Fire and Rain” raises a few interesting questions. Perhaps the most pressing one is, what would you do in a similar situation? The homeless are so commonplace in many of our cities that we often choose not to really see them. As this book points out, we often also tend to view the homeless as crazy or criminal, or both. Faced with the reality of a young man and his little brother that Kip encounters, what would you do?
A somewhat more subtle, and subjective, question is about the appropriateness of the relationship that develops between Jos and Kip. Although he isn't a suspect, Jos is still a witness, to a crime that Kip was one of the arresting officers in. That would seem to make any relationship, even as friends, between the two ethically questionable. Of course, such ethical gray areas are not new to this series.