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Firewatching

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When he finds out he’s more intimately connected to the case than he could have known he’s forced to make a choice – declare his conflict of interest to his superiors or stick with the case to the end. I thought he handled everything very well though and I found myself admiring him for his intelligent determination towards the case. For me, hinting at Tyler’s backstory while racing to stop more deaths, felt really natural and kept a realistic balance to the story.

He’s smart and very intuitive and even though he’s not the lead on the case you know damn well he’s going to be the one to solve it. The characterisation in ‘Firewatching‘ is absolutely perfect, with Thomas portraying Lily’s dementia accurately and sensitively. Their first outing sees them investigating a cold case in which a body has been discovered by workers renovating a fire damaged house. I think that now that the characters have been developed a little, the second book should be better.If you’re looking for original characters, a strong plot and vivid descriptions, ‘Firewatching‘ is the novel for you!

There's a delightful ambiguity about their reliability that must have been a nightmare to work with. I enjoyed the way the story unfolded through the eyes of both the detectives and through the eyes of an extremely unreliable narrator with dementia. Sheffield’s beautiful Botanical Gardens – an oasis of peace in a world filled with sorrow, confusion and pain. As the sole representative of South Yorkshire's Cold Case Review Unit, Tyler recognises his role for what it is – a means of keeping him out of the way following an ‘incident’. Here, it is a young Middle Eastern woman who spends half her time doing diligent work, and the other half blushing and gawking at Tyler's handsomeness.When I found myself drifting off while reading the digital review copy, I went to Seattle Bibliocommons and checked out the audio book. Tyler’s grudging but eventual ties with his Detective Inspector Jim Doggett along with a determined young Constable Amina Rabbani, promises the potential for the Detective Sergeant to forge stronger working connections—but Russ Thomas leaves that up in the air for readers as a nice lead-in to the next book in the series.

I know I for one will be looking out for more from Russ Thomas, and I sincerely hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of DS Adam Tyler. This wasn't a bad debut, and I'll look for the next book in the series see how the character of Adam Tyler is further developed. Thomas pulls the reader in and creates empathy for his protagonist by laying bare the bigotry that Tyler faces regularly. His main communication to the detectives was through blog posts which gave the story a modern feel which made it seem more realistic.When his one-night stand Oscar turns out to be the only son of a man who disappeared six years ago and whose body was just found, Adam knows he should report a conflict of interest and get reassigned to a different case.

Dual narration from both Adam and two elderly lady neighbours from where the body was discovered really supplemented the story and the suspense. Along with ambitious Constable Amina Rabbani and despite his link to the suspect, Adam manages to stay on the case, determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. Thomas certainly makes his mark with his complex crime fiction debut, the central protagonist, Adam Tyler, is a strong, determined, tenacious, memorable, and flawed character, who fails to keep tabs on and manage Constable Rabbani, with his troubled background and personal life. The thing that makes this a great first novel is the fact that it doesn’t try to be anything more than it is, a relatively straightforward whodunnit. I was delighted to host a panel recently at Hull Noir 2021, where Russ was one of the authors I interviewed.

There are also answers forthcoming to some questions Tyler has about his father; they have been teased but unspoken, so there is much to anticipate and discover in storylines yet to come. For the most part Lily’s story is there to show the reader the background of the various characters involved in the story, though by the end of the novel it’s clear that her connection to the whole torrid affair is much more tragic than you’re initially led to believe. I found this book quite confusing as there were too many characters and I really didn’t like the racial comments throughout this book.

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