Police Procedural

Review: Firewatching by Russ Thomas

Firewatching BT Poster  - Review: Firewatching by Russ Thomas

firewatching uk 2 orig - Review: Firewatching by Russ ThomasFirewatching by Russ Thomas
on 20th February 2020
Genres: Thriller, Police Procedural, Cold Case
Pages: 418
Format: ARC, Paperback
Buy on Amazon
four half stars - Review: Firewatching by Russ Thomas

A body is found bricked into the walls of a house. From the state of the hands, it’s clear they were buried alive and had tried to claw their way out before they died. Soon, the victim is linked to a missing person’s case and DS Adam Tyler is called.
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’. When this case falls in his lap, he grabs the opportunity to fix his stagnating career.
When he discovers he has a connection to the case that hopelessly compromises him, he makes the snap decision not to tell his superiors. With such a brutal and sadistic murder to unpick, Tyler must move carefully to find out the truth, without destroying the case or himself.

Meanwhile, someone in the city knows exactly what happened to the body. Someone who is watching Adam closely. Someone with an unhealthy affinity with fire . . .

Firewatching is Russ Thomas’ debut.  That in itself is crazy.  The authors work…his words, his research, his narrative, where born from flames.  It is red hot.  It flows so effortlessly from the pages and dives straight into your head. Of course, the moment you pick this book up, you will forget about the tasks you had planned for the rest of the day.  Nothing is as important as finding out the secrets this book contains.  Toilet breaks, food none of it even registered in my head.  Be prepared to race to the finish.  Lace up those Nikes and….run! 

This was deliciously dark and complex, Firewatching gives us an introduction to DS Adam Tyler.  A man with a broken past.  Confident but quietly vulnerable. He’s got something to prove but at what cost?  He has flaws just like the rest of us, but he does want to do good.  He’s the sole representative of South Yorkshire’s Cold Case Unit and he is not scared to ruffle a few feathers with the murder squad.  Also, he’s been known to make mistakes and allowed his temper to get the best of him, but he is dealing with idiotic instances of homophobia.  consequently, he’s got the scars to remind him of his mistake, but DS Adam Tyler is human. 

The book opened, and you knew the tone had been set.  We meet the firewatcher and their communication comes in the form of blog posts.  They are telling and give the insight into a very dangerous individual.  The author likes to wind us up and keep us on the literal edge.  We knew the antagonist was more than the eye could see.  There was a history there.  A deep-seated evil born from flames.  What was the motive? 

I can’t fully describe this authors writing style, but it blew me away.  He was precise, constantly hitting the mark, like a marksman never missing his target.  It became very personal with DS Tyler and before long he was tangled up in the mess of solving a murder that occurred six year ago.  I enjoyed how Tyler navigated working with his superiors through instances of yet more homophobia,  asserting the fact that it was a cold case but yet, trying not alienate himself from the entire team.  Tyler was a curious character but one I felt an instant connection to.  He’s had a hard life and could quite easily have gone off the rails spectacularly, but his career is what keeps him on the straight and narrow.  You can tell that he wants to relate to people and socialise, but he finds it difficult.  He really doesn’t want to let anyone in. 

Finally crap hit the fan.  You really don’t want to mess about when fire and murders are especially concerned. 

The secondary characters just increased the strength of this novel tenfold.  They all flowed together.  They had everything that real life displays – differing personalities, temperaments and dreams. As a result,  Tyler was surrounded in a grey cloud of parent’s actions, his boss being a bit of ass. Nevertheless, Tyler had to navigate the muddy waters of a cold case that needed drawing to a conclusion quickly. 

Firewatching is quite literally too hot to handle.  The pages sear into your brain leaving you aching for the next clue.  My hands flew through the pages.  I was aching for more.  Firewatching cements Russ Thomas’ place in the most exciting crime writer to watch!


Russ Thomas Author Pic - Review: Firewatching by Russ Thomas

Russ Thomas was born in Essex, raised in Berkshire and now lives in Sheffield. He grew up in the 80s reading anything he could get from the library, writing stories, watching large amounts of television, playing videogames, and largely avoiding the great outdoors. He spent five years trying to master playing the electronic organ and another five trying to learn Spanish. It didn’t take him too long to realise that he’d be better off sticking to the writing 

After a few ‘proper’ jobs (among them: pot-washer, optician’s receptionist, supermarket warehouse operative, call-centre telephonist and storage salesman) he discovered the joys of bookselling, where he could talk to people about books all day. 

His debut novel Firewatching is the first book in the DS Adam Tyler series. 

Russ Thomas Website

four half stars - Review: Firewatching by Russ Thomas


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