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Firewatching by Russ Thomas ★★★★★

Published : 20th February 2020

Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK

Format : Kindle, Paperback

Genre : Crime



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.

THE CITY 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 . . .


My Review...

This is a fantastic fast paced crime read with great twists and a fantastic plot!

Police are called after a body is found bricked up behind a basement wall when contractors begin renovations to an Old Vicarage, a large victorian house in Castledene that was ruined by a fire.

The body turns out to be Gerald Cartwright, a fraudster and all round on the wrong side of the law guy, who had been missing for six years. Abandoned by his mother at an early age, Geralds only son Oscar was practically raised by a pair of kind, doting old ladies who lived next door, Edna and Lily.

Lily is the main witness but she suffers with dementia and struggles to remember anything about what happened all those years ago.

Recently Lily has been receiving threatening letters “I know what you did” and “If you don’t tell, I will,” through her door, hand delivered and she has no idea who is sending them but she doesn't tell Edna as Lily forgets things quite a lot and she doesn't want to worry Edna over something she can't remember.

I loved Lily's character, especially as she seemed to be able to hear voices from those already passed.

The case is run by the Sheffield Police. DS Adam Tyler, 29, is a handsome and capable police officer. After a nasty brawl with a fellow worker Adam has been reassigned to work the cold cases. He’s not very well liked by his fellow police officers because of his cold, harsh persona but he is amazing at his job, always solves the cases and usually points out, with glee the problems that officers previously missed that ended up in an unsolved case.

A police procedural murder mystery, the entire story is set in just under a week.

DS Adam Tyler is the lead character, and he’s really good, I loved that he was hard and withdrawn on the outside but cared on the inside, just struggled to show it. He’s conflicted, brave and very good at his job. There are a number of suspects, one being Oscar, Geralds son who Adam had a one night stand with the night before he was assigned to the case, and realised that the man he had slept with was actually the dead mans son and heir to the old vicarage... the brilliantly written plot keeps you guessing all the way through. I was really surprised at the end, but thinking back there were little clues along the way that I could have picked up on. I found myself holding my breath as Adam got closer to discovering the truth, he was by far my favourite character.

Three quarters of the way through the story moved from past to present to tie up all loose ends and make the whole plot come together.

I found this a really thrilling read and absolutely enjoyed it. I really hope this is a first in a series featuring DS Tyler, the ending definitely left you open to assuming there could be more to come.

An extremely well written and gripping novel.

Purchase Links…





Meet the author...

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 video games, 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.

Connect with the author…




Claire's recommended Similar reads..

Liar Liar by M. J. Arlidge

The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley

After The Fire by Mauve Casey

All books that I have added all include a purchase link when clicked on.

I hope you enjoyed reading my review.


Click the links below to take a look at my Instagram and Twitter pages.



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