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Russ Thomas Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Firewatching (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Russ Thomas
Russ Thomas is a British author of fiction best known for his debut novel Firewatching. The Essex born writer spent years experimenting with languages, and the electronic organ before settling for his first love. While growing up, Thomas loved going to the library and creating stories. This love for writing came back later after he had tried his hand in a few of the so-called proper jobs but failed to feel complete doing either of them. When he turns into a bookseller and is not tired of talking about books all day, it becomes evident that his calling is in writing. Thomas’s first book does not disappoint, and you can be sure that it will leave you looking forward to the next piece in this series.

Firewatching
Firewatching is the first book in the Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler series. The book is centered on Financier Gerald Cartwright who had vanished only for his skeleton to be later discovered in the cellar of his home. An investigation on Gerald’s murder is launched, and detective Adam Tyler is put in charge. Tyler has had it rough, but he thinks that this case may help his struggling career. It helps that he has been paired with a partner who is smart and ambitious, so solving this case will not be as tough. The law enforcement agents already have a suspect in mind. There can be only one person capable of bricking the diseased inside his home.

DS Tyler is a gay detective who has had his fair share of challenges. A recent incident left him with a scarred face, but he is glad to be alive. Thanks to this incident, Tyler is the only surviving member of the South Yorkshire cold-case unit. The reason why Tyler is still in the forces is his godmother Diane Jordan, and even with his connection, he knows that he will be sent home if there is another slipup. Tyler is one smart detective, and his ability to think on his feet makes him great at his job. However, he is the self-contained type that doesn’t work well in a team. The detective is known for his coldness, especially to those he works with, but this is understandable given the snide remarks he has to endure from them. Adam’s past is also sad as he lost his father to suicide. His father was a well-known cop, and, unfortunately, he caused his son a lot of pain both in life and death.

Cartwright’s son Oscar’ is the main suspect in his father’s murder. Adam already knows this, and the exciting thing is that the detective had slept with the murder suspect the previous night. While there is an apparent conflict of interest, Adam keeps this under wraps. As fate will have it, this will become public at some point and cause some damage. Adam, together with Amina Rabbani, his ambitious partner, set to unravel the details that lead to Gerald’s death. The investigation results in a tangled affair featuring elderly neighbors, a woman who has dementia, and an ex-head teacher battling with cancer. The detectives also delve into Oscar’s childhood in a bid to understand the reasons why a son would want to kill his father.

Other notable characters in this story include DI Jim Doggett, a witty man with dark humor. The banter between Jim and Adam will leave you in stitches, and the respect these two have for each other is admirable. There is also PC Mina Rabbani, an ambitious woman with a fiery temper to boot. Mina and Adam make a great team, and the two go to solve a mystery that left the police baffled for many years. There is also DS Gary Daley, the sadist who doesn’t enjoy much while others are winning. This detective team comes with huge potential, and you have to read the story to the end to understand precisely what they are capable of.

This story may seem like it is made up of two cases, but they merge into one. George Cartwright, the financial wizard, has been missing for six years before a body is found in his home. His son Oscar is the obvious suspect, and somehow, he becomes friends with Adam just when the case is about to start. Oscar was raised by two interesting individuals, Lily and Edna. The story comes with detailed descriptions, and while it is a bit dramatic, the plotting makes it plausible. Want to get the identity of the Firewatcher? Was Adam and Oscar’s meeting by chance, or was this a setup? Well, you may have to keep guessing for a while, but in the end, the wait will be all worth it. For a debut novel, the author has done a great job of developing characters, maintaining the flow, and building tension to the end.

The diversity element gives this story a contemporary feel. Even though Adam has to put up with the innuendos thrown his way by colleagues, the truth about his sexuality is out there, and most people are okay with it. There is also the use of blog posts by the Firewatcher villain that makes the story modern. The story starts at a slow pace, but this quickly rises as numerous twists and turns emerge. You will find the end quite dramatic, and while it will answer most of the questions you have about the characters, you will likely be left wishing that there is a sequel. Overall, a praiseworthy riveting debut novel that is masterfully written.

Firewatching is a tense narrative that starts as a murder investigation. Once the detectives get to work, clues that could solve a good number of cases involving historical fires are revealed. Who knows the cause of all the mystery fires witnessed years ago? Exactly how did Cartwright die? Get answers to these questions and so much more in this thrilling piece. The central protagonist is easy to like. Flawed and anti-social, the man is also tenacious and determined. The story is loaded with intrigue, and the multiple threads combine beautifully in the end. This book is perfect if you are looking for a beautiful detective story with memorable characters and a captivating storyline.

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