Cover Image: Firewatching


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I very much enjoyed this book.  It has a good story and excellent main characters.  I would definately recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately, I have not been able to read and review this book.

After losing and replacing my broken Kindle and getting a new phone I was unable to download the title again for review as it was no longer available on Netgalley. 

I’m really sorry about this and hope that it won’t affect you allowing me to read and review your titles in the future.

Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. 
Was this review helpful?
Firewatching is the debut novel from Russ Thomas and having finished reading it last night I can confirm that it has all the hallmarks that I enjoy from a crime novel, a sense of place, carefully constructed plot as well as characters that you'll either love or hate. 

Our central character DS Adam Tyler was a complex individual and it's only over time that we start to see what makes him tick and learn more about his family history as well as discover the background to the incident that led to him being sidelined to being the sole member of the Cold Case team. And we soon discover that there could be a conflict of interest with the case when his personal and professional lives become entwined. 

Within the policing team there was a diverse mix of characters and it was interesting to see how well they could all work together considering their fairly obvious differences. DI Jim Doggett was very much a traditional grassroots copper who had been involved with the original high-profile missing person case for Gerald Cartwright. Adam himself seemed to be very much of a lone-wolf character who didn't seem to fit in well with the team but then considering how he'd been treated in the past it's understandable that he might want to go it alone. And then there's ambitious WPC Amina Rabbani who wants the opportunity to prove herself worthy of a place working in CID alongside the detectives.

As for the case itself, the more they investigated the more questions that were running round my head. The victim Gerald certainly wasn't innocent by any means but despite what dubious and heinous crimes he might have been involved with, he didn't deserve to die in such a horrific manner. And then there's the eccentric elderly neighbours Edna and Lily, what is their relationship to one another and what is their side story all about?

One of the things that confused me initially were what had the blog posts at the beginning of each section, written by someone called The Firewatcher, to do with the overall story. Initially they seemed harmless enough, random posts about fire and events of the past, but gradually they became more and more creepy and it's only over time that you realise how they play their part.

Once I settled into the writing style of the author, I became immersed in the story and how the various threads all came together. Overall Firewatching is an impressive debut and I was pleased to discover that this is the first of a planned police procedural series so hopefully it won't be too long before we are reacquainted with Adam and Amina who is a character I would love to see developed further.
Was this review helpful?
Firewatching by Russ Thomas was a fantastic read that I couldnt not put down.  It surrounds Detective Seargant Adam Tyler and his quest to solve a murder after a skeleton is discovered.  Absolutely great book and I look forward to reading the next one.  4 stars
Was this review helpful?
Wow, I loved this. I have a high threshold for quality thrillers and this one fits the bill and more. Grabs you, and doesn't let go.
Was this review helpful?
This book in found started off so good and intriguing but as it went on it slowed down and felt like the story dragged. None of the characters kept me guessing of what was coming or what could have happened. Was a little disappointed with the story.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this take on the police procedural. Russ Thomas uses elements that I haven’t come across much before which made this read more enjoyable; a lead character who is gay and the types of crimes investigated are cold cases which have had more recent developments. I really liked DS Tyler - he was really relatable whilst trying to handle his own personal ‘baggage’.  Some dark themes are covered in this book (reader caution as it includes detail on suicide and the effects of those bereaved by suicide). My only criticism was that it felt a little too long in places. As this is the first in the DS Tyler series, I’ll be looking out for more!
Was this review helpful?
I do like a debut crime novel. There’s something about meeting a protagonist for the first time, getting to know their foibles and working out their strengths and weak points. DS Adam Tyler works the South Yorkshire Cold Case Unit solo.  He’s lucky to have a job at all after an incident which left his face scarred and his reputation tarnished. It’s only thanks to the patronage of DCI Diane Jordan that he still has a job at all. Adam is a loner, looked on mainly with suspicion by his colleagues. The son of a policeman who committed suicide when Adam was just a boy, after allegations of corruption were levelled against him.  It was Adam who found the body.

Adam is gay and that’s known in the station. He’s been urged to socialise himself with a view to making himself more part of the team, and almost pushed into the forces LGBTQI society. On his first, somewhat reluctant, social evening with the group, he ends up taking a young attractive man home.

Then a man’s body is discovered behind a false wall in the cellar of the Old Vicarage in the Peak District village of Castledene. Adam‘s view is that this case his. It’s historic, after all, But the first officer on scene D.I. Jim Doggett has other ideas. Doggett is a down to earth copper, ready to needle Adam with casual homophobic jibes just to see if he can get a rise out of him. Adam has to push himself onto the case, only to discover, too late, that he has a conflict of interest which will do his career no good at all. Persuading Doggett to let him in on the case, he also co-opts an intelligent, tenacious P.C. Amina Rabbani whose temper is almost as quick as her ambition. The final member of the team is D.S. Gary Daley, a lazy, ill-tempered man with no time for Adam.

The dead man is believed to be George Cartwright, missing for six years. Elderly neighbours, Lily and Edna clearly know something, but Lily has fugue state phases and Edna is unwell, so how reliable are they really? The narrative in this story is conveyed through Adam and Lily with contributions from the blog entries of an unknown figure, the self-styled Firewatcher, who posts about a series of increasingly serious arson attacks in the area.

Clever plotting connects all these disparate elements together. Suspicious deaths, dodgy dealings arson and a Lowry painting all combine together to offer a powder keg that when it ignites is so explosive that it threatens to take everyone down.

Verdict: A compelling, punchy narrative, excellently drawn characters and a twisted, propulsive plot combine to make this a great read. I’ll certainly look out for the next in the series as Russ Thomas has left a lot of nods of promise to come in his explosive ending.
Was this review helpful?
I am here to add my voice to the rising swell of praise for this outstanding debut novel-thoroughly satisfying, big and bold in tone and narrative, 'Firewatching' marks itself out the spark which ignites Russ Thomas's career.

It doesn't give up its secrets easily,this is a book which would be easy to devour very quickly indeed, however, I resisited my natural impulses to race through the first DS Adam Tyler Cold Case. He has a multi layered back story, as well as being used-against his full co-operation- as a poster boy for the police's aceeptance and tolerance of gay men.

This aside, his narrative alternates with that of Edna and Lily, elderly daughter and mother, who live in a trapped relationship of mutual dependence-except annoymous letters are arriving which Lily is intercepting and hiding from her mother, letters which say ' I know what you did'....


How did disappearing businessman, Gerald Cartright, end up inside the walls of his home, finally discovered 6 years after he dropped out of sight?

What's the link with Tyler and the case and how far will he go to hide it in the attempt to solve it? Will reigniting his career supercede his professional responsibilities of disclosure?

A wayward policeman, a cold case and a new beginning for rookie Amina Rabbani is levied against a city which is slumbering , on the  verge of ignition . Before long, the Cold Case team is up to their necks in death, suspicion, accusations and this probides the kindling that sets Sheffield aflame.

I loved the sense of place, too often in crime novels there is a lack of this so that it could be easily transplanted anywhere within the British isles. This very firm sense of place and time reminds me of the Ed McBain novels, where Isola was as much a part of the stories as the whodunnit nature of his mysteries.

And extremely satisfying read, I thoruoghly recommend snapping up a copy of this book-I would genuinely be surprised if it does not become a HUGE bestseller and it's a perfect vehicle for television.

Adam Tyler steps, fully formed, into the world of fictional detectives,and sets it smouldering.
Was this review helpful?
A body has been found bricked up behind a wall in an Old Vicarage. Gerald Cartwright had been missing for six years. DS Adam Tyler works on cold  ases. He was called in to help investigate the case at the Vicarage. Gerald son Oscar had hires  builders to restore the damage in the  basement as it had destroyed by fire. Gerald had been  buried alive.

The pace is slow to begin with but it soon picks up. It's a tense read with lots of twists. DS Adam Tyler is a likable character. He has a bit of a backstory. The plotline is intricate. Theres fires being set all over Sheffield.and when the body is discovered, Adam is asked to help investigate. Filled with great, well rounded characters. I hope this is the start of a new police procedural series. I want to k ow more of Adam's backstory. A great debut novel.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Simon & Schuster and the author Russ Thomas for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A body is found bricked up in the cellar of a derelict house and the evidence seems to link the macabre find to a missing persons case from years before. For DS Adam Tyler this initially appears to be a chance to claw back some respect from his colleagues in the South Yorkshire Police and rebuild his stagnating career. 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. But there’s someone watching from the shadows, a sinister observer with an even more intimate link to the murder and a disturbing obsession with fire.

This is a fantastic debut from author Russ Thomas, with a structure that will be more than a little familiar to any seasoned crime reader. This familiarity lets the reader settle into the story quite quickly, and it’s in the details where we find the real surprises the author has in store for us.

The main protagonist and central point-of-view character, DS Tyler, is an excellent study in character building. He has several oh-so-typical traits for the genre, such as an apparent inability to make friends, a flagrant disregard for those above him, and a chequered past in which he assaulted a superior officer, but this is coupled with his being identified as openly gay more-or-less from the start of the narrative, something you don’t get to see much of in crime fiction.

Alongside Tyler, we also have DI Jim Doggett, a no-nonsense, seemingly stereotypical bigoted cop from the old-school, and Constable Amina Rabbani, a uniformed cop trying hard to get into CID despite the hurdles in front of her.

There’s also a second point-of-view character in the shape of Lily, an elderly woman with more links to the dead body than it first appears. 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.

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. Consequently, the twists and turns that do crop up in the narrative are all the more surprising because in hindsight they’re so blatantly obvious. Because we’re seeing most of the story through Tyler’s eyes, we’re also led along by his hopes, assumptions and fears, which in turn distracts the reader from the fairly obvious clues. Added to this is Lily’s confusion over the events of the past, apparently a result of her being an Alzheimer’s patient, though through the occasional lucid flash of memory the reader is given a little more of the story to work with.

If you’re a fan of modern police thrillers and like to be kept on your toes until the last few pages of the story then this is definitely one to wrap your eyes around. 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.
Was this review helpful?
I liked this police procedural crime thriller. It was well written and I liked the details.
I wish the characters were a little more developed. But, nevertheless it was gripping and I turned the pages to find out what happened. 
Thanks a lot to NG and the publisher for this copy.
Was this review helpful?
Firewatching is a totally absorbing, tense and exciting thriller. The discovery of a body missing for 6 years coincides with a spate of fires which are investigated by the officer who led the original missing persons case with the assistance of a well-connected cold case officer.

Within the police investigation team there are a difficult interpersonal relationships from the start and a few conflicts of interest to boot! Meanwhile the number of suspects increases with each new piece of information uncovered. Each character seems to have a interesting backstory with a  secret which is revealed as suspects are ruled in and out.  

In the end, althougheverything comes together and the killer was revealed, I was truly shocked and surprised - it never occurred to me that....
Was this review helpful?
I think it's one those case that "it's me, not the story". I found hard to follow the story that didn't keep my attention and the story fell flat.
I think it's quite well written but it's not my cup of tea.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Was this review helpful?
Firewatching is the debut novel by Russ Thomas however I found it very difficult to get into and the prose was turgid at best

Sorry but not one for me
Was this review helpful?
Engrossed from the beginning
quite a few other threads going on in the background
that keep you intrigued
plenty of twists/turns and an astonishing ending

This is an outstanding debut, with high quality writing

Thank you netgalley, Russ Thomas and Simon & Schuster UK
Was this review helpful?
When a body is found bricked up in a building after a fire, DS Adam Tyler investigates.

A series of plots run through the book, Tyler's investigation, There are 2 elderly neighbours telling a story and a further plot where someone is setting fires across Sheffield and posting this online, gathering followers as quick as the fires they are igniting.

It's a book that needs your full attention, as there is so much going on so settle in and shut everything out and enjoy this clever thriller as it pulls you in.

An interesting premise with a curious protagonist this is an intriguing, complex and intelligent debut from an author and series to watch. This one is a cut above and a stunning debut.


Was this review helpful?
My rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ well deserved stars (out of 5!)

The start of something really good comes this way with Firewatching, a book that will ignite your imagination as fast as things ignite across the page!

Ds Adam Tyler has been put to the back of the class, going over old cold cases but as a new case comes in it seems that this is the case that he needs to get his career back on track and back in the good graces of his superiors. A body has been found behind a brick wall in an old house, although the identity of the body can’t be confirmed until the postpartum, the police are relatively sure it is the body of the houses owner, Gerald Cartwright, who has been missing for years, but before the case can even take off, Adam finds himself faced with something that compromises his place on the case. 

What happens next, no-one, especially Adam saw coming!

Fast paced with a unique protagonist, spine tingling scenes, some great characters and clever plot lines, this is a multi faceted story that grabs your attention from the very first page and keeps you fully engaged right up until the very last page. I cant wait to see what Russ Thomas has in store for us next.

This is the start of a new series that is sure to be an instant hit with fans of Steve Cavanagh, Sharon Bolton and Stuart MacBride.

Firewatching will be published on 20 Feb 2020 and is available for pre-order now
Was this review helpful?
Wow what a fantastic read this was. Dark, engrossing and tense it kept me reading far too late at night!

The mention of fire always intrigues me as it’s so dangerous and unpredictable so the blurb instantly appealed to me. I was not disappointed as the Firewatcher was a truly despicable villan who I loved to hate. He’s obviously a highly intelligent individual and I found it hugely enjoyable trying to work out who he was. His main communication to the detectives was through blog posts which gave the story a modern feel which made it seem more realistic.

DS Tyler was a fantastic main character and one that I warmed to instantly. He’s the first gay police officer that I remember reading about and it was sad to see the homophobic behaviour of his colleagues that was casually wrapped up as so called ‘banter’. I thought he handled everything very well though and I found myself admiring him for his intelligent determination towards the case.

Overall I thought this was a fantastic read with a fascinating plot that held my attention throughout the book. I enjoyed reading all the different threads and watching them slowly come together. There were lots of twists and surprises which kept me guessing which I always enjoy. The final revel was brilliantly done and took me completely by surprise- very cleverly done by the author.

This is unbelievably the author’s debut novel and I look forward to reading more from him in the future. I’m hopeful that this is the start of a new crime series staring DS Tyler as I’d love to read more of him!

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Jess from Simon and Schuster for my copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Set in Sheffield, DS Adam Tyler is working on the Cold Case Review Unit, and when a body is found bricked up in a wall, and the house had later been set on fire…. And so the investigation begins.

The victim is George Cartwright who had gone missing years before. 

Adam has a one night stand with a young man, Oscar, but he turns out to be the son of the dead man… this a coincidence? 

There’s also an elderly couple who live next door to the burned house, Lily and Edna. Edna is suffering with cancer and Lily seems very distracted and has memory problems…..they are also Oscar’s ‘aunts’.

Someone is also setting fires, burning bus stops, scout huts and more, adding random posts about the fires on social media…

I love this book. It’s so involved, with a large cast of interlinked characters and so well plotted it keeps you completely engrossed from start to finish as more and more of the story unfolds. There’s murder, arson, missing wives, abuse and even a potential  romance.

Adam is a great character, dealing with casual and not so casual homophobia in his own way…and dogged in his determination to find the perpetrators of crime. PC Rabbini is the same, she’s just starting out but she’s thorough and just as determined as Adam. I’d love to read more of this team….even Doggett. A truly scorching thriller.

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest, unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?