Cover Image: Wildfire


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Member Reviews

It's the first book I read in this series and won't surely be the last because I inhaled this one.
The author is talented storyteller and the plot, full of twists and turns, is brilliant and well crafted.
He did a great job with the character and plot development.
The mystery is solid, with no plot hole, and it kept me guessing till the end.
i liked the characters and will be happy to read other books by this author.
I strongly recommend it.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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A British crime thriller at its best!! 

“Wildfire” by Nick Oldham is one of a series featuring Henry Christie, a retired Detective Superintendent. The setting is in Lancashire, where Henry runs a rural pub and guest house - The Tawny Owl. 

A series of wildfires had been causing havoc in the local area and Henry was always happy to help any of his neighbours in an emergency. Suffice it to say when Henry dropped by at a nearby couple’s property, he inadvertently made a horrific, grisly discovery! 

It transpired that this crime was only the tip of the iceberg, and the Lancashire police were investigating other abhorrent crimes across the County. Even though Henry had retired, he still felt a gut feeling that some of his old adversaries were involved and his hunch paid off. 

Due to the sheer volume of the unsolved crimes, Henry found himself grudgingly drafted in to assist the police. However, he was delighted to be working again with DC Diane Daniels, a former colleague. 

I particularly enjoyed reading “Wildfire” as from the outset it was a thrilling, fast-paced page turner, with so many twists and turns, and very cleverly written. I’m not surprised that the author was a retired police Inspector, as his experience and imagination shines through! Thank you Mr. Oldham for this British crime thriller at its best! 


Elite Reviewing Group received a copy of the book to review
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Don't worry if you haven't read this series- I've only read one of the many Christie books and this is fine as a standalone.  Henry Christie is a retired DS; he had a long and complicated career but one person he did work well with was DC Diane Daniels.  Now, he's running a pub, more or less contentedly but when he discovers a grisly murder while doing a welfare check after a fire, well, he's back in the game.  The back and forth with Diane is great, the bad guys truly evil, and the procedural aspects just right.  There's a lot packed into a relatively slim volume but that's ok because the pace never flags.  Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.  A very good read.
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This was the first book I have read by this author. I loved the location as that is a part of the world that I know well .  There was a great feeling of atmosphere and I was immediately able to picture the location.
I was not familiar with the characters, unlike some other reviewers, so was not aware of what to expect.  However I did find the characters quite engaging and likeable .  
I did find the level of violence rather uncomfortable and it is not for the faint hearted. However it was a good book and I enjoyed it
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This is incredibly the 26th book featuring Henry Christie.  He retired as a Detective Superintendent some years ago and now runs a Pub & Country House Hotel in a village near Lancaster.
The book starts in 2009 when Henry then a Detective Chief Inspector is called to a murder in East Lancs.  We then move forward to 2019.  Fires are threatening the Lancashire countryside.  Detective Constable Diane Daniels is on night duty.  She witnesses a very distressing house fire, where a Mother and baby are killed. Previously she had seen a man running carrying a young girl just before the explosion that caused the house fire. 
Before she can investigate there is an incident at the Infirmary.  Then the night becomes very much worse.  Very violent indeed.
Henry too makes a shocking discovery when making a local house call regarding the fires.  Henry becomes involved with the Police investigation at the instigation of Detective Superintendent Rik Dean.  He is Henry's brother-in-law and the man who took Henry's Police job.
Set in Lancaster, Morecambe, the trough of Bowland and Blackpool, an area I know reasonably well.  This is an excellent police procedural.  I must read some of the previous books, but could this be the final outing for Henry?  If so Diane would make a good new series, perhaps with Henry as her romantic interest!  The author does have another series featuring Steve Flynn.  I enjoyed this book very much and would thoroughly recommend it.
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Christie And Daniels Reunite.....
A Henry Christie mystery. Henry is happily enjoying retirement running the Tawny Owl public house. The last thing he expects is a devastating fire on the local moorland. His involvement in the assistance of locals takes a him to a remote farmhouse where he makes a grim discovery. Becoming reunited with the ever unflappable DC Daniels, Henry soon finds himself on his old stomping ground. Swiftly moving suspense, action packed with plenty of, often shocking, twists and turns along the way.
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Great book, well written and has caused me a few late nights with the ‘just one more chapter’. I have read Henry Christie books before and they are always a pleasure to read. Story line for this one was fantastic and the small twist at the end let me release the breath I had been holding. Would absolutely recommend.
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Back in the day, before authors and their publishers trusted me with reviewing novels, I did what the vast majority of the reading public did – I either bought books when I could afford them or I went to the local library. I had a list of authors whose latest works I would grab eagerly, or take my place in the queue of library members who had reserved copies. In no particular order, anything by John Connolly, Jim Kelly, Phil Rickman, Frank Tallis, Philip Kerr, Mark Billingham, Christopher Fowler and Nick Oldham would be like gold dust.

Oldham’s Henry Christie was a particular favourite, as his adventures mixed excellent police procedure – thank’s to Oldham’s career as a copper – a vulnerable and likeable hero, and an unflinching look at the mean and vicious streets of the Blackpool area in England’s north-west. Wildfire is the latest outing for Henry Christie, who has retired from the police and now runs a pleasant village pub set in the Lancashire hills.

The book’s title works both literally and as a metaphor: the moorland around Kendleton, where Christie pulls pints in The Tawny Owl is on fire, the gorse and heather tinder dry and instantly combustible. People in farms and cottages on the moors have been advised to evacuate, and The Tawny Owl has become a refreshment station, serving bacon butties and hot tea to exhausted firefighters. The violence of nature is being faithfully echoed, however, by human misdeeds. A gang of particularly lawless and well-organised Travellers* has targeted a money-laundering operation based in an isolated former farm. The body count is rising, and the sums of money involved are simply eye-watering, as Christie is asked to join the police investigation as a consultant. 

* For non-UK readers, Travellers are not, in this case people boarding trains or planes for exotic destinations, but a group formerly known as gypsies or Romanies. Some have an unenviable reputation for criminality, violence and a steely determination not to integrate with the broader community.

When Christie visits a refurbished ‘nick’ he finds that little has changed:

“…the complex was already beginning to reek of the bitter smell of men in custody: a combination of sweat, urine, alcohol, shit, general body odour and a dash of fear. Even new paint could not suppress it.”

D.C. Diane Daniels, Christie’s police ‘minder’ has driven him to a lawless Blackpool estate, once known as Shoreside, but rechristened Beacon View by some hopelessly optimistic council committee:

“Money had been chucked at it occasionally, usually to build children’splay areas, but each one had been systematically demolished by uncontrollable youths. Council houses had been abandoned, trashed, then knocked down. A row of shops had been brought down brick by brick, with the exception of the end shop – a grocer/newsagent that survived only because its proprietor handled stolen goods.” 

The local don’t take kindly to their visit and Daniels tries to drive her battered Peugot away from trouble:
“Ahead of her, spread out across the avenue and blocking their exit, was a group of about a dozen youths, male and female, plus a couple of pitbull-type dogs on thick chains, The youth’s faces were covered in scarves and in their hands they bounced hunks of house brick or stone; one had an iron bar like a jemmy.”

Eventually, the wildfires of both kinds are extinguished, at least temporarily, but not before Henry Christie is forced, yet again, to take a long hard look at himself in the mirror, and question if it was all worth the effort.

There is a complete absence of fuss and pretension about Oldham’s writing. Dismiss him at your peril as just another writer of pot-boiler crime thrillers. He has created one of the most endearing – and enduring - heroes in contemporary fiction, and in his portrayal of a region not necessarily known for its criminality, he lifts a large stone to reveal several horrid things scuttling away from the unwanted light.

This brutal journey into the darkside of modern Britain ends with Christie summing up his motivation for continuing to fight on, his back to the wall:

“The dead could not fight for themselves.People like him did that.”
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Likable characters and very readable, this is a good police procedural thriller.
I hate saying this but it somehow didn't grip me. 
I did finish it but I wasn't blown away. Sorry.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Severn House for an advance copy of Wildfire, the twenty-sixth novel to feature now retired Detective Superintendent Henry Christie.

Henry is involved in fire fighting co-ordination as wildfires sweep across his rural area of Lancashire and when one couple do not respond to his welfare calls he goes out to their house and discovers a grisly scene. In the meantime an old acquaintance, DC Diane Daniels, is dealing with a major crime spree in Lancaster. With resources limited Henry is brought out of retirement to team up with Diane to combat the spree of crime.

I thoroughly enjoyed Wildfire which is a tense, action packed thriller told at breakneck speed. I’m not quite sure where to start as the opening few chapters proper left me breathless with one daring event after another  so probably at the beginning. The prologue, aptly entitled “the past”, covers certain events in one week in 2009 and sets up part of the present day narrative. I loved this introduction for the way it is written and what it says and how it says it. It is very sympathetic. Then it gets straight into what can only be a tsunami of serious, violent crimes. I have my doubts that anyone would undertake such a jaw dropping sequence of acts but, boy is it exciting, high octane and very readable. To be honest the wildfire in the title becomes background noise and slightly redundant in the crime wave that occurs although it is highly topical with the unfolding disaster in Australia.

The novel is told from various points of view, mostly Henry and Diane’s, and while it switches in chapter this is not as distracting as it might suggest. There are so many events that a bit of background from the criminal point of view fills in a few gaps and moves the plot forward.

I haven’t read many of the novels in this series but I’m not 100% on board with Henry Christie. He’s always ready to have a go, obviously enjoys the chase and is smart and strategic in this thinking but I always get the feeling that it’s on his terms and that he’s quite selfish in his outlook.  Diane, on the other hand, is my new fictional heroine, smart, selfless and above all resourceful. I want to be her, cool under fire literally.

Wildfire is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.
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5 stars

What a remarkable mystery/police procedural! 

Henry Christie is a former Detective Superintendent who has retired and it loving it. He runs the Tawny Owl pub and guest house just outside of Blackpool. There is a raging forest fire threatening the town and the pub and Henry and his friends are doing their best to help out the firefighters. 

When some of the residents don't respond to check-ins, Henry decides to go and check on them. The first thing he notices is that the couple's Great Dane is dead in the driveway – shot. He creeps through the house and discovers that the owners have been dismembered. He also discovers a cache of cash that may be as much as 2 million pounds. 

Convinced to assist the police in the investigation, he is teamed up with DC Diane Daniels. She is a driven and spunky young woman. Henry likes her very much. Together, and with the other police officers, they tackle a gang of murderous ne'er-do wells. 

This is an exciting and engaging read. I compulsively read it far past my bedtime. It is extremely well written and plotted. One event follows another in a perfectly logical progression. I liked Henry and Diane, as well as many of the other police officers. The explosion at the house makes a great subplot – and adds additional tension to the story, although the reader doesn't find out why until near the end of the novel. Very well done, Mr. Oldham! 

I want to thank NetGalley and Severn House for forwarding to me a copy of this very excellent book for me to read, enjoy and review.
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Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for the eARC.
Wow, this is a great police procedural with two extremely likeable main characters (Henry Christie and Diane Daniels), I loved it!
Henry is retired from the police and gets drawn into the serious case of two beheadings.  The gang responsible for those killings and several others that occur is well-known to Henry.  They're a seriously nasty and brutal group and it's difficult to get anywhere close to them as they will shoot to kill, whether you're police or not.  
The strategic ways Henry, Diane and the other members of the police slowly close the net is amazing, I couldn't stop reading.  It's so well written and realistic, kudos to the author!  It was also an eye opener to read how lawless Blackpool and the surrounding areas seem to be.  This is definitely one of the best British mysteries I've read in a long time.  Highly recommended!
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