Firewatching by Russ Thomas #bookreview blog tour @thevoiceofruss @simonschusterUK @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the brilliant debut by Russ Thomas, Firewatching. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.


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 . . .


I may have already found one of my books of the year, and we’re only in January! I’m often finding with police procedurals, that it is very hard to stand out, but Russ Thomas has definitely done this here. Firewatching is an incredibly good debut with an utterly gripping plot and a really likeable main character. This is definitely going to be a series I will be keeping an eye on.

Firewatching is the first book where we meet DS Adam Tyler. A cold case is about to be reopened when the body of a man, Gerald Cartwright, who went missing years ago, has been discovered, bricked up in a wall. The discovery takes place during renovations on a building called ‘The Old Vicarage,’ which his family are overseeing. The case brings back haunting memories for those involved. Adam and his team must unpick the layers within Gerald’s family to find out what happened to the man and who was responsible for his death. But Tyler is walking on eggshells. He has already become involved with one of the members of the man’s family. This may jeopardise the entire investigation and his career.

What I really liked about this book was the characters, and I think they will make sure I keep returning to this series. Russ Thomas made them feel so real in his writing, and I really liked the sharp wit and sense of humour in their dialogue, particularly with Adam and his work partner.

But the discovery of Gerald Cartwright body isn’t all that Adam and his team have to deal with. Around Sheffield someone is starting fires, which is causing serious concern to the fire department, they soon become involved in Adam’s current investigation. I was intrigued by this part of the mystery, and I wanted to know if this was in some way connected to Gerald’s murder.

The plotting throughout the novel is tight. I became totally invested in the mystery and in the lives of the characters. Russ Thomas has done an excellent job in creating a twisty plot with plenty of red herrings thrown into the mix.

I also liked the historical elements of the novel. In the minds of one of Russ’s characters, we are taken back to London during World War Two. I found these flashback scenes quite chilling, but they also added an extra element to the story which I really enjoyed.

This is a brilliant debut with an excellent cast of characters who I’m sure will keep readers coming back for more. Highly recommended!

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Print length: 432 pages

Publication date: 20th February 2020

If you would like to purchase Firewatching, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones


Firewatching BT Poster

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