Firewatching (Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler #1) by Russ Thomas

Firewatching (Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler #1) by Russ Thomas
Publisher/Year: Putnam, 2020
Format: ARC – paperback
Pages: 358
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


A taut and ambitious police procedural debut introducing Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler, a cold-case reviewer who lands a high-profile murder investigation, only to find the main suspect is a recent one-night stand…

When financier Gerald Cartwright disappeared from his home six years ago, it was assumed he’d gone on the run from his creditors. But then a skeleton is found bricked up in the cellar of Cartwright’s mansion, and it becomes clear Gerald never left alive.

As the sole representative of South Yorkshire’s Cold Case Review Unit, Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler is not expected to get results, but he knows this is the case that might finally kick-start his floundering career. Luckily, he already has a suspect. Unluckily, that suspect is Cartwright’s son, the man Tyler slept with the night before. To further complicate matters, tied up in his investigation are an elderly woman with dementia who’s receiving mysterious threats referencing a past she can’t remember, and am ambitious young Muslim constable seeking to prove herself on a force of good old boys.

Someone in the city knows exactly what happened to Gerald. Someone who is watching from the shadows. Someone who has an unhealthy affinity with fire…

What I thought

Thank you to Putnam for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Hello, reader friends! Today I’m bringing to your attention an excellent debut novel and a solid addition to the crime fiction genre.

I want to start out by saying that I haven’t read much crime fiction, but I have always wanted to read a detective series from the beginning because there’s nothing I love more than getting to know and becoming attached to a character over time. After having finished this book, I can already tell that this is going to be the case with DS Tyler. His character was my favorite part of this book! This is going to be a weird comparison, but if you know, you know–Adam’s personality reminded me of Geralt from The Witcher. And I love me a gruff lone wolf with a sarcastic, begrudging sense of humor!

As for the mystery, I’m never good at figuring them out, but the reveal at the end took me TOTALLY by surprise. I think I had suspected nearly every character but that one. I do want to point out that the pacing of this one is sort of slow (at least until the end), but I think that is more to do with me–one of the last books I read was a psychological thriller, which flew by. Firewatching is not so much a thriller, but rather a crime fiction/police procedural/mystery. These stories tend to progress a little slower, but they’re just as good. I’m merely pointing out that the juxtaposition of the two different genres made the pacing a little jarring for me, but I soon settled in and found myself absorbed.

Overall, I really enjoyed this read, and I think crime fiction junkies will, too. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next installment!