The Magazine for Crime & Mystery



Val McDermid Interview

Nevada Barr on writing HUNTING SEASON plus an excerpt

Paul Doherty's short story THE KYRIE MAN

Stark Contrasts Michael Carlson examines the pulp fiction of Richard Stark

Have you got what it takes to be a Writer? by Fiona Shoop

It Could Only Happen in Hollywood

Thermal Image

Pat O'Keefe

Hodder & Stoughton £18.99/£6.99


Reviewed by Mike Jecks

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One of the great pleasures of reviewing is finding a new writer whose story is gripping and whose books you'll want to look out for in future. This is one of those books which isn't for the squeamish.
It tells the story of Steve Jay, a fireman who's constantly on edge because his girl, Jenny, has left him for a slimy businessman called Kris Mayle. Mayle has already put Jenny out of business, while protesting that he's helping her, and he's taken all her money, but also Steve's as well. Steve is not happy, but when Jenny comes back to him, he wants to put Mayle behind him and forget the pain of the last few months. But that is very much pushed from his mind when he and his unit are called to a fire in an East London fashion store, and he arrives in time to see a human fireball fling itself from a window, desperate to escape the flames.
It's not a clean job, so far as Steve Jay is concerned, and when an old friend who is now a loss-adjuster, Alex, calls him and asks him to look into it in return for cash, he's reluctant at first, but eventually decides to agree. If the Service finds out, he could be fired, but Alex plays a trump card and introduces Steve to the widow of the man who died in the fire: Eileen Sheldon, who is stunningly beautiful, and who persuades him to help her. But nothing in this is straightforward. When Steve starts to look into the fire, he soon finds that the pressure increases, and then the other fires start, and as firemen get to be injured, he realises that his own life is in danger. If he can't find the fire starter, he may be the next victim. It's a first novel, and you have to accept some pieces which aren't as taut as they could be, but it has been excellently edited and all in all, this is an excellent first outing from a new author who deserves to be watched.

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