Hodder & Stoughton £18.99/£6.99
Reviewed by Mike Jecks
|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.