MYSTERY

Firewatching

Putnam. (Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler, Bk. 1). Feb. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9780525542025. $26. M
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DEBUT of the month Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler always wondered whether the South Yorkshire Cold Case Review Unit was meant to get results or whether his one-man unit was a PR stunt. He also thought he could be paraded out as the department’s token gay detective. Then he fights for what’s going to be a high-profile case. Builders discover a body when they knock down a wall in an old house, and it’s probably Gerald Cartwright, a prominent businessman who disappeared six years earlier. Tyler needs to hide the problem that could throw him off the case. He had a one-night stand the night before with a primary suspect, Cartwright’s son. Then, a fire investigator convinces Tyler that an old fire at the house could be linked to a series of fires now occurring in the vicinity. It takes time, but the investigating team finds a blogger who's writing about the fires—someone who may know the secrets about Cartwright’s disappearance.
VERDICT This debut is a riveting story of fathers, sons, and secrets. Readers who appreciate Ann Cleeves’s intricately plotted stories with complicated protagonists will welcome another British series into that fold. Tortured characters and the fires ignite a dramatic debut.
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