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I live in Bristol UK literary fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run

New boy on the block!

The Burning Men - Will Shindler

It is with more than a little trepidation that I start book 1 in a new detective series. The reviews for The Burning men have been many and positive, so I was hopeful that such praise was justified and my goodness how right they were.

The past: A fire is blazing at One Pacific Square, a multi-billion-pound regeneration project. One resident is in situ and the first 4 fire fighters on the scene enter the burning building with little thought for their own safety. The consequences that follow will have fatal repercussions long into the future.

The present: DI Alex Finn & DC Mathilde (Mattie) Paulsen are assigned a new case. Finn has returned to full time duty following the sad demise of his wife Karin. He has much to prove, so many of his fellow officers will be suspicious of his early return and wonder if his state of mind can cope with the pressures of a new and at times complex investigation

Finn and Mattie attend the scene of a brutal crime.The charred body of a young man is discovered in the bathroom of an hotel….it was his wedding day. This is the start of seemingly random killings, but as the body count mounts, a tenuous association emerges between the Pacific Square fire and an historic bank heist. To me the mark of a good story is how believable the main characters are and how much of an impression they make on judgemental readers. DI Finn is a pedantic, organised, considerate private man always concerned with the minutiae, and the great responsibility placed upon him..."how smart his appearance was- the closely trimmed hair, the crisply ironed shirt, the carefully moisturised skin"........"He was a man of certainties and police work was the area of his life where he felt most certain".....DC Poulsen has to prove herself as a capable partner but does little to endear herself to Finn when she berates him in a moment of uncontrollable rage and unprofessionalism.

The pace of the narration is fast and although the plot is detailed it never becomes over complex and is always accessible. Future books in the series will undoubtedly reveal more in the colourful lives of Finn and Paulsen. The Burning Men has been a delight to read with a new army of admirers and I count myself amongst their number.