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by Pat O'Keeffe
Hodder & Stoughton, March 2002
536 pages
ISBN: 0340820160

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Steven Jay, Station Officer in an East End of London firehouse, has many problems. He mortgaged his house to help Jenny, his lover, in her fashion business, but that folded. She left him for another investor and he lost his house. Recently, she has come back into his life, but not yet into his bed. He is beset by debt.

A fire in an East London fashion warehouse leaves a man dead. Jay thinks he saw a woman's face at the window just after the man, aflame, leapt from the window. But there was no one there after the fire was put out. There is a puzzling connection to an earlier warehouse fire, and Jay's old friend, now working for an insurance company, asks him to help discover if there was a connection. Things get murkier when Jay discovers that the dead man's daughter's fiancé is the man who purportedly caused Steven's financial difficulty and the man for whom Jenny left him.

This is a first novel by a working firefighter. The firefighting scenes are exceptionally vivid. Steven Jay is a troubled man, and if the supporting characters aren't as fully rounded as possible, individuals and situations do stand out. I look forward to the next.

Note: This is a review of the UK edition from New English Library; ISBN: 0340820160. £6.99

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, January 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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