Playing With Fire Kerry Wilkinson






Seven years ago, a young lad, Alfie, has too much to drink and staggers home. He’s lost his wallet and can’t get a lift. Stopping at a derelict pub he decides to shelter from the weather and sleep inside for the night.

Unfortunately for him Martin Chadwick decides to burn the pub down that night, killing Alfie.

Martin is tried and convicted for manslaughter, and now he is being released from prison.

There have been threats against Chadwick so his release from prison is supervised by DS Jessica Daniel. In an unorthodox passage from prison Jess talks to Chadwick and finds him strangely humble.

At the same time, Private Detective Andrew Hunter is hired to find out who got a rich man’s daughter pregnant.

What follows is a series of arson attacks and some teenage suicides, but are they all connected, and if so, who is the connection.

During the investigation, Jess Daniels crosses paths with journalists and must rely on help from unexpected allies. At the same time she is dealing with issues in her private life.

The main thread of this story rotates around the arson attacks and the possible connections between them, and maybe the suicides.

Those of you who have read my bio will know that I spent 30 years in the Fire Service with 12 years as a Fire Scene Investigator.

There is a scene in this book which is the best I have ever read when describing events inside a fire.

This is reflective of the whole book, it’s a great story, well researched well written.

There is a great blend between the investigations and the private life of the main character. Jess Daniel has had a turbulent career. For those of you who haven’t read the other books in the series I would highly recommend that you put them straight to the top of your to-read-list.

Right I’m off to read more Kerry Wilkinson.

Playing With Fire Tess Gerritsen

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Playing With Fire   Tess Gerritsen

Julia is a musician; she has a successful Husband who loves her, and a beautiful three-year-old daughter who she dotes over. Life is pretty much perfect.

The book starts with Julia buying a book of Gypsy Music whilst on a trip to Rome. Within its pages she finds an original piece of music by an unknown composer. Reading the music and playing it in her head Julia finds it complicated but beautiful.

When Julia arrives home she plays the piece for the first time she waits till her three year old daughter Lily is playing quietly by herself, before taking out her violin and playing the piece. As she reaches the end of the piece her daughter comes running into the room covered in blood and holding a gardening fork. From that point on Julia’s life changes; the relationship with her family is affected by her thoughts and at the centre of it all that piece of music: Incendio.

In Julia’s attempts to discover the origins of the music another story unfolds and the reader is transported to 1930’s Italy where a young musician, Lorenzo, is given his grandfathers violin and asked to take part in a duet competition with a young lady he has never met before. They are from different backgrounds and would never have met if it wasn’t for the music, but there blooming relationship has one major problem. Lorenzo and his family are Jewish and the Italian Fascists are beginning to act like their German allies and alienate the Jews. The young lady and her family try to warn Lorenzo’s family of the change in attitudes towards the Jewish community and convince them to escape before they are interned and transported to Poland with the rest of the Jews caught up in the horrors of Hitler and Mussolini’s reign.

The 2 stories play out through the book. Lorenzo experiences in Europe during the 1930’s and 1940’s. Julia’s fight to prove her own sanity in America in the 21st Century.

Eventually the two stories inevitably come together in a spine tingling conclusion to a story that, at times, made the hair on my arms stand up.

It is very hard to do this book justice without giving away too much of the plot. As a rule I usually am happy to comment on anything that happens in the first half of a book but nothing in the second, to avoid the dreaded spoilers. I could happily write about this book all day but that would just ruin it for everybody else, and everybody should read this.

Whilst I was reading the book I had in my head the haunting violin piece from the film Shindler’s List. My daughter is a good violinist and I have seen her reduce people to tears playing that piece, and there is the obvious connection between the film and this story.

Then I discovered that Tess Gerritsen has composed a piece of music, Incendio, and had it recorded by one of the top violinists in the world. I had it playing whilst I wrote this blog. Just as it is described in the book it is a beautifully haunting waltz with a tumultuous finale.

So I guess this is not only a book review but in a way my first music review.

All I can say is both are 10/10. I loved the book, I loved the music. What a talented woman

Thank You Tess Gerritsen