The Fire Killer (DI Barton #5), by Ross Greenwood

Eight stars

Ross Greenwood returns with another great story in the DI Barton series. There is a spark to things here, keeping the reader in the middle of the action throughout this short, but impactful, piece. DI Barton is always keen to help those around him, but one wrong move and everything could go up in flames. A strong story and a great plot helps Greenwood pull readers into the middle of the action until the last chapter is left to smoulder.

After a fire takes the life of a woman, DI Barton and his team are called in to see what’s going on. While there does not appear to be much to the fire, Barton is left to wonder if this was a childhood prank gone wrong or perhaps a targeted attack with racial undertones. Either way, it should be a quick investigation. However, something does not appear entirely above board, which has Barton wanting to push the ashes around a little more to see what flares up.

True to his instincts, DI Barton realises that there have been a number of similar fires over the last number of years, made innocuous during early investigating because of their sporadic nature. As a clue crosses his desk, Barton is eager to follow it up, but finds himself chasing things down a rabbit hole for a time.

After a tip from someone on the streets who is sure she saw the arsonist first-hand, DI Barton follows the trail to see if there is a killer out there using fire as the ultimate weapon. There is no rhyme or reason to it all, but Peterborough will not rest until this killer is put behind bars. DI Barton is left to put all his resources into the case, worrying that there could be more dead before long, and his case would surely go up in smoke! A great addition to the series by Greenwood, showing his abilities front and centre.

Ross Greenwood has held my attention throughout this series which is always finding new ways to impress. The novels, which are based on strong narrative foundations, provide the reader with a great dual perspective, the DI Barton investigation and the killer. It is as though there is a game of cat and mouse taking place throughout the experience. A handful of key characters provide entertainment and offer up some continuity to the larger story, while also baffling the reader when new faces come along. Great plot twists that force everyone to take a second look at the crime, the backstory, and the events that shape the kills, provide just what the reader needs to push through the story. I have enjoyed the DI Barton series since its inception and with one book left, I hope things end well before Greenwood moves on to a new adventure.

Kudos, Mr. Greenwood, for keeping the reader in the middle of things in this hot addition to the collection.