Firewatching begins promisingly in Barbara Vine territory — the relationship between two elderly spinsters is the most impressive part of this wayward debut — but thereafter it lurches into Hammer horror. Still, it will be interesting to see, as the series develops, if Tyler always gets his man.
DS Adam Tyler makes his debut in Russ Thomas’s debut novel. Sidelined to the cold case review unit in Sheffield, Tyler manages to finagle his way on to a current case when a corpse is discovered bricked into a room – “probably alive when he went in” – in a house that has been destroyed by fire. As Tyler investigates, dealing with latent and not-so-latent homophobia among his colleagues, more fires start springing up, and the cold case suddenly isn’t quite so cold any more. An intriguing start to a new series, introducing a pleasingly misanthropic new hero with the requisite traumatic past.