Fire Investigator Ed(ina) has a creepy stalker whilst her sister Heather is bullied by Janelle. ‘She’ hates Janelle and wants to watch her burn …
Forensic Files #3
I love reconnecting with the North-East Police whose members almost feel like family to me, such as Detective Inspector Ali McKay. The friendly atmosphere and mutual looking out for each other are simply heartwarming. Not so for Edina (Ed) though, the former firefighter who now is a Fire Investigator. She feels she has lost the right to be part of her team since a tumultuous break up with a colleague firefighter ended in his mandatory leave from the Darlington Fire Department. Added to that, somebody is regularly entering her home and leaving obscure notes. Ed’s little sister Heather has problems of her own as she is the object of constant pestering and bullying by Janelle and her friends. The most frightening, however, is the insight we have into ‘her’ mind – ‘she’ has endured an abusive environment growing up adhering to her obsession with fire. ‘She’ wants revenge and cannot wait to watch her enemies burn …
Ed’s little sister Heather also feels alone and her answer to the constant bullying by Janelle and her two friends is self-mutilation, even though she knows she is not the only victim with her best friends, Susie and Chloe, also being targets of Janelle’s nastiness. Powerless to act or to end the pestering, Heather feels unable to handle the situation and is too lost to seek help from her mother and sister. Ed in the meantime has no clue as to how the creep is able to enter her house unseen, leaving notes everywhere. Although he has not harmed her in any way, it is extremely disquieting that he is able to come and go as he pleases. Who is this stalker invading her private life? Perhaps the manipulating firefighter she had a relationship with? Could he be that obsessed? Furthermore, the fact that the intruder leaves no marks makes Ed doubt whether the Police or her colleagues will ever believe her, let alone apprehend her stalker.
When examining a crime scene, Fire Investigator Ed meets Crime Scene Manager Kevin again. Their first encounter left a bad taste and the question is whether they can set aside their animosity. Is it a coincidence Kevin is sent to Ed’s house to examine the scene? Soon their lives become entwined as the danger increases. Meanwhile, ‘she’ is thrilled to have watched this house burning and while ‘she’ watches we are privy to her thoughts about a bullying father and a mother who did not do anything – the reason why ‘she’ learned to cook at an early age. Is it watching the flames of the cooker burn that set off her fascination with fire? Her father desperately tried to keep her from setting fire to places but ‘she’ has cleverly found a way around it. We are witness to her hate for Janelle and her craving for revenge and know, it is only a matter of time before ‘she’ starts the gruesome retaliation ‘she’ has been planning for ages: to watch them burn ..
Wow! The North East Police consists of such extraordinary characters! Those of you who have read the previous thrillers in the series will recognise DI Ali McKay and references to other characters. It almost feels like a family reunion if it were not for the dark and gruesome events going on in the book. This time, the author has dug deep into her characters and we witness how one of the protagonists (‘she’) grows up in an abusive environment. To the author, it is clearly nurture – a disrupted childhood – causing people to become unhinged. It is disturbing to be in ‘her’ head and experience the world through ‘her’ eyes. Somehow you feel pity but the gruesome and spine-chilling thoughts and actions speak another language. I love it that KA Richardson in this 4th instalment decided to focus on the psychology and showed us her characters’ vulnerabilities and how they developed into the messed up people they are now. It not only ensures the characters are true-to-life but also reminds us there is much more to an individual than they show the world.
The Forensic Files Series consists of crime thrillers with the CSI Team and Police Force of Sunderland as well as the Fire Department. This fourth book focuses on the Darlington Fire Department and can be read as a stand-alone.
#1 I’ve Been Watching You (my review)
#2 Time To Play (my review)
#3 Watch You Burn
#4 Under the Woods
#5 From the Dark
About the Author
KA (Kerry) Richardson grew up in North East England and she is still living there with her husband Peter. What might be her earliest memory is of hand-writing small books, stapling the sides and giving them to teachers and other people as gifts. Needless to say, she has always been an avid reader: from Enid Blyton and Willard Price to Patricia Cornwell and Jonathan Kellerman. Kerry Richardson’s dream of working for the Police was shattered when she damaged her knee and that is when she enrolled at University of Teesside and passed her Bsc Crime Scene Science in 2008 after which she started working in the forensics field. Her “already active imagination began working overtime” in the author’s own words and that is when she decided to complete her MA Creative Writing whilst working full time. Kerry reads whenever she can and it comes as no surprise that her taste bends towards the crime genre.
|Publisher||Bloodhound Books (2 May 2017)|