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


Print Length: 358 pages
Publisher:  Boldwood Books (May 30, 2022)

From When DI Barton is asked to investigate a seemingly innocuous fire that kills, he believes it's either children fooling around or a worrying racially motivated crime.

As he delves deeper into the case, he soon realises that there is a history of similar blazes spread out over many years, all within a close area. And after an idea is suggested by pathologist Mortis, Barton suspects he has the arsonist’s motives wrong.

When a night worker comes forward with a tip, Barton narrows down the suspects. Yet all of them act suspiciously and he knows for sure that one or more of them are lying. And when a huge house blaze shocks everyone, Barton fears the killer has lost all control.

Who is The Fire Killer? What will be next to burn?


My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

I have been a fan of this author for the entirety of this series (although, yes, I did read this novel out of order). And sure, they can absolutely be read as stand alone novels, however I think for the full experience of getting to know the team they should be read in order. 

There are a couple of reasons why I enjoy these books, and why I think they work so well for the majority of audiences. To begin with, I very much enjoy the fact that these stories are always told from dual points of view; one being DI Barton and the other being the killer. I think it helps as a reader to get that insight into what the killer is thinking and why they are doing what they are doing. The second thing is that these characters are written as authentic people without being cliche. DI Barton is a happily married man who is trying his best to balance his career with his home life (even when it doesn't often go the way he planned) . His team is each written in a way that makes them stand out as people instead of just background players. They have lives, they have goals, and some of them have past trauma that they are trying to deal with while still doing the best they can at their jobs. 

Instead of calling these thriller novels (although I can see where others might think that), I choose to call these books police procedurals. That means you are right there, "boots on the ground" with Barton and his team as they conduct interviews, meet a variety of suspicious characters, and hit dead ends. For me, these novels can be a bit slow going at times, but I feel that is the nature of real police work. It isn't always kicking in doors and arresting bad guys; it's all the little steps in between. 

What didn't work for me with this novel was the secondary storyline. I can see where in a couple of instances, it was used to move the main narrative along, but on the whole, I found the entire thing to be a bit distracting. There were a couple of twists, some of which I saw coming, others I didn't, that I feel are also worth being mentioned (also kudos to the author for putting a later scene first to build suspense, although I later found myself skipping said scene when I got to its chronological place in the story). 

That all being said, I am sad that this series will be ending, but I look forward to seeing what this author does next. 
                                           The Fire Killer is available on
                                         (for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited)

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