Girl on Fire by Tony Parsons

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Girl on Fire by Tony Parsons

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Category: Crime
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: James Donald
Reviewed by James Donald
Summary: An amazing book. Incredibly well written and compelling.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: March 2018
Publisher: Century
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1780895956

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A drone collides with an air ambulance, the mess falls on a busy shopping centre and we are barely out of the first chapter. DC Max Wolfe's latest adventure looks at religion, radicalisation, hate and paranoia. Without drawing breath we immediately jump to catching those responsible. The rest of the book gradually builds a web of intrigue and a virtual soap opera of family issues.

Parson's latest novel is a master class on building a world, developing a plot and how to write a sequel. This is the fifth Max Wolfe book but the first I've read. I recently reviewed The Prince and the Whitechapel Murders by Saul David and commented on how badly the sequel aspect of the book was handled; this book is the complete opposite. With the skill of Tom Clancy, information is dripped in about past adventures without it ever feeling like a handbrake has been pulled.

Max Wolfe jumps off the page and is every bit as real as the best fictional cops out there. Wolfe is noble but flawed and his emotional journey is brilliantly handled. Fleshing out Wolfe's life we have family interactions every bit as genuine and alive as those in Parson's earlier books. These characters bring love and happiness to a dark tale but also provide incredible tragedy too.

Why the Wolfe books have not been made into Hollywood blockbusters I don't know because if the others in the series are as good as this they would be a license to print money.

Being slightly more critical this is not perfect and as always there are things that could be tweaked. One of the key supporting characters, Layla, refers to her father as papa but given the culture she comes from baba would have been more appropriate. One of the key plot aspects that has huge importance right to the end of the book is actually very obvious. What is done with this point isn't signposted but actually develops naturally but the thing in question, whilst supposed to be a surprise that dawns on us right at the end actually is more of a Chekov's gun. There are a few transitions between parts of the story, or decisions that are made that feel a little disjointed as if editing has cut out a key paragraph that introduced the change in direction. None of these issues are more than minor points in an incredibly well written book.

Girl on Fire presents itself as a procedural police drama… a whodunnit, but all the main players are caught early on and the book itself actually becomes more about the fall out of a major incident rather than the hunt to catch those responsible. This makes it unique and exciting in this genre.

Spoilers – The ending will break your heart.

Further reading The Slaughter Man by Tony Parsons

Buy Girl on Fire by Tony Parsons at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Girl on Fire by Tony Parsons at

Buy Girl on Fire by Tony Parsons at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Girl on Fire by Tony Parsons at


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