Fire and Vengeance - Robert McCaw

Koa Kane is Hawai`i's Chief Detective and in this third instalment of his mystery series he has to juggle his estranged brother's request for parole and a new investigation into why government officials approved the construction of a school over a volcanic vent. This comes to light after an eruption destroys the school killing children and teachers alike, but Koa has to figure out, was this done on purpose? Who would want to kill children in such a terrible way? Koa is plunged into the world conspiracy and corruption and he must keep his head above water to get to the bottom of it.

Instantly captivating, Fire and Vengeance begins by throwing the reader straight into the action and throughout the novel there is not a lag in any of it. It is apparent that this will be a thrilling adventure for both the main character and the reader within a few chapters as we're thrown from tragedy to tragedy. I was initially hesitant to read this as the synopsis detailed a lot of things going on and I was both wrong and right on that assumption. There was a lot to keep track of not just with the story but with the varying characters involved and although this usually turns me off I have to congratulate McCaw on being able to neatly tie together these different strings. Equal levels of interest were spread out between the two main plot points without distracting from each other, they were introduced at perfect points to keep the reader engaged further. There was a bit of muddling through in the middle where keeping track of everyone was becoming a little laborious but once I came toward the end it was worth it.

As the third instalment to this series there was some underlying introductions and established relationships that I personally could have benefited from further background on that was not covered in this novel itself. Saying this the story itself could read beautifully as a standalone piece, I read it without much complaint to the character histories and there were brief introductions to cover the reader enough to get by. Based on this I do recommend starting with the first novel (Death of a Messenger) to get the appropriate level of prior understanding.

With most crime thrillers the ending is a crucial turning point, do you do a staggered reveal and build up to a dramatic twist? Do you have a big reveal and leave a cliffhanger for the next instalment? With Fire and Vengeance I felt that the ending fell flat, although I got everything I wanted from it there was just an overbearing feeling of 'rushed'. The characters, settings and writing of this novel were wonderful and I would have happily read a further 50 pages if it meant just stretching the ending out a little further. From beginning to 95% of the way through the novel there is a beautiful slow burn that reveals all kinds of secrets but that last 5% was such a drastic change of direction that it was all over before I knew what I'd read.

For the most part this was an amazing crime novel that definitely deserves it's place on my (virtual) bookshelf. I want to thank both the author and Michelle at FSB Associates for sending me a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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