Review: Home Fires Burn – DS Catherine Bishop #4 (Lisa Hartley)

DS Catherine Bishop is returning to work after a (presumably) harrowing and traumatic incident in a previous book. This is book four in the series, but it stands well on its own as a standalone if you’re coming in somewhere in the middle (or current end) of the series, as I have.

Bishop has returned, and is immediately thrown back into the field. There’s an arsonist roaming around, randomly setting things on fire, and Bishop is sent out with another detective to stake out a business.

In the midst of their arson problem, the police are presented with another issue: two people, a man and a woman, killed in their flat. Murder-suicide? Possibly, since the couple argued often, according to the nosy neighbors, but the clues don’t point to that, as the woman has been shot and the man has died of brute force trauma to the head.

We have the usual tropes that show up: the previously mentioned nosy neighbors, the pissed off family members of the dead woman who wanted to get her away from this abusive partner of hers, interveiwees possibly hiding something, and so on. However, they are not intrusive, and are more along the lines of what readers expect in the genre.

Adding to the problems DS Bishop and her colleagues is yet another arson, this time with someone crisped by the fire – but with a twist I won’t mention.

There’s a secondary story about Bishop and her relationship with Isla, a woman on a specialized department who may or may not be heading to London to go with her superior officer in a promotion of sorts. There are times when the remarks by some of her colleagues are annoying, but overall, the feelings Bishop has about a new and long distance relationship come through as authentic.

There are twists and turns galore, tons of suspects and people to question, and perps that can be guessed, but there’s a situation with the secondary perp at the end that is a hold your breath and then breathe a sigh of relief that’s well done.

Overall, I can rate this book in this way: after I finished it, I went and bought the first three in the series, so I can catch up. I don’t do this often, as first novels introducing characters have to carry a lot of baggage to get the series underway.

A solid four stars out of five.

Thanks to Canelo and NetGalley for the review copy.