Author: Leah Giarratano
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Year: 2010
Review By: Sylvia Loader
Miriam Caine, aged seventy, is dining with her son when she bursts into flames in the restaurant of a five-star hotel. The restaurant’s manager, Troy Berrigan, is first to her aid, but the woman later dies of her injuries. When investigators find accelerants on the victim’s face and clothing, the incident becomes a police matter, and attention is turned to Berrigan, a fallen hero cop, who fits the arsonist profil e. Berrigan knows he’s not the killer, but he also knows that at the time of the incident, he was the only person close enough to have set her on fire. When he’s connected to another death, Troy must do all he can to discover what really happened to Miriam Caine.
Her death preludes a spate of apparently unconnected acid and arson attacks around Sydney. Is it the beginning of an orchestrated campaign of terror? And is Troy Berrigan the perpetrator or an innocent bystander caught up in a terrible train of events?
While on study leave, Detective Sergeant Jill Jackson becomes caught up in the investigation. Working with Federal Agent Gabriel Delahunt, she is determined to find out what happened to Miriam Caine, because this case for her is not only about murder and maiming in Sydney: this case will change Jill Jackson’s life forever.
Fourth in the Sergeant Jill Jackson series, this is yet another compelling read from clinical physiatrist Dr. Leah Giarratano. At the appropriately named Incendie (French for fire) restaurant a woman burst into flames and the only person near enough to her to have started it is ex-cop Troy Berrigan. And this is only the start of a series of seemingly unrelated arson and acid attacks around Sydney.
Under suspicion, Troy works to clear his name while coping with the family issues so common in aboriginal society. Jill is on leave studying for her masters degree and is initially involved because her boyfriend is the investigating officer. But the crimes become all too personal for her as she is forced to revisit the traumas of her early life.
It is great to see Jill growing as a person though out the series. One of the features of Leah Giarratano’s work is that she understands the crises her characters experience and is able to focus on the different methods people use to cope with them. The minor characters are another feature, and their individual stories are small works of art enriching the story.
This is a book that seamlessly combines the police procedural with the psychological thriller – another great read.