Title: The Fire Pit (A Faroes novel #3)
Author: Chris Ould
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication date: 20 February 2018
Curious Ginger Cat is delighted to host today’s stop on the blog tour for Chris Ould’s most recent release, The Fire Pit.
“A winner for fans of both Scandinavian and British procedurals… a complicated tangle of secret motivations that fans of Henning Mankell and Elizabeth George will appreciate.” BOOKLIST (starred review) on THE BLOOD STRAND
In the wake of a dying man’s apparent suicide, the skeleton of a young woman is discovered on a windswept hillside. Detective Hjalti Hentze suspects that it is the body of a Norwegian woman reported missing forty years earlier, while a commune occupied the land, and whose death may be linked to the abduction and rape of a local Faroese girl.
Meanwhile British DI Jan Reyna is pursuing his investigation into his mother’s suicide. But as he learns more about her final days, links between the two cases start to appear: a conspiracy of murder and abuse spanning four decades. And as Hentze puts the same pieces together, he realizes that Reyna is willing to go further than ever before to learn the truth…
The Fire Pitis the third book in Ould’s Faroes series. Whilst it can easily be read as a standalone novel, I wish that I had taken the time to read the earlier books in the series as I think they would have added some useful context to one of the story arcs.
The Fire Pit starts with the discovery of a body in the Faroe Islands, resulting in Faroese detective Hjalti Hentze tasked with investigating both a cold case and a recent suicide. In the midst of these investigations, the reader is introduced to Faroese-born British detective Jan Reyna who is conducting a personal enquiry into his mother’s suicide decades earlier. As the two investigations proceed, links appear between the two investigations resulting in Reyna and Hentze joining forces and working together in order to track down a murderer.
I liked Ould’s depiction of both Hentze and Reyna’s characters and I enjoyed learning the nuances of each individual. It was interesting to note that Reyna’s chapters are written in the first person, whereas all other chapters are in third person. This highlights Reyna as the main protagonist, despite the book initially featuring Hentze more heavily. The first person point of view also helps to humanise Reyna and personalise his investigation into his mother’s death. I also particularly liked the supporting character of Tove Hald. I think I identified with her unwavering need to know everything and I envied her ability to be able to focus on the task at hand without bowing under the weight of normal worries (such as self-doubt and worrying what people think).
Ould’s writing style is a perfect fit with the story – a slow and steady start, a gradual building of tension and a dramatic finale. The plot is sinister and disturbing, and there is a definite ‘Nordic noir’ feel to the story, with the bleak Faroese landscape, the atmospheric writing style and the underlying social issues, albeit with less graphic violence than is often depicted within the genre and the addition of a UK author and protagonist.
The choice of location was interesting to me and I enjoyed learning more about the Faroe Islands whilst reading The Fire Pit (mostly thanks to Google!). I am curious to know whether the author has a personal connection to the Faroe Islands, given the unusual choice of location. It is a place that I would be interested to visit at some point in the future, if the opportunity arises.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Fire Pit and would not hesitate to recommend it to fans of police procedurals or to those with a liking for the Nordic noir/Scandi crime genres. I now plan to go back and read the earlier two books in the series. Whilst I have read that this series is a trilogy, I very much hope that we hear more from Reyna and Hentze in the future.
About the Author
After working at a wide variety of jobs, from ice-cream man to labourer, Chris Ould was first published as a novelist in the 1980s. He then spent many years working as a television scriptwriter, during which time he wrote more than eighty hours of drama and documentary programmes, including numerous episodes of the crime series The Bill, one of which won a BAFTA award.
Chris returned to novel writing with two YA books, before embarking on the Faroes trilogy of crime novels. He lives in Dorset with his wife and son. He also keeps sheep and tweets with the handle @WriterChrisOuld.
If you want to read more about The Fire Pit remember to visit the other stops on this tour, details as listed below: