Mojca's Reviews > Trial by Fire

Trial by Fire by Jo Davis
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I finally decided to visit the world of the hunky, yummy Firefighters of Station Five.

In the first book a serial arsonist/killer is handcuffing women to the bed, setting them on fire, and sending gruesome mementos to Lieutenant Howard "Six-Pack" Paxton. Is the killer targeting this mountain of a fireman just by coincidence or is there something more sinister afoot?

Has a ghost risen from Lieutenant’s traumatic past just when Howard is ready to put it all behind him and start a real relationship with a woman of his dreams, to take it all away again?


I started this book with great expectations, also thanks to the rave reviews of GoodReads. The blurb promised plenty of suspense, the GoodReads ladies gushed about the steam coming off the pages.
Sadly, I have to admit I was quite disappointed.

It started great, the suspense was gripping with the villain lurking on the sidelines, and the characters utterly popping out of the pages. Howard, Kat, and the other members of Howard’s A-shift were great, well-developed, real, flaws and all. But as the story progressed and the author gave more space to the sex scenes between Howie and Kat (which were great, don’t get me wrong), I felt the story lost that starting edge.
Sure, the budding romance was a great opportunity for some more character development and Ms. Davis added additional layers to the already complicated Howard and his even-more complicated relationship with Kat (including a scene that gave that extra touch of realism to the story – the fishing-pole drama), but other aspects of the story started receding into the background. And in concentrating on Kat and Howard, even though it was great reading about them, this story turned from a promising romantic suspense novel into a slightly explicit romance with just a hint of suspense.

The villain started to appear only as an afterthought, I missed more psychological torture, and the big secret wasn’t even a secret, since all the clues scattered throughout the story pointed into the right direction all along. The author might have just simply said who the villain was in the first place and spared herself the effort.

So, there were aspects of this story that I loved (Howard’s character, his and Kat’s relationship, the guys and gal from the fire station), but there were just enough elements that weren’t explored enough, to balance the scale right in the middle.
Ms. Davis made a good effort of blending the romance and suspense together, but failed to bring them both to light in equal measure.

3 ½ stars
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