Thomas adeptly develops his diverse cast, but the novel’s real power lies in its intricate structure—the mystery surrounding the body is impressively deep, the various levels of tension are relentless, and every chapter ends with a narrative punch to the face. This police procedural is virtually unputdownable.
The answers come slowly in an easygoing narrative that will frustrate readers looking for harder edges. They’re advised to relax into the amiable tale and savor the vignettes along the way, like the encounters with a full-of-himself professor and a raffish thief or two, while marveling at the findings of those fellows with the metal detectors. Turns out valuable relics from the Roman occupation of Britain are one only one twist of your metal detector away.
The sequel to Firewatching is a confusing, complex book that culminates in a cliff-hanger. Even readers of the previous book will have a difficult time connecting the story line from the previous novel.