Today I have a #guestreview from #BookAddictShaun for Steve Liszka’s Dead Watch!
Life for the firefighters of Red Watch, East Brighton, is already complicated due to the imminent closure of their fire station. But this is soon to be the least of their worries.
When the team stumble upon a car in a ditch, they discover the driver is dead and a bag containing five hundred thousand pounds in cash. Before anyone arrives, the crew decide to take the money, believing it to be a victimless crime.
When they later learn that the driver was killed by a bullet wound to the head their world is turned upside down.
Then a stranger appears at the station claiming the money belongs to him.
Soon the firefighters are drawn into a dangerous underworld and find themselves at the mercy of violent criminals.
But is this stranger who he claims to be?
And can Red Watch escape with the money and their lives intact?
Chicago Fire is one of my favourite TV shows and so I was very excited about the premise to Dead Watch when I first read the blurb. I’ve never read a book centred around a group of firefighters before and, with Steve Liszka being one himself, the book is very authentic throughout and whilst the in-depth descriptions of firefighting could potentially put some people off, I was very intrigued and loved just how much detail Steve put into the story.
Without giving too much away, we have a team of Brighton firefighters who head off to another shout only to find a dead man inside a car with half a million pounds on the seat next to him. The crew take the money, oblivious to the danger they will soon find themselves facing thanks to this split-second decision. I recently read a book that featured a character finding a bag of money inside a vehicle and taking it and the story here was executed so much better than the one in that story. Whilst you’d never expect a team of firefighters to steal something from a scene like this, for the purposes of fictional storytelling I could overlook that and a believable case was made by Steve for the actions of his characters as we meet each of them and discover more about their lives.
The cast of characters here is what really shines through in this book. Each of them are so well-drawn with individual personalities and stories to tell. I truly enjoyed reading about each and every one of them. The camaraderie amongst them is fantastic to read, but that’s not to say that there isn’t animosity amongst them at times. Particularly from those who don’t agree with the rest of the team stealing money from a dead man. I would love to go into detail about my favourite characters however this is a story where you should just discover them for yourselves. There’s a real drama here amongst the characters and whilst the story itself is at times sensationalised, the characters are all believable and I had no trouble seeing them as real people. There’s plenty of humour laced throughout this story and I had a lot of fun reading it.
I enjoyed as well how the story was told. Rather than the conventional numbered chapters, each chapter is titled with something that relates to the scenes within that chapter and I felt that worked really well. The storytelling is strong and the plot here was executed brilliantly. Whilst you might envy someone for suddenly having thousands of pounds in their pockets, it soon becomes clear that this money is tainted and I couldn’t read quick enough to see how the team were going to make amends for what they had done, and how they were going to get themselves out of the situation they had found themselves in. Some unsavoury characters make this story an at times tense and unpredictable read. The ending particularly was a highlight for me and I loved how everything came together in the closing pages.
Steve Liszka is definitely an author I will be looking out for in the future. I enjoyed reading his note at the end of the book, I have a fondness for those books that received dozens of rejections only for someone to finally come along and take a chance on them and I am glad Bloodhound books did that for Steve as Dead Watch is a fantastic thriller and features a cast that are different and stand out in a crowded genre. I could easily see this book working as a TV show. I will be eagerly awaiting Steve’s next book.
Grab a copy today!