Fire Sign by M.A. Petterson

Fire Sign by M.A. Petterson
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (44 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A beautiful forensic engineer hiding a tragic past reluctantly teams up with a troubled cop to stop a serial arsonist targeting churches.

Dr. Anja Toussaint believes that her own dreadful youth foretells who the arsonist is and the shocking motive behind the fires. But Detective Gil Dolan stubbornly sets his sights on a white supremacist previously convicted of arson and just released from prison.

Unfortunately, when Anja blocks his efforts the arrogant cop sets his own plan into motion that leads them both into a fiery trap.

Some cases literally heat up the longer they go unsolved. Will Anja be able to figure out who has been setting all of these fires before one of them turns deadly?

Anja’s strong personality and tendency to say exactly what on her mind threw me off at first, but I soon grew to appreciate her preference for simple, clear communication. She isn’t necessarily the friendliest forensic engineer I’ve ever met, but there was something irresistibly intriguing about her self-confidence and dedication to her work. It seems that this is the beginning of a new series, so I’ll be interested in seeing what cases she tackles next.

This plot is jam-packed full of characters. In something full-length it would make sense to introduce so many people who only have a tangential relationship to what was going on, but there were a few too many of them for a short story of this size. I had trouble keeping all of the characters straight due to the large number of them.

With that being said, the mystery itself was fun to unravel. I’ve never read anything in this genre about arson or insurance fraud. It was a nice change of pace from the typical murder plots I normally read in this genre. Exactly enough clues were provided to give me a good idea of what might happen next, but I was still surprised by how the author tied certain things together.

I’d recommend Fire Sign to anyone in the market for a creative spin on the mystery genre.

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