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  • Writer's pictureStuart Wakefield

Book Review: Fire on the Island by Timothy Jay Smith


Fire on the Island by Timothy Jay Smith is a romance-tinged thriller (more on the romance later) set on a Greek island. As a gay man married to a Greek (Cypriot) man, that was my primary draw in choosing to read the book.


Smith introduces eight characters in the first few pages, so you'll need to concentrate. I counted 18 characters, two of which appear in flashbacks, and one dog. (I love a dog in any book.)


The island is a place of secrets and intrigue, and Smith creates a vivid world for the reader, full of conflict and resentment. As well as the central plot—discovering who an arsonist is—themes of rape, homophobia, and racism (towards immigrants) are all touched upon.


Smith does a great job of developing the characters, and this helps to drive the narrative forward. The dialogue between characters is well-crafted, and Smith creates believable relationships between Nick and the other characters, and between the islanders themselves. There are a few information dumps, but not enough for me to tire of, and the narrative is fast-paced and engaging.


My only grumble is that I wouldn't consider it romantic. There's little romance on the page. Yes, there are a few fade-to-black sex scenes, but I didn't see the relationship develop and deepen. To get five stars, I would have wanted much, much more romance on the page.


Overall, I think Fire on the Island is a good thriller, but a romantic thriller...? Not so much.


I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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