Is London burning?

bryant_MayBurningManA review of Bryant & May and the Burning Man by Christopher Fowler

“It was as if after a drowsy, sluggish summer, the streets had undergone spontaneous combustion. It had taken just one match to ignite this inferno, going by the name of Mr. Dexter Cornell.” (location 203 on my Kindle) Dexter Cornell is accused of insider trading. The result is crowds of protesters belonging to various groups from all over London concentrating in the financial district as Guy Fawkes night approaches.

As if that wasn’t enough, someone attacks a bank with a Molotov cocktail and incinerates a homeless person sleeping on the front steps. The result is Bryant & May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit are called in to play. One death leads to another fiery death of sorts and to yet another the closer it gets to Guy Fawkes night. Bryant starts making connections that are obvious to him, but not so much to the others.

As the protesting and riots continue, the body count rises. What is the connection? Who is responsible? When will it end? Can Bryant & May figure it out before it costs the life of one of their own?

This, the twelfth book in the Bryant & May series, is a solid addition to the lore of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. It can be read as a standalone. The characters are written in such a way that their personalities and quirks come through even without prior knowledge.

I’d like to say Bryant is in top form, but there are some days where he’s not quite himself. On the days that he is together, he accomplishes more than some of the policemen outside of the unit on a good day. I love the characters that make up the Peculiar Crimes Unit. And the pace of the book is well done. The wit and sarcasm add nice spice to the story.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5. It’s well written, well paced, and has interesting characters. It can be read as a stand alone even though it is part of a series. It will just whet your appetite to go back and read some of the others.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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