Review of 'Firestarter' by Patsy Collins

Animated fireAlice Bakewell has a thing about being rescued from a blazing building by a hunky fireman, using a fireman’s lift – obviously.  “But I’m so over it,” she tells her sister, Kate.  Well, maybe.  When Alice and Kate meet ex-schoolfriend, Hamish, on the Fire Service stand at the New Forest Show and he offers to ‘rescue’ Alice as part of his demonstration, she declines, because she is in a relationship with Boring Tony and it wouldn’t be right.  However, when she dumps Boring Tony and romance kindles between Alice and Hamish, a series of false alarm calls are sent to the emergency services.  Alice and Hamish wonder if Tony is responsible. In addition, Alice has her job to worry about, the lack of orders and the mysterious new contract which boss Miles promises.  On top of that, there is Louise, Hamish’s jealous bird-watching friend, who threatens to kill Alice – in gory and imaginative ways – every time she sees her.  Alice‘s fantasy is eventually realised, only not featuring Hamish – until he stages another ‘rescue’ especially for her.

This is an excellently constructed story, with a water-tight plotline, with no stray ends and no unresolved bits.  Characterisation is, likewise, well-defined.  Alice and her sister, Kate, are a couple of likable girly girls, absorbed in clothes and boyfriends, even though Alice strives to prove she is tougher and doesn’t mind getting dirty, when she joins Hamish bird-watching.  Hamish is suitably hunky, although, as we find out, he is not all fireman, and Tony is an interesting bore, who shows, ultimately, that he is more than his laptop and his job.  Alice and Kate’s father brews unspeakable home-made wine from vegetables in his garden.  (We’ve all encountered Dads like him, I’m sure.  My own dad (long since passed on, bless him) made wine from Boots concentrate, which always looked like urine.)   Interestingly, Patsy, who has not described proper sex acts in her previous novels, includes a very steamy sex scene in Firestarter.

So, Dear Reader, a full recommendation.  Do read Firestarter.  Well up to Patsy’s best standard.

I was very chuffed to learn, earlier this week, that my story, Not a Proper Evacuee (set in World War 2 – no, never!) has achieved third place in the Alfie Dog International Short Story Competition, also that Stars in Your Eyes, written by my fellow-blogger, Julie Wow or Wittering, achieved fourth place.  Sadly, you cannot read Not a Proper Evacuee because I’ve already entered it for a Words With Jam comp.  (Hope the WWJ judges are reading this!)  The second-placed story, by Susan Eames, is entitled Licking an Ant’s Bottom.  The mind boggles.  I do hope that one is put up on the main Alfie Dog site, so I can read it.

I will finish with two ACW (Association of Christian Writers) pleas.  Plea 1:  As you may know, I am now ACW competitions manager.  If you also happen to be an ACW member, please turn to page 4 as soon as you receive Christian Writer, which should come bouncing through your letterbox any day soon, and enter the Bible Story Comp.  (The comp is for ACW members only – sorry.)   Plea 2:  If you happen to live in Suffolk (or nearby), we are attempting to set up a – real, face-to-face – ACW Writers Group based near Bury St Edmunds.  Please look at the ACW Facebook page.

Do enjoy the animated gif, all 2.2mb of it.  On the other hand, hope the page loads for you!

Firestarter is available from Patsy’s website.


3 thoughts on “Review of 'Firestarter' by Patsy Collins

  1. Patsy

    Thanks very much for the review, Charlie. So glad you enjoyed the book. (Love those flames- very appropriate)

    Congratulations on your third place!


  2. Susan A Eames

    Hi Charlie, I enjoyed your review of Patsy Collins’s book.
    Also – congratulations on your placing in the Alfie Dog International Short Story Competition and thanks for mentioning mine: “The second-placed story, by Susan Eames, is entitled Licking an Ant’s Bottom. The mind boggles. I do hope that one is put up on the main Alfie Dog site, so I can read it.”
    You’ll be pleased to know that it has indeed been put up on the Alfie Dog site. (All feedback on my blog is very welcome!)
    Happy New Year



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