Sunday, April 17, 2011


Title:                     Firebug
Author:                 John Sullivan
Publisher:             Boolarong Press
RRP:                      $24.95
ISBN:                     9781921555589
Release Date:       January 2011
Pages:                   327


The Whisky Flat firebug has capped a busy two years with his most impressive light-up yet, generating new peaks of fear and bitterness.

A very credible rumor links the pest to a big city corporation, hired to scare residents off land targetted for redevelopment. As the blaze closes on Whisky Flat township, nine-year-old Donny O’Brien goes missing, purportedly abducted by the developer to make his parents part with a key parcel of land. But Donny’s dog and his next-door neighbor, Miss Ethel Madden, also vanish, upsetting the popular theory and, as the fire spreads, becoming the focus of problems nobody has imagined.


Firebug is the debut novel for Australian Author John Sullivan, and a mighty fine yarn at that. Set in rural Australia and around the issue of bush fires and the havoc that they wreak, it is apparent that Sullivan has done extensive research into the topic. The intrigue and action flow smoothly as the pages turn of this thriller. The characters are well developed and the dialogue is smooth and believable, making the characters easy to like, and hate in some cases.

The Whiskey Flat firebug is the sort of character that you just hate as soon as you read about them and their low and despicable actions, which is a sign that the character has been well written. Again, Sullivan has done some impressive research to get into the head of an arsonist and portray them with such intricate and intimate detail.

The subject of arson and corporate greed are very controversial but this book is very well written, apart from the constant blasphemy. I don’t mind books with profanity, explicit sex scenes or violence, but I can’t handle books that use the Lord’s name in vain every few pages. This is the sort of book that I prefer to read as an ebook where I can use the find/replace function to edit out this unnecessary element that taints an otherwise good book. In the print format, I just have a Nikko handy to black out this sort of stuff.

Which is good to get an idea of a new author if you’ve never heard of them before.

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