‘Scorched Heart’ – Firebrand #4 by Helen Harper

I’ve had a great time reading the four books in the Firebrand series, ‘Brimstone Bound’, ‘Infernal Enchantment’, ‘Midnight Smoke‘ and ‘Scorched Heart’ in a week. It was a fun ride and I’m glad to say it’s not over (although I’ll probably have to wait until 2022 for the next one).

‘Scorched Heart’ was probably the best book yet. I liked that Helen Harper moved the action outside of London and away from Supernatural politics and instead focussed on Emma’s backstory.

Emma is sent by her Detective Inspector boss on an unofficial mission to the village where she spent her early years and where, when she was five, her parents were murdered and she was found crying in their blood.

The set-up for the mission was clever. Emma’s boss wants to find out more about the origins of Emma’s unique ability to come back to life twelve hours after she dies so she offers her informal help in an investigation in the same village into a murder in which a Supernatural may have been involved. She also wants Emma out of the way while a DS, who outranks her, is installed as the lead detective of the Supernatural Division that Emma has been the only detective in since her arrival.

So Emma is investigating her parents’ murder and supporting another murder investigation in a tiny village that she barely remembers but where everyone remembers her. Both investigations bring her into contact with colourful characters and give her puzzles to solve. They may or may not be related to one another but it soon becomes clear that someone wants Emma dead, again.

I enjoyed the murder mysteries and learning about Emma’s past. I didn’t guess the outcome, although it made sense in a slaps-forehead-for-having-missed-it way that added to my enjoyment. It was also fun to see the tall dark and undead lord of all the vampires playing a supporting, almost eye-candy, role and being treated as a very unwelcome visitor by most of the village.

This series is really in its stride now. I hope it runs for several more books. I’ll certainly be reading the next one.

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