The Incendiary’s Trail
When the murder of conjoined twins, Eliza-Beth, shocks Victorian London, Detective Inspector Newsome hatches a daring plot to solve the case. He blackmails a mysterious prisoner, Noah Dyson, into assisting the highly respected Sergeant George Williamson to track down the shadowy master criminal and pyromaniac known to his associates only as the General. Noah has his own reasons for wanting to catch the General, and as events escalate Williamson realises nobody is playing by the rules.
The Incendiary’s Trail is an ingeniously plotted novel. Dickens is clearly a strong influence, from the author’s penchant for unusual words to the use of an omniscient, anonymous narrator who claims to be a journalist and therefore can highlight the gap between fiction, journalism and the ‘truth’.
The narrative technique also allows McCreet to slip from one set of characters to another, hunting with the hounds and manoeuvring with the fox. Wisely, he leaves the most violent scenes off-stage, allowing the reader’s imagination to conjure up the full horror of what has happened. The quasi-Victorian style means that politically incorrect but historically accurate attitudes to black or disabled characters can be shown. An assured debut from a writer worth looking out for in the future.