Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Consuming Fire by Catherine Fearns + #Giveaway + Excerpt

Consuming Fire by Catherine Fearns
Published by Crooked Cat Books on the 6th February 2019.

Add Consuming Fire to your Goodreads

What Has Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen…

Liverpool is in the grip of an intense heatwave, and strange things are happening. 

A woman dies in an apparent case of Spontaneous Human Combustion; a truck explodes on the dock road; the charred corpses of pets litter the city; forest fires ravage the pinewoods…and there are birds everywhere, silent flocks drawing in ominously.

Detective Inspector Darren Swift thinks there are connections, and his investigation delves into the worlds of football, nightclubs and organised crime. But is he imagining things?

Dr. Helen Hope doesn’t think so. And she believes the key lies in a mysterious seventeenth-century occult book which has gone missing from Liverpool Library.

In the blistering sequel to Reprobation, DI Swift is forced to confront some inconvenient ghosts from his past, as a terrifying shadow lies over his city’s reality…. 

Consuming Fire: exclusive extract for Literary Flits

Detective Inspector Darren Swift and Dr. Helen Hope have gone on a fact-finding trip to the Jura mountains in Switzerland. Helen is a lecturer in theology, an expert in religion and death, and Darren asked for her help with his investigation into a deadly fire which he suspects might have been a self-immolation. Helen has a theory so bizarre, and yet so irresistible, that Darren has travelled to Switzerland to investigate without telling either his team or his fiancĂ©. On their journey home, he and Helen discuss their shared knowledge of another case. 

As they walked back to the car, Helen continued to talk about paganism and how it blended with more modern religions in liminal places like this. Confronted by this landscape so gnarled by the passage of times, where the shapes of glaciers had left behind deep valley crevices that now formed human settlements, Darren felt acutely aware of the insignificance of his place in the universe. Far more so than in Liverpool, which seemed to be rewriting history, reinventing itself at a rapid rate of knots, and reshaping the landscape in the image of man. 
‘I don’t know,’ he said finally. ‘This can’t have anything to do with the case. Unless someone is messing with us. And that is a definite possibility.’
He was filled with regret and an inexplicable terror and wondering what on earth he had been thinking. Even the Devil believes he is doing what is right. People can convince themselves of anything, thought Darren, just as I convinced myself it was reasonable to come here. The heat must have got to me. Perhaps he would tell Matt and they would laugh about it. 
They felt eyes, baleful eyes, boring into their backs as they left the village. Every one of the drab female peacocks in that burnt field stopped pecking and looked up.
As they drove back towards Geneva they were both lost in thought for a long time. The road wound its way through the forested hills in a caricature of hairpin bends, and Helen took the corners so slowly and carefully that Darren couldn’t help wishing he was driving. She also had an annoying tendency to position the car just over the central reservation, so that they were frequently honked at by irritated Swiss drivers in both directions. Finally Darren spoke.
‘You still drive like a nun.’
‘Sorry. I’m not used to this side of the road. I’m a bit distracted too, I suppose.’
By the time they emerged onto the motorway, the sun was setting over the Alps that now ranged out behind the lake like cardboard cut-outs on a background of washed purple. 
‘Darren. Do you ever think about that baby?’
‘Yes,’ Darren said, looking straight ahead.
‘Me too.’
There was another silence, before Helen asked:
‘Will you ask Andrew Shepherd about the baby? If he is deemed fit for trial and your paths cross again?’
‘I imagine he would ask me first. After all, it’s his biological daughter, and according to Shepherd she’s the Second Coming, or whatever. So I’m sure he has more than a passing interest. He probably thinks about it all the time, stuck in that psychiatric unit.’
‘I wonder what will happen to him. It’s not long until the trial now.’
‘Yeah. Autumn. They’re both pleading insanity you know. Clancy and Sister Mary.’
‘I thought of trying to contact Shepherd myself, you know. Many times. But I… I suppose I’m afraid.’
‘Me too.’
‘Yes. I don’t know why. But when I think about it, I feel like I’m going mad. I mean, we know what happened. Three nutters thought they’d found the genetic marker for sin; one tried to save people from damnation by genetically modifying them, the other two tried to stop him by murdering his patients. Nutters, the lot of them. It’s all explained. But…’
‘But… there’s another explanation though, isn’t there. That Shepherd was right.’ 
They were silent for a while longer, and Darren tried to think about Matt and not about Thomas Kuper, or about the baby. And then again, in that annoying way she had of reading his mind, Helen said, ‘You know Darren, feelings don’t just disappear. They take time to fade. And it’s the feelings we don’t act on, those we keep buried under the surface, those are the ones that take the longest to disappear. But they do, eventually.’ 

Meet the author

Catherine Fearns is from Liverpool, UK. In previous incarnations she was a financial analyst, a cocktail pianist and a breastfeeding counsellor, but nowadays she likes to write. Her first novel, Reprobation, was published by Crooked Cat Books in October 2018 and quickly became an Amazon bestseller in several categories. The follow-up, Consuming Fire, is currently on pre-order and will be available in early 2019.

Catherine writes for music website Pure Grain Audio, and her music journalism has also appeared in Broken Amp and Noisey. Her short fiction and non-fiction pieces have been published in Here Comes Everyone, Toasted Cheese, Offshoots & Metal Music Studies. She holds a degree in History from Oxford University, a Masters from the London School of Economics, and is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association.

When Catherine is not writing, she plays guitar in a heavy metal band, mainly to annoy her four children.

Author links: 

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Win a signed copy of Consuming Fire, Consuming Fire stationery, and a cuddly peacock!
(Open Internationally until the 11th March 2019)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel's Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel's Random Resources will delete the data. Rachel's Random Resources is not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Books by Catherine Fearns / Crime fiction / Books from England


  1. Replies
    1. The first of this series looks really good too :-)

  2. I have been reading so many murder mystery books as I am on my crime fiction module. But when I finish my module I do want to switch to reading some more of the modern crime fiction ones ^.^

    1. I am so envious of your degree course! It sounds like absolute reader's bliss - though I know you have to work really hard too :-)