Fire on the Island
Timothy Jay Smith
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publication: July 7, 2020
Age Group: Adult
For lovers of crime fiction and the allure of the Greek islands, Fire on the Island is the perfect summer read.
FIRE ON THE ISLAND is a playful, romantic thriller set in contemporary Greece, with a gay Greek-American FBI agent, who is undercover on the island to investigate a series of mysterious fires. Set against the very real refugee crisis on the beautiful, sun-drenched Greek islands, this novel paints a loving portrait of a community in crisis. As the island residents grapple with declining tourism, poverty, refugees, family feuds, and a perilously damaged church, an arsonist invades their midst.
Nick Damigos, the FBI agent, arrives on the island just in time to witness the latest fire and save a beloved truffle-sniffing dog. Hailed as a hero and embraced by the community, Nick finds himself drawn to Takis, a young bartender who becomes his primary suspect, which is a problem because they’re having an affair. Theirs is not the only complicated romance in the community and Takis isn’t the only suspicious character on the island. The priest is an art forger, a young Albanian waiter harbors a secret, the captain of the coast guard station seems to have his own agenda, and the village itself hides a violent history. Nick has to unravel the truth in time to prevent catastrophe, as he comes to terms with his own past trauma. In saving the village, he will go a long way toward saving himself.
A long time devotee of the Greek islands, Smith paints the setting with gorgeous color and empathy, ushering in a new romantic thriller with the charm of Zorba the Greek while shedding bright light on the very real challenges of life in contemporary Greece.
Another day late review (I sincerely apologize), but I am very glad I’ve been able to read this book! Timothy Jay Smith is an incredibly talented writer who discusses big issues through quality prose and a modern setting. This is a mystery/thriller book that drew me in from page one!
Nick Damigos is funny, interesting, and an incredibly fleshed out character! His backstory is interesting and his secrets are even more intriguing! After Nick arrives on a tiny Greek island, seeking solace to write his novel, he discovers that there have been a series of random fires on the island that have become something of a mystery! But, Nick has a secret. His real motivations for visiting are not to write, but to do something else! I don’t want to spoil this because it’s really fun!
The plot doesn’t trod along and get buried in detail, it has just the right amount for a book like this. I love standalone novels because they establish the world, build it for you, and bring you a tidy story to round out the end of the book. Author Timothy Jay Smith discusses real-world issues within the context of this book. We see some of the interplay between Turkey and Greece and their history, dating back almost to the beginning of recorded history. We also experience a storyline about being gay in a small town, something that I think a lot of readers can relate to because being any sort of “no the norm” in a small town is incredibly hard. The reader also gets a glimpse into the current geo-political structure of the region as well.
Despite these seemingly heavy themes, the book treats them with respect and doesn’t weigh you down. I found the narrative to be really interesting, something between a Jack Ryan book and an action movie. Again, very well written and a superb read!
Overall, I would say this book would be great for anyone who enjoys thrillers or books about geopolitical struggle! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and definitely want to read more from this author! Thank you to Love Books Tours and Timothy Jay Smith for the opportunity to read and review this book! This is my honest opinion.
Tim has traveled the world collecting stories and characters for his novels and screenplays which have received high praise. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He won the Paris Prize for Fiction for his first book, A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012. Tim was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize for his short fiction, “Stolen Memories.” His recent novel, The Fourth Courier received tremendous reviews. His screenplays have won numerous international competitions. Tim is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater. He lives in France.