Review: Watch the World Burn by Leah Giarratano

Title: Watch the World Burn {Jill Jackson #4}

Author: Leah Giarratano

Published: Random House June 2010

Sypnosis: Miriam Caine, aged seventy, is dining with her son when she bursts into flames in the restaurant of a five-star hotel. The restaurant’s manager, Troy Berrigan, is first to her aid, but the woman later dies of her injuries. When investigators find accelerants on the victim’s face and clothing, the incident becomes a police matter, and attention is turned to Berrigan, a fallen hero cop, who fits the arsonist profile. Berrigan knows he’s not the killer, but he also knows that at the time of the incident, he was the only person close enough to have set her on fire. When he’s connected to another death, Troy must do all he can to discover what really happened to Miriam Caine.

Her death preludes a spate of apparently unconnected acid and arson attacks around Sydney. Is it the beginning of an orchestrated campaign of terror? And is Troy Berrigan the perpetrator or an innocent bystander caught up in a terrible train of events?

While on study leave, Detective Sergeant Jill Jackson becomes caught up in the investigation. Working with Federal Agent Gabriel Delahunt, she is determined to find out what happened to Miriam Caine, because this case for her is not only about murder and maiming in Sydney: this case will change Jill Jackson’s life forever

Status: Read from January 22 to 23, 2011

My Thoughts:

I didn’t recognise the name when I chose Watch The World Burn as a read for the Aussie Authors Challenge but as soon as I saw the authors image I realised that Leah Giarrantano was the presenter of Beyond the Darklands. This (Australian TV) crime doco series had Leah, a psychologist, discuss and disect the stories of notorious Australian killers. It was okay, I watched a fair few episodes but I didn’t think it was much more than sound bites really and to be honest Leah’s voice/tone was a little grating.
Still I wasn’t aware she had written any books so I was interested to read her work. Watch The World Burn is a comfortable blend of psychological thriller and police procedural. It is the fourth in a series with police officer Jill Jackson. I haven’t read the previous installments though I don’t feel it was much of a problem. Jill Jackson has obviously dealt with some serious cases previously and has her own long standing issues however the author shared enough of her history for me to be mostly satisfied. In this book, Jill is not central to the criminal investigation but is certainly an emotional focus for the story, still I think I would have preferred to read the earlier books though to be more invested in her character.
Jill’s separation from the case means Troy Berrigan, the ex-cop who becomes tangled in the Caine investigation, has an equally strong lead in the story. With such an equal split, this led to some division of my attention as their stories take a while to cross-over.
The premise is quite interesting, however I felt the plot lacked depth. I thought the crime became more of a backdrop to the characters, the investigation seemed to skim the surface, with emotion overriding procedures.
While I found Watch the World Burn a quick and easy read, it lacked the intensity I prefer in psychological crime fiction. Reviews seem to agree that previous books in the series are more insightful so I won’t rule out picking one up should they be lurking on the shelves of my library.


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