For seventeen years, the English hamlet of Jude’s Ferry has lain abandoned, used only for army training exercises. Before then, the isolated, thousand-year-old community was famous for one thing---having never recorded a single crime. But when local reporter Philip Dryden joins the army on practice maneuvers in the empty village, its spotless reputation is literally blown apart. Artillery fire reveals a hidden cellar beneath the old pub, and inside the cellar hangs a skeleton, a noose around its neck. No one knows---or will say---who the victim was.
Two days later, a terrified man is pulled from the reeds of a nearby river, with no idea of who he is or how he got there. The only name he can remember is “Jude’s Ferry.”
As Dryden searches for the secret history of the dead town, he is also witnessing a kind of rebirth: Seven years after the accident that nearly killed her, his wife, Laura, is finally emerging from coma and paralysis to begin a semblance of normal life. But will that semblance be enough for her---or for Dryden?
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“[Kelly] will remind many of British masters of psychological whodunits such as Minette Walters and Ruth Rendell.”---Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Kelly enlivens his tale with a richly atmospheric setting, sharp contemporary characters, and an often biting knack for capturing the essence of people.” ---The Washington Post
“Phillip Dryden is so beautifully drawn, so credibly complex, that he makes most other contemporary mystery heroes and heroines look like fumblings on an Etch A Sketch.” ---Booklist (starred review)
“Dryden is a marvelously odd character caught in a hellish situation. [The Fire Baby] far outstrips most conventional mysteries.” ---Booklist (starred review)
“Intriguing characters and locale and wryly believable newsroom background.” ---Kirkus Reviews
Jim Kelly, whose father was a detective at Scotland Yard, previously worked as a journalist and education correspondent for the Financial Times. He lives in Ely with the biographer Midge Gillies and their young daughter. His debut, The Water Clock, was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey Memorial Dagger for the best first crime novel of 2002, and in 2006 he won the CWA Dagger in the Library, which is awarded to “the author of crime fiction whose work is giving the greatest enjoyment to readers.”