Thomas Fitzsimmons is another new author for me. I have been reading a lot of new authors lately, with some hits and some misses. This one was definitely a hit. I really enjoyed this police procedural. The protagonist in the story is Michael Beckett, a cop in the South Bronx district of New York, which is purported to be the worst district in the city. Beckett is a complex character with many facets. He is part good cop, part pragmatist, and part narcissistic actor. He has just finished a recurring guest role on the TV show Law & Order, and has decided that being a policman in the Bronx is no longer for him, when he gets drawn into an arson investigation that turns his life upside down. As the story progresses, we meet a cast of characters that are all connected to Officer Beckett in some way, drawing us farther and farther into the snares of the arson investigation. As the story draws you in, you begin to feel a bit like Officer Beckett, in that you just can't seem to leave it alone. You feel compelled to follow the investigation through its twists and turns, arriving with him at the ultimate conclusion. And the conclusion, although not a huge surprise, contains a few "Ah ha" moments of its own.

According to the author bio, Thomas Fitzsimmons has spent a number of years with the NYPD as an officer, as well as some time as a consultant and writer, so he writes of what he knows. His story is wonderfully gritty and compelling as a book about cops on the streets of New York should be. The characters are human and displayed with all of their troubles and foibles shining through. The action is real and will keep you on the edge of your seat. A great debut from this new author and a must read if you like stories about the "cop on the street".