Fire on the Island - Arcade book cover (1)

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.

Excerpt

Immediately drenched, and quickly waist deep in the churning sea, they had to struggle to stay upright. The water knocked them one way while the undertow dragged them the other. When they’d worked their way around to the other side, they crawled onto a stone landing and collapsed, wracked with shivers, elbows tucked under them for warmth. “You call this a hot bath?” Nick finally managed to say.

Takis blindly dropped a hand on his back. “Just wait.”

Nick shook his hand off, and Takis, wondering why, saw his scars. “You were in a fire?” he asked.

“I should’ve warned you. It’s why I usually don’t get naked on a first date.”

“Your scars won’t bother me.”

“They bother me.”

“Maybe a hot bath will change that.” Takis stood up. The hammam’s short door was unlocked and he stooped to step through it.

Nick followed him.

“Don’t move until your eyes adjust to the light,” Takis cautioned as he closed the door behind him. “You don’t want to fall into it.”

Moonlight streaming through round vents in the curved ceiling revealed the black pool. Rectangular, it stretched the length of the hammam, and the steam rising from it smelled faintly of minerals.

“I promised you a hot bath,” Takis said. “I also promise, you’ll never take a hotter one.”

He sat on its edge, stuck his legs out and bobbed his heels in the water.

Nick sat next to him. The flagstones felt cool on his bare skin. He copied Takis and stuck out his legs, but the first time he bobbed his heels, he retracted them. “Holy shit that’s hot! You actually put your body into this?”

In the next instant, Takis slipped into the pool up to his neck. His chest heaved from the shock.

Again Nick tested a heel in the water. “I can’t believe this doesn’t melt flesh.”

Without warning, Takis grabbed his foot and pulled him into the water.

Nick flailed, and yelped. “I feel like the meat in cannibal soup!”

“Run your fingers over the water. You’ll see how it feels even hotter.”

Nick did, and it did feel hotter, but he was getting used to it. Takis, too, drifted his fingers on the water’s surface, and their hands touched. Fingers entwined, they pulled each other into a tentative kiss that became a long one. With lips trying to stay together, they crawled onto the cool flagstones, hands venturing where their mouths would later explore.

Purchase it here from Amazon.

About the author

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.

Timothy Jay Smith (S#1)

Fire on the Island Insta

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