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Crime Writer Pauline Rowson’s controversial, hard hitting thriller, In Cold Daylight, inspired by the mystery deaths of a group of UK fire-fighters from the same watch, has been short listed for the World Book Day, Spread The Word Prize 2008. The campaign kicks off this month and culminates in individuals and reading groups across the UK voting for the fiction title that provokes the most discussion.

Pauline, a fire-fighter’s wife, is a literary pioneer who delves into areas that other crime fiction writers leave untouched. By using her skills in crime/mystery fiction, coupled with her knowledge in the field of criminal psychology and profiling, she has written a fast-paced thriller that also shows the hard reality of a fire-fighter’s life.

Pauline Rowson wrote the crime mystery In Cold Daylight after hearing that several fire-fighters from one watch contracted cancer. The official conclusion was that the cancer wasn’t work-related, but many believe their cancer was contracted from exposure to hazardous chemicals in the line of duty.

This should have been the end of the story, but Pauline Rowson was determined to give these brave fire-fighters a voice from beyond the grave. Using her craft as a crime writer, she blended the facts of this case within a dramatic fictional plot, creating a powerful novel.

Unravelling Rowson’s cryptic clues in this fast-paced, atmospheric novel, is like playing a thrilling game of grown-up ‘pass the parcel’. After unexpected twists, involving MI5 and corrupt politicians, you peel off the layers of literary wrapping, which eventually uncovers a chilling revelation.

Pauline Rowson is a powerful, exciting writer, unafraid to ruffle a few collars in pursuit of enlightening as well as entertaining her readers. Her subject matter is unique, but then so is she. How many fire-fighters wives are crime writers? How many authors have waved their husbands off to work, not knowing if they’ll return?

Rowson’s inspiration for the book is like no other crime writer’s, and consequently her delivery of place and plot is equally unpredictable. It is no surprise then that her characters also break the mould. In Cold Daylight does not feature a tough hero, as one might expect, at least not at the offset. Instead Rowson chooses to tell the story through the eyes of a man who is the antithesis of a brave fire-fighter. This main character is mentally fragile marine artist, Adam Greene, a most unlikely hero. The ever-changing seascape provides a turbulent backdrop to the unpredictable plot.

In Cold Daylight opens with the tragic death of Adam’s best friend, fire-fighter Jack Bartholomew, who is killed in the line of duty. Adam discovers that Jack’s death is no accident and he is forced to expose the criminal events behind not only his best friend’s death, but also a series of other fire-fighters deaths from the same watch, which has been covered up over the years. Adam, however, appears ill equipped, mentally and physically for such a mammoth task. On the surface, he is seemingly a weak, somewhat broken man, living a lie; he appears to be incapable of confronting his own problems, let alone risk his life to expose this cover-up. He was bullied by his family as a child, had a nervous breakdown in his twenties, when he lost his girlfriend in a tragic accident, and has resorted to leaning on the prop of his strong-willed, over ambitious, over materialistic wife, to get through life.

Rowson says, ‘Adam is vulnerable but strong underneath. I think people can identify with his complex emotions. He is forced to take action, to investigate the death surrounding his best friend, which leads him into danger, love, and uncovering deceit. I suppose you could say that Adam is a metaphor for a society that prefers to divert its eyes from the harsh reality of an establishment that would allow men to die because of hazards at work. It is only when society is forced to face up to the real facts, and question the official version, that society gains strength and the truth comes out, as seen in Adam’s transformation.’

In Cold Daylight is a crime thriller that attacks social issues by using a mix of fact and fiction, truth and drama. Now the debate is open for anyone who wishes to engage in this discussion. Individuals and reading groups have the chance to read, discuss, comment upon and vote for their favourite title. The incentive to get involved is a weekly draw amongst voters to win £100 of National Book Tokens right through until World Book Day 2008. Regardless of the final result, this book is on the ‘must have’ 2007 Christmas presents list, and would make a great stocking filler for anyone interested in crime or has compassion for fire-fighters.

By February 1st, the top ten titles will form the focus of Spread the Word: Books to Talk About. Further on-line voting throughout February will result in the announcement of a winner of The Book to Talk About 2008, and an award of £5000 to the author.

There is no denying the passionate central message of In Cold Daylight. Readers may close the book and think, ‘What a great piece of fiction’ and leave it at that. Or they may feel outraged and ask, ‘My God, could this have really happened?’

This novel has the potential to open a debate that may do for fire-fighters what Ken Loach’s drama Cathy Come Home did for homelessness. What is unique is that the crime thriller is rarely associated with confronting such major social and environmental issues - but Rowson has changed all this.

Finally, when asked what she would do with the £5000 prize money, if she should win, Pauline said, ‘It will be going to the Fire Service National Benevolent Fund and any readers who wish to donate can do so by sending their gifts to: FSNBF, Second Floor, Copenhagen Court, 32 New Street, Basingstoke, Hants. RG21 7DT.’

Editors, journalists and reviewers are also invited to enter this debate and Pauline Rowson is currently available for interview to discuss the book. For more information on Pauline Rowson or to arrange an interview contact pressroom@rowmark.co.uk or call Pauline on 07973 338543

The author’s blog can be found at www.paulinerowsonmarinemysteries.blogspot.com

For more information on Spread the Word see www.worldbookday.com/spreadtheword

To read more about In Cold Daylight see http://www.worldbookday.com/spreadtheword/books/book-detail....

For more information on the Fire Services National Benevolent Fund contact Mark Southern, Press Office 01256 366566 www.fsnbf.org.uk

Written by Dot Maddain Dotpr

Notes to Editors:

The World Book Day campaign called Spread the Word: Books to Talk About harnesses the power of recommendation, particularly among keen readers who already belong to reading groups or who have always wanted to. It focuses on books which have genuine word of mouth appeal and which would make excellent subjects for discussion, whether within a reading group or online.

Reading groups and individuals will discuss, comment upon and vote for their favourite title. The incentive to get involved will be a weekly draw amongst voters to win £100 of National Book Tokens right through until World Book Day 2008.

The top ten titles by 1st February will also form the focus of the Spread the Word: Books to Talk About. The authors featuring in the top ten will take part in some of the events around World Book Day on 6 March 2008, and will participate in online discussions. As well as existing reading groups and book clubs taking part in these events, bookshops and libraries will encourage people who have always meant to participate to take part in a taster book club. This will be a chance for some real face-to-face social networking, a chance for people to come out from behind their computer screens to celebrate World Book Day.

Further on-line voting throughout February will result in the announcement of a winner – The Book to Talk About 2008, and an award of £5000 to the author.

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