Medina-webPerfect for fans of Nicci French and Val McDermid, Fire Damage is the first in an exciting new crime series featuring psychologist Dr Jessie Flynn – a brilliantly complex character who struggles with a dark past of her own. Here the author Kate Medina introduces us to this fascinating character,


Fire Damage, the first in a series of thrillers featuring twenty-nine year old psychologist, Dr Jessie Flynn, is first and foremost a story about families: love and hate, kindness and cruelty, and the destructive nature of some relationships. The fear and helplessness a child trapped in a dysfunctional family feels was, for me, a very powerful emotion to examine, as was its flip side – intense love and an overwhelming desire to protect.

In Fire Damage, I have considered these themes not only through Sami, but also through Jessie’s own troubled childhood and her personal demons.  Her need to understand the ‘whys’ of human behaviour drove her to become a clinical psychologist, and yet there are huge swathes of her own personality that she struggles to understand, let alone to control.

Jessie’s profession enables me to draw on my psychology degree to explore crime from a uniquely psychological perspective, not only the criminal’s motivation, but also the victims and the investigators – Jessie herself and the other key series characters, Captain Ben Callan and Detective Inspector Bobby ‘Marilyn’ Simmons of Surrey and Sussex Major Crimes.

Women are often portrayed as victims in crime literature. I wanted to create a character who represents the huge number of strong, funny, clever, independent women I know.  Jessie is complex and conflicted, and this series will be written from her intense, brilliant, flawed, but moral perspective.  I hope people remember Jessie and the issues raised through her long after they have finished reading.

While studying for a degree in Psychology, Kate Medina joined the Territorial Army where she spent five years, first as an officer trainee and then as a Troop Commander in the Royal Engineers. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and now writes full time.

More about Fire Damage

Four-year-old Sami is deeply traumatised, and it’s up to psychologist Dr Jessie Flynn to unlock his terrifying memories. She needs to find out who ‘the girl’ is – but nothing can prepare her for the truth about what haunts him. Meanwhile, Jessie’s former patient, Captain Ben Callan, is investigating the suspicious death of an officer in Afghanistan – the problem is the only suspect refuses to talk.

When a dead body washes up on a Sussex beach, Jessie and Ben’s cases converge. Soon it’s clear that the mystery in Afghanistan began with a secret much closer to home. And a desperate killer will do anything to keep it buried…