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Firefighters the inspiration behind thriller In Cold Daylight

In Cold Daylight a crime novel by Pauline RowsonThe idea for my standalone mystery thriller IN COLD DAYLIGHT came not this time from a location, which is usually where I get my ideas from, but from an overheard conversation.  This particular conversation took place at the fire station where my husband, a fire fighter worked. He was at the time on Red Watch at Southsea in Portsmouth (now he is retired). It was after the shift had ended.  

The watch were discussing the unusually high number of their colleagues who had sadly contracted cancer.  Many believed the cancer was caused through exposure to hazardous chemicals in the line of duty but couldn't say which particular incident or series of incidents had triggered it. The cancers were mainly those of the throat, esophagus and ears, all areas left unprotected at that time by their headgear.  In fact, my husband used to say  that the only way he knew just hot the fire was, and therefore how it was progressing, was if his ears started to feel as if they were burning! 

The link between cancer related deaths and fire fighters has still not been fully investigated or acknowledged in Britain but it has been researched and acknowledged elsewhere for example in the USA, Canada and Australia.

I decided to blend what I had overheard into a dramatic fictional plot, and thereby create a powerful novel, unaware at the time that a major International disaster on a massive scale would be the catalyst to spark studies in the USA into this controversial area. 

Since writing IN COLD DAYLIGHT, after a three year study prompted by 9/11, research from the University of Cincinnati was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2006.  The research analyzed information on 110,000 fire fighters from 32 previous studies. It found that rates of testicular cancer were a hundred per cent higher and prostate cancer twenty-eight percent higher among fire-fighters.  In addition, the researchers also discovered a fifty percent increase in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma. After analyzing statistics on 20 different kinds of cancer, University of Cincinnati researchers revealed that fire-fighters developed 10 of those deadly diseases more frequently than any other type of worker.

Researchers say fire-fighters are exposed to many compounds designated as carcinogens, or cancer-causing agents including benzene, chloroform, soot, styrene and formaldehyde. These can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin at the scene of a fire. 
In the crime novel IN COLD DAYLIGHT instead of featuring a brave fire-fighter hero I chose to tell the story through the eyes of a man who is the opposite. This is marine artist, Adam Greene's journey through overcoming depression, a nervous breakdown and leaning on the prop of his strong-willed, ambitious wife as much as discovering why his best friend, fire-fighter, Jack Bartholomew, was killed in the line of duty before he can reveal the cause of his own – and his colleagues’ cancer. 

In a cryptic message orchestrated before his untimely death, Jack has left a trail of clues that will lead Adam into a labyrinth of lies, secrets and government conspiracy exposing an environmental scandal that has resulted in the deaths of fire fighters..

IPauline Rowson with previous members of Red Watch Southsean Cold Daylight is dedicated to fire-fighters, and in particular my husband’s former watch - Red Watch, Southsea. 

The evidence is clear that fire-fighters suffer from certain cancers at a higher rate than others.  Fire-fighters spend a career facing toxic dangers in the name of protecting the public. It is an occupational risk and should be recognised.  When a fire-fighter dies from a cancer identified as occupational, their families need and deserve appropriate compensation. 

Although IN COLD DAYLIGHT is fiction there is a strong central message in the novel and readers might like to ask can this really be happening?  If IN COLD DAYLIGHT opens the debate then that’s all to the good.
I am pleased to say IN COLD DAYLIGHT was shortlisted for the World Book Day Prize 2008.  It is available in paperback, as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle.

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DECEMBER 6TH, 2019 @ 7:31:23 GMT

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