Incendiary by Chris Cleave Sceptre, HK$114 Chris Cleave's The Other Hand was one of the finest paperbacks of 2008. Does the follow-up, Incendiary, produce similar sparks? In the positive corner, its narrator (an unnamed working-class woman from London's East End) is a fabulous creation. As unliterary a storyteller as they come ('The last thing I wrote was N/A on an income support form'), her narrative is awkward, funny and vivacious: 'London is a smiling liar his front teeth are very nice but you can smell his back teeth rotten and stinking.' The plot revolves around the bombing of the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal Football Club. As the narrator watches a match on television, her husband and son are killed in the attack. Also seemingly made to shock is the form of the novel: a letter to al-Qaeda's chief. 'Dear Osama they want you dead or alive so the terror will stop.' Cleave drafts this premise brilliantly. He writes vividly about the attack and its consequences: a morass of fear, guilt and anger. What I found less convincing was the Vertigo-like love triangle connecting the narrator, her journalist lover Jasper Black and his posh girlfriend Petra. Nevertheless, Incendiary is powerful and visceral stuff.