About The Book
‘What is wrong with you?‘
Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She’s seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous.
Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn’t mean she’s a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace?
Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill.
Look what you started.
I really enjoyed A Slow Fire Burning, the third novel by Paula Hawkins whose debut novel, The Girl on the Train was hugely successful. There must be a huge amount of pressure to write something assured and clever after that sort of debut success, and whilst I haven’t read her second novel, Into the Water, I was hugely impressed by her latest offering.
At it’s heart it is a mystery about the death of a young man, Daniel, on a houseboat which is moored on the Thames. His body is found by his nosy neighbour, Miriam, who knows all the comings and goings of her little patch on the river and after realising she hasn’t seen the attractive man on the boat next door in a little while goes to investigate. She gets far more than she bargained for when she finds his bloodied and lifeless body, but she also knows an opportunity when she sees one and uses this event to position herself slap bang in the middle of the drama.
Told from multiple viewpoints from a number of unreliable narrators, Hawkins misdirects and throws red herrings into the readers paths. There is Laura, a young woman whose life is very difficult, Carla and Theo, Daniel’s aunt and uncle and Irene, an elderly lady who lives next door to Daniel’s mother. We are presented with these characters and make assumptions about them, but their backstories are gradually revealed to us, showing us complicated lives.
It’s a great crime drama, but is also a really great exploration of society and in its inequality. Laura lives in a high rise flat and works in a launderette and due to being the last known person to see Daniel alive is arrested for his murder. It seems to be an open and shut case, but did she do it? She has a complicated past, an upsetting present and has been written off by those close to her. She is close to falling through the cracks, through no real fault of her own.
The way that the characters interplay is really well done and helps to create layers of intrigue and suspense. I didn’t ever really know where the book was going to take me, which is something I absolutely love in a novel. I really enjoyed the clever plotting and multi-person narrative and thought that both were very well done. There’s even a book within the book which I enjoyed hugely.
A Slow Fire Burning a good old page turner of a book, with short, sharp, chapters keeping the momentum going. It’s also surprisingly funny with some tongue in cheek humour and great wit. Overall it is a wonderful tale, which is very assured and clever and comes recommended from me.
About The Author
PAULA HAWKINS worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction. Born and brought up in Zimbabwe, Paula moved to London in 1989 and has lived there ever since. Her first thriller, The Girl on the Train, has been a global phenomenon, selling 23 million copies worldwide. Published in over forty languages, it has been a No.1 bestseller around the world and was a No.1 box office hit film starring Emily Blunt.
Into the Water, her second stand-alone thriller, has also been a global No.1 bestseller, spending twenty weeks in the Sunday Times hardback fiction Top 10 bestseller list, and six weeks at No.1.
Where You Can Buy It
My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for an invitation to join the Blog Tour and to Alison Barrow at Doubleday for sending me a copy of the book.