Book Review | Bonfire

Starting off my December reading with one from my TBR backlog pile.

Krysten Ritter

Nothing burns as bright as the truth.

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands. 

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s economic heart, she begins to find strange connections to a decade-old scandal involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

But as Abby tries desperately to find out what happened to Kaycee, troubling memories begin to resurface and she begins to doubt her own observations. And when she unearths an even more disturbing secret, her search threatens the reputations, and lives, of the community and risks exposing a darkness that may consume her.

With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote, rural town of five claustrophobic miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of what happens when your past and present collide. | Goodreads | Amazon

I’m not going to lie it was definitely the fact that I like Krysten Ritter as an actress that made me pick up this book, the blurb did sound interesting but maybe not one I would be desperate to read if not for her name attached. Bonfire was for me unfortunately, a little underwhelming, I think passable is the best phrase I can use, not a bad book but not a great book either.

The main character Abby felt like a character that Krysten Ritter has played or could play, she is initially portrayed as the big city lawyer who is there to root out the evil of the big corporation taking over the small town. That identifier soon becomes a little obsolete as the story becomes more about her trying to put the personal demons from her past to rest, Abby is not a character I would say I totally warmed to, I didn’t dislike her, I just didn’t feel like I got much past the surface with her.

The story does rely on some well-established tropes, which is fine, but whilst it felt like from the description it had a clear direction in the story itself it wasn’t so well defined, I felt like there were so many ideas thrown into the mix that it was a bit confused about what kind of story it wanted to be. A lot of the revelations and conclusions were a bit convoluted and relied on Abby suddenly picking up on clues that I don’t think anyone would naturally come to.

The writing was ok, with a few phrases here or there that made me roll my eyes but not difficult to read otherwise. For such a short book I found the pacing was a little slow, but I will say that I was interested in what happened to Kaycee and that did keep me invested enough to keep going but it did feel like a bit of a slog at times, until the end when it did start to pick up as the story reaches its climax, but I was left with a few things that I felt weren’t really resolved.

I think the story did have potential but it needed a bit more of a clear direction, and it did manage to shock me with one of the revelations even though the rest was fairly predictable, but I wasn’t blown away by this book.


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