If you’re sitting there twiddling your thumbs, wondering what the hell to do with yourself now you’ve binged the entirety of You Season 3, then allow the latest Zoella book club pick to fill the Love Quinn shaped void for you.
Paula Hawkins, author of best-selling global hit The Girl on the Train, is back with her latest novel A Slow Fire Burning and it is every inch the addictive and terrifying psychological thriller we’d hoped for.
Featuring nosy neighbours who just love to tamper with a crime scene, a grotty canal boat and plot twists that only a clairvoyant could see coming, it’s an iconic cocktail of murder, revenge, whodunit mystery and complex female characters. Need we say more?
Keep reading to see how the team rated this eerie and epic Hawkins masterpiece.
But first, a reminder of the blurb.
‘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.
Usually, I’m a simp for historical fiction, character-driven stories or something with a fantasy twist. Admittedly, psychological thrillers aren’t the top of my list of books I willingly stroke on my weekly trip to Waterstones but if anyone can shake up my bookshelf and convince me to consider a whodunit more often, it’s Paula Hawkins. Like the rest of the whole wide world, I loved The Girl on the Train, so when A Slow Fire Burning turned up on our content calendar for 2021, I thought this is where we peak with our selection, surely.
This novel gets right under your skin leaving you no option but to tear through its breakneck chapters in a mere few hours. Slow burning at first, Hawkins gives you just enough until the final cathartic denouement when the whole story ignites and the three female culprits and their overlapping tragedies come to the forefront. I don’t think it’s so much the ‘who’ done it that stays with the reader it’s the reason why.
Sinister, gripping and full of all the iconic Hawkins twists that give us life, Slow Fire Burning will set your TBR pile ablaze in all the best ways. Ladies and gentleman, her.
Would you recommend? If you don’t live in a canal boat, then yes, YES I do.
I absolutely ADORED Girl on The Train so I was so excited to read another Paula Hawkes novel and my hopes for it being a good’un were definitely high! This book certainly lives up to its title of being a slow burner to begin with and I have to admit I normally prefer a novel that grips me from the off, but I persisted and in some ways I’m really glad I did!
I’ve mentioned in reviews before that I love books that skip between different characters and their perspectives and storylines so I was really pleased to read another with this format, but I think overall it did fall a bit flat for me compared to Girl on The Train, perhaps understandably so given its huge success. I think the main thing missing for me was an emotional and personal connection to the characters- although intriguing I didn’t necessarily feel emotionally connected to any of them and found myself quite ambivalent overall to their outcomes which was a shame.
Despite that I did enjoy the storyline and its twists and turns, although sometimes confusing, and think it’s a worthwhile read for anyone that is drawn to this genre. Perhaps if I had gone in with lower expectations I would have felt more satisfied!
Would you recommend? If you’re a Paula Hawkins fan than yes, but just didn’t hit the spot for me!
A Slow Fire Burning WOW what a bloody ending! As the title suggests the book’s pace is slow and fiery but it has such a big payoff if you’re looking for juicy twists and turns. I listened to this book on audible and it was hard to keep up with at points (probably similar to reading it) because there are so many characters and different narrators. There’s really solid character development and lots of unlikeable people, which let’s face it, is something that makes Hawkins stories so much more realistic and relatable. Paula writes about trauma and tragedy with so much finesse, bringing it home that everyone in life is suffering with their own sh*t. Having lived in London and spent a lot of time near the canals I loved the setting for this novel and could really picture how it might unfold in a real neighbourhood, where wealth and poverty are buttressed up against each other in the city. Great book, if thriller murder ‘whodunnit’ is your vibe then pick this up ASAP!
Would you recommend? Another Paula Hawkins Banger!
Source by zoella.co.uk