Tuesday, December 19, 2017

BONFIRE BY KRYSTEN RITTER - BOOK REVIEW

I went into this book fairly blind, all I really knew was that it was a thriller. And while I think I generally enjoyed it, there is just something I can't quite put my finger on that was a little bit off for me.

Hello everyone!

I'm back with another book review, Bonfire by Krysten Ritter. Thanks so much to Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review, as always, all opinions are my own.



The story follows Abby, an environmental lawyer who is dragged back to the town she grew up in, and finally thought she had escaped. A major plastic manufacturer has moved into the town in the ten years Abby has been away, and despite the fact that they are hiring many of the residents and pumping money into the dilapidated neighbourhoods, it seems they may not have the best of intentions. Reports of rashes and irrigation issues lead Abby to suspect that the water in the reservoir may not be as clean as Optimal Plastics says it is. But Abby also has to face her past if she wants to succeed. Relive her youth, remembering the bullying, her father's temper, and the girl, Kaycee, who went missing all those years ago after being exposed as a liar claiming to be ill for attention.

I have to give Ritter this, I may not have loved every page of this book, but she can write one heck of a plot twist and red herring. I had absolutely no idea who was behind everything for the majority of this book. Even in the end, I still felt like some of the pieces didn't quite fit together, and that there was maybe more to the story.

Because I didn't really know what this book was going to be about going in, once I got started it had a very Erin Brockovich vibe to it. It was interesting to see a lawyer, and an environmental lawyer at that, take the lead in this genre. Typically, you get a cop or some sort of detective. I don't know if her being an environmental lawyer really shined through all that much, there were a few times I actually forgot she was a lawyer in the first place.

I think the flashbacks into the past were handled really well. They can be hard to get right, especially for a debut author, so I applaud Ritter for being able to make them flow. They gave helpful insight into Abby's past and helped connect the dots between Kaycee's disappearance then and the issues with the water now.

I would say my main issue lies in the pacing of the story. While the synopsis claims "slow-burning suspense," the author blurbs on the back (side note: I know that author blurbs aren't entirely accurate) - ALL THREE OF THEM - claimed a breakneck pace. So I was expecting fast paced, in fact, that was what I was looking forward to, a thriller that would grab me and not let go, and I was sorely disappointed. I think I would have been fine with the slow burn if I hadn't been promised fast-paced.

I think Ritter has some growing to do as a novelist, but this was a good first attempt. While it had some issues - Abby was so under-described I pretty much just imagined Ritter the entire time and she included the age-old "I released the breath I didn't realize I was holding" line no less than three times - there were some high points and Ritter's writing shows promise.

Overall, I appreciated the small-town feel and the different take on the usual thriller, bouncing back and forth between environmental issues and a disappearance/possible murder.