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A Slow Fire Burning: The addictive new Sunday Times No.1 bestseller from the author of The Girl on the Train

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As the book begins, Laura is cleaning blood off herself. She calls her father for help but her stepmother intervenes and cuts her off. It’s unclear exactly what happened to Laura, but she has the watch of someone named Daniel. One of the most unpredictable and saddest characters in the book is Laura. Deeply damaged mentally and physically in a car accident and left abandoned by her mother and father. Her life is complicated and scarred by a number of abusive events. She confides and cared for by Irene, another character with a tie-in and side story. There’s a great sense of suspense and tension. The story gets more engrossing as it goes along. This is a book where I was shaking my head in amazement/disgust at several points. It’s deliciously twisty and just when you think everything has been resolved, there’s one more twist waiting.

Miriam is a middle aged woman, living just several boats down from the boat where Daniel is brutally murdered. She sees, hears and knows a lot. She also has a vendetta against at least one of the characters. The first half of the book would have easily been rated a 2 or 3 stars, just average if not a bit overly complex. However, the last half of the book was extremely entertaining and had some twists that I was not quite expecting. At the last half of the book, it was revealed why the book was so complex. Angela is Carla’s sister, living a lonely and unhappy life. She lived with her son Daniel until recent years when Daniel went to live on his own. They had a caustic, unhealthy relationship.Theo has a dog, Dixon, who has gone missing. Theo is a writer. Theo and Carla’s son, Ben, was tragically killed at age three after he fell off a balcony at Angela’s house. Angela had been drinking and left Daniel, age eight, in charge. Their marriage was never the same. A heartfelt memoir about race, identity and mental illness. Read by the actor himself, it makes for moving listening.

When a devilishly handsome man is found brutally murdered on his houseboat, police wonder who could have committed something this gruesome. While trying to stitch together his complicated relationships, investigators are left with three women who just might've had the motive to kill. But which one has blood on her hands, and what led her to do it? As secrets swirl and lies unravel, the town tries to get to the bottom of the murder before it's too late. A chilling story that'll leave you with more questions than answers, A Slow Fire Burning gives the term "thriller" a whole new meaning. With unexpected characters, unforeseen consequences, and unusual connections, Hawkins's new book is a bloody masterpiece that's darker than it appears. Standout Quote I wasn’t entirely clear on the somewhat creepy relationship between Carla and Daniel. Was he just a really disturbed person who fantasized about his aunt, or did they really have a romantic relationship? Jealousy and deceit are the catalyst for this powerful book. With a number of unlikeable characters that are complicated and deemed as troubling, it was hard to cheer for any of them. Theo and Carla have an unhealthy marriage that appears on and off due to an accidental death of their 3 year old son left in the care of her sister Angela and her son Daniel. Angela allows her bad habits to interfere with the love and care for her son... revealing a terrible cycle of child neglect. Laura goes to see Irene and does her shopping. When she’s passing Carla’s house, she sees the door open and steals Carla’s tote bag.This was my third Paula Hawkins book and while I found it somewhat slow going, the writing was superb. It was the pacing and the large cast of unlikable and unreliable narrators that bogged this one down for me a bit. Otherwise this would probably have been a 5*. From the first sentence to the last, this explosive, startling novel grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go. Fiendishly clever' Who killed Daniel and why? I found it ambitious in that each character had reasons to be the murderer, depending upon the chapter. Each character endured tragedy and trauma; each has a suspicious pedigree. No one is an unreliable narrator, yet in reflecting their pasts, we wonder what the truth is. Each of us are a bit of unreliable narrators of our past, or, I should say we “color” our past to reflect what we want. What Hawkins is great at, is exposing the “shady” parts, or the “grey”.

The atmosphere is dark, the small group of characters unlikable, harboring secrets and truths. The young woman Laura, a tragic past, I felt sorry for and Irene a older woman, with a big heart, the only character I actually liked. There are many misdirections which change the story in small and big ways. A book within a book which also serves to confuse. The pacing is slow, but there are constant revelations and the truths are slowly revealed. Miriam catches Laura stealing some earrings and finding her own key, the one Miriam took. Miriam also gives her a copy of her manuscript.Like the three parts of a braid, the stories of the three women in A Slow Fire Burning come together and are interwoven into one. As if someone else wrote it, chapter 30 was my favourite one, where I asked why couldn’t have been like that throughout the book? It was a moment of great lucidity and that was what I was expecting from this author.

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