book review · NetGalley · suspense · thriller

Book Review – The House Fire

Play with fire and you’ll get burned …

Who can you trust in this brand new edge-of-your-seat thriller?

A tired old seaside town hiding a series of unsolved arson attacks.

A derelict mansion in the woods with a long-buried secret.

A bundle of old love letters that mask a dark story. 

When Jamie’s documentary investigation gets too close to uncovering the truth behind a series of deadly arson attacks that tormented Abbeywick in the 1980s, her family might be the ones who pay the price. 

But for her younger sister Cleo, the secrets Jamie uncovers have the potential to get exactly what Cleo wants: to remove her mum’s toxic new husband from their lives, forever. 

All it takes is one spark to send everything up in smoke . . .

Early readers are gripped by this edge-of-your-seat thriller

‘This book was hands down amazing, I read it in one sitting. I thought I had it figured out but wow was I wrong’

‘A great well written thriller, I was guessing from start to finish

‘Suspense, intrigue [and a] great whodunit’

‘A must read

‘A fantastic domestic thriller . . . the ending gave me chills’

Purchase Link – Amazon UK

My thoughts

Initially, The House Fire is about incidents of arson in the locality where sisters Jamie and Cleo grew up. Jamie wants to produce documentaries for a living while younger sister Cleo just wants her mum back after. From the outset it’s evident there’s an undercurrent of abuse here, a darker history to the events and an inevitable yet well-disguised connection to the family.

The story is told from three viewpoints: Jamie, Cleo and the arsonist. It quickly makes you question whether the arsonist has returned … and, if so, why? That tenuous thread seems fragile and a little convenient until it grows stronger and bolder and impossible to ignore. And here begins the great suspense: who is the arsonist?

Jamie’s boyfriend, Spider, soon seems to want to spin the tale of the the past fires into a new story, his eyes lighting up as new fires ignite and new victims come to the fore. Cleo, and her best friend Lucasz, are otherwise engaged – Lucacz in his love of historical research and facts after they find letters in an old burnt-out house, and Cleo in her hatred of her new stepfather, Ant, and what she sees as his control over her mother … which she (rightly or wrongly, you’ll have to read for yourself) means he wants her, Cleo, out of the family home as soon as possible.

Pace-wise, it’s a slow-burner (pardon the pun) but it quickly builds to a more suspenseful tale particularly when Jamie finds gets threats that are soon followed by an incident that sees her hospitalised.

The twist in the tale is well delivered albeit open-ended, leaving the reader to ponder how things might develop from there. Trust me, the possibilities are quite worrying.

I imagined at first that Cleo was the main character, and she was for much of the beginning. But, for me, Jamie’s role developed better and stay firmer … maybe I just prefer a peace-maker to a rebel, though I doubt that. I guess it’s mor because Cleo’s outbursts are quite over-the-top at times and requires a suspension of belief that didn’t quite resonate with me.

Jamie had more impact for me in that she was forced to make decisions based less on emotion, though I did wonder whether she’d be strong enough to be as bold as she wanted to be.

Ant, the stepfather, was a conundrum. It was easy to follow Clew’s thoughts on him and see him as the baddie; he certainly didn’t help himself in that respect but ultimately, I did begin to see through Cleo’s exasperated pleas and see another side to Ant, though it wasn’t until near the end that the truth became clear.

I found The House Fire to be a fascinating read that certainly left me thinking one thing before being found to be completely wrong. Thanks to NetGalley and One More Chapter for the ARC which I’ve reviewed voluntarily.

As always,

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