A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins – Review

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins
Series: N/A
Publisher: Doubleday 
First published August 25th 2021
Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

‘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.

We start this book with a murder followed by different timelines and character backgrounds until we know what really happened – not only to the murdered character but to every single character in their past and what lead them where they are now. We follow:

Laura, a girl wrong by life in all ways possible, after an accident in her youth that left her both mentally and physically scared.

Theo and his wife Carla, who had the perfect marriage until their little boy of 3 died in an accident.

Angela, Carla’s sister who, after the accident, was never the same. Going into alcoholism and living a miserable life.

Her son Daniel, who has a really bad relationship with his mother and a tough life.

Miriam, a middle aged woman living just near where Daniel was murdered. And suffering herself from a tragic youth and a dealing with her life being stolen.

And finally Irene, a sweet old lady friend to Angela and Lauren – the latter of whom she tried to help the best she could, treating her like the child she never had.

This book kept me changing alliances every other page. There’s just so much going on with each character. So much hardships they had to endure that I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them every time. Proceeded by being angry at them every other time.

I love slow-burning thrillers and this one really kept me engaged and on the edge of my seat. I was incredibly invested in all the characters from around 60 pages in. There’s something about small communities that just gets me every time and this book really did that well.

It was incredibly satisfying to connect the dots between characters and see their reasons, their justifications, their fears, hopes and everything in between. Every character is flawed and it’s impossible to not feel all emotions possible for them. I especially liked Irene and how sweet, funny and bookworm-y she was. But I felt most for Laura, she had her life laugh at her at every possible moment and even tho she isn’t exactly likeable, she is endearing and who doesn’t have a bit of crazy in them, right?

I couldn’t figure out how it was going to end for the life of me. It was just so intriguing! So many twists and turns and connections to make. So many secrets. I was gripped. I found this book incredibly satisfying and although slow burning like life itself, it kept me turning the page everytime.

What did you think of it? Have you read it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!

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