The House Fire by Rosie Walker #BookReview #PsychologicalThriller

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 . . .

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

The House Fire by Rosie Walker is a psychological thriller about an arson cold case that kept me guessing until the end.

What I Enjoyed:

There are three narrators of this complex and compelling tale: two sisters, Jamie and Cleo, and the arsonist.  I loved the chapters where the arsonist takes over the story because it helped build suspense early in the story.  It also helped develop the character without the reader even knowing the identity of this person.  Jamie is doing a documentary on a group of connected arsons and possible suspects. Cleo is the little sister trying to prove that her new stepfather is someone who can’t be trusted.  All three of these perspectives come together in expected and unexpected ways. That is why it was difficult for me to pinpoint the culprit.

I enjoyed the sisters’ interactions.  They always felt incredibly genuine even when the younger sister, Cleo, acted over the top, as is consistent with her age.  The sisters have a bond that is palpable and true.

The pace starts off a bit slow, but it is made faster by the chapters where the arsonist begins telling their tale. Around the halfway point, the thriller takes off, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I loved when the pace picked up as I always enjoy a good page-turner.

Lastly, I adored the very creepy ending.  I can’t say that I didn’t guess it was possible, but it didn’t change how chilling it is when delivered.  I love a creepy open-ended conclusion, and in this regard, The House Fire delivered.

What I Wish:

I wish the pace had been fast from start to finish because I love a story that sucks me in and keeps me glued to the page from the very beginning. This one didn’t pull me in entirely until about the 50% mark.


All of the characters are reasonably well-developed, enough to understand their motivations but not so much that I was able to guess the culprit until a few pages before the big reveal.  The sisters are very complex, and I particularly like Jamie, independent and determined.  All of the parents and step-parents are anything but sympathetic and the boyfriends, Spider and Lucasz, add an exciting element to the story that I rather enjoyed.

Reminds Me Of:

The House Fire reminds me of the author’s first book, Secrets of a Serial Killer, but even better.

To Read or Not to Read:

If you love an edge of your seat psychological thriller that keeps you guessing up until the very end, The House Fire is a story you are sure to enjoy.

My Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

21 Replies to “The House Fire by Rosie Walker #BookReview #PsychologicalThriller”

  1. Fantastic review, Tessa, this sounds like another great read! I am a little hesitant about the slow start.. I don’t want to spend the first half of the book, heaven forbid, bored. Is that likely?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not bored as the wedding takes place in the first chapter and all the is my new step father a bad person stuff starts plus there are a few chapters from the arsonist which are super creepy. The arsonist thriller stuff starts at the halfway point which is why it picks up so much. So the first half is not boring but it’s also not edge of your seat crazy. Overall, it’s a good story – not great but better than just okay. It’s probably somewhere in the middle of my recommendations list.

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  2. I normally wouldn’t hesitate to add this to my TBR, but I am SO BEHIND, I’m afraid it would get buried on the list.
    Good review, Tessa!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not on my top 3 for sure. It’s a good read, though. If I had to recommend thrillers that are not to be missed from ones I read this year, they would be 1. Rock, Paper, Scissors by Alice Feeney; 2. The Maid by Nita Prose; and 3. A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw. They are all three very different but so incredible crafted for their particular sub-genre/niche.

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  3. Great review Tessa. You have definitely piqued my interest. I did not read her first book, but it sounds like they are both interesting. How slow is the start? I like when the culprit is in the story sharing their POV anonymously.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not too slow. The whole is my step father a bad person thing starts in the first chapter with the younger sister “investigating” him determined to prove that he is. Also there are small chapters from the arsonists pov which are super creepy during the first half. Walker’s thrillers are good solid thrillers but not quite up to the top of the genre, yet. Definitely good reads ❤️

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  4. Great review Tessa!! Have this one on my TBR list. Also have this authors 1st book Secrets of a serial Killer on my TBR shelf!!

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    1. They are pretty good. I think they are solid thrillers with just some pacing issues but not bad. You should give one a try a see what you think.

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  5. Sounds like a good book. The slow start is disappointing, but glad you liked it overall.

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