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.