Bonfire by Krysten Ritter


My latest review is of a book I had been very excited about reading. Bonfire is the debut novel from Krysten Ritter, who you may recognise for her acting work which includes the Netflix series Jessica Jones (which I really need to catch up on!). The synopsis of this book intrigued me, as it is the story of a woman who revisits her home town to investigate a case which brings back some troubling memories from her past…

Abby Williams is an environmental lawyer living in Chicago. With a thriving career it appears she has moved on from a past which holds some difficult memories. But a case arises which leads her back to her home town of Barrens, a small, rural town which she left behind a decade ago. I read with interest as Abby begins to look into the potentially harmful activity taking place at Optimal Plastics, a major company which helped boost the Barren’s economy. But as she delves deeper, she makes connections with a decade old scandal, one which concerns the disappearance of Kaycee Mitchell, an old school friend who was one of a few impacted by a mysterious illness. I was quickly drawn into this story, and the short, sharp chapters kept me hooked throughout as we begin to uncover past secrets, and see how the events from the past become intertwined with those in the present.

I thought this was a well written story which was perfectly paced to keep up the interest as the plot develops. And along the way I was kept guessing as to what was really going on at Optimal Plastics, what really happened ten years ago, and how it could all be connected. I became invested in the characters development and it was interesting to see Abby as she tries to get to the bottom of the case whilst battling with her childhood memories. The more she looks, and the more secrets she uncovers, she starts to doubt herself and everything she has ever known. Her story is told with plenty of emotion, as she reflects on her upbringing, and her childhood relationships. And as the story built up to its intriguing conclusion, there were some surprising developments about the true extent of what has been going on in this small, claustrophobic town, as Abby helps to uncover a web of secrets, lies and scandal. And what she discovers could threaten the lives and reputations of those in the Barrens community – and herself.

Bonfire is a gripping novel where the past and present collide. It is a story in which we see a woman facing her past that is packed with suspense, and a few twists and turns along the way.

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