“Bonfire” by: Krysten Ritter

Krysten Ritter may be a familiar name to you. She was an actress in Veronica Mars, Breaking Bad, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, and Jessica Jones. I was excited to get a chance to review her debut novel.

The premise reminded me of Veronica Mars in that we have a small town filled with cover-ups and secrets, as well as a female lead that is seeking out the truth of what happened to her high school friend.

Many threads weave together and I don’t want to spoil a lot here because I feel like the story loses the punch if too much is given away.

Abby Williams couldn’t escape her small town fast enough after graduating and her job as an environmental lawyer pulls her back. The story is told through third person narrative along with flashbacks and memories as they come for Abby.

Abby is a flawed character. She has an estranged relationship with her father. Her father is losing control of his mind as an illness overtakes him. Abby displays low levels of self-esteem, alcoholism, and a lack of self-awareness. She is still able to uncover a lot despite (because of?) this.

Right from the start we as readers are brought into the early world of the girl group when their “leader” Kaycee Mitchell starts getting sick. Is she really sick?

The use of common phrasing and the crow poem helped to keep the story propelling in a way that played on the previous information given. This was well thought out and well written.

I liked that the story threads didn’t really tie up until toward the end. There were a few things that I felt were left unexplained. (Possibly for a sequel? I somehow doubt it as it seemed like the character was moving on to her “normal” life in Chicago)

I wouldn’t say this is a novel for everyone. The themes are adult. Part of the plot could be disturbing to young readers. It is an adult fiction novel. Just keep that in mind when deciding to dive into it.

The smaller characters are well crafted, but mostly this is a story about Abby figuring out and dealing with her past in all senses of the word.

I am curious as to what other people will think of it. Personally I enjoyed it and liked the style of characters Ritter brought to the table. I would be interested to read more from her and hopes she keeps writing.

Quick Facts:

Page Count: 368

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Crown Publishing/Hutchinson

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

Expected Publication Date: November 7, 2017

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game,” which will threaten the reputations, and lives, of the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.

With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote, rural town of just five claustrophobic miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of the question: can you ever outrun your past?

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