“As the fires rage, he makes them disappear”

  • Book: The Burning Girls
  • Location: Georgia
  • Author: Rita Herron

Review Author: Yvonne@FictionBooks



Recently my reviews all seemed to have opened in the same way, with me commenting that this is another of those series which just keeps on giving and getting better as time goes on!

There are some great storylines, characters and authors out there, and this package is definitely high up my list, for oh! so many reasons.

Opening lines which have you hitting the ground running without having time to think about where you are heading; a storyline which is action-packed with plenty of twists and turns; a cliff hanger ending which doesn’t quite tie up all those loose ends and unanswered questions even though it brings this particular case to a finite conclusion; and most importantly everyone who matters makes it out alive – but only just and all slightly the worse for wear!

Add to those four important criteria for a good story, a fifth which sets it above the rest and makes it a great read – A genuine sense of time and place so real you can almost touch, taste and feel those mountains, the loneliness of time seemingly standing still, the watching eyes that are never far away, the claustrophobic stench of smoke and the burning flames just waiting to engulf you. Fear and isolation like you have never known before, all fuelled by some mind-blowing folklore – And all without having to move from the comfort of your own armchair!

I might have been a tad concerned that all three of Ellie’s cases to date have directly involved her and her family, perhaps to the point that the townsfolk and her superiors might just be beginning to wonder if she is more trouble to have around than they really need, especially when you add up the body count she is collecting and the conflicting emotions it is causing her, as she desperately strives to prove herself and separate her personal and professional lives. But what the heck! With gripping and desperate, heart pumping action like this, who’s really thinking about that too much right now.

With a perpetrator who is ‘hidden in plain sight’ and lives amongst them as part of the community, this well structured, highly intense and atmospheric, multi-layered storyline, grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let you go. You are led kicking and screaming by a consummate author who has total authority over both her audience and characters, although she allows the latter a genuine voice of their own, which makes it appear as if they have control over their own futures and destinies and are not really totally at the mercy of the stroke of a pen by Rita herself, drawing you into their lives – and deaths! The multiple strands of this unconventional, complicated, manipulative storyline are expertly drawn together into an epic climax, and just to whet the appetite a little, they include rape, arson, hallucinogenic drugs, adoption, a corrupt faith minister – and of course, those all consuming murders. The chapters are kept ultra short, which keeps the storyline fluid, transitions seamless and the gripping plot, pacey and suspenseful. The narrative is observational, detailed and descriptive, the dialogue conversational and assured, as all those dirty little secrets bubble to the surface a little at a time and threaten to overwhelm this intimate rural community. With time being very much the word of the moment during this investigation, running out as it is, for both Ellie and the criminal she seeks.

The entire cast of characters are multi faceted and emotionally complex, and although well drawn and defined, are totally not easy for me to connect to, invest in, or engage with. There is very little synergy between them, as they all appear rather edgy and often quite vulnerable. Ellie does seem to have built up an early rapport with most members of her team however, with the exception of the sheriff, who has his sights set on her downfall from grace just as soon as possible and isn’t afraid to let everyone know that, including Ellie herself. She really does need to watch her back around him in the future!

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