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A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins Book Review

Reasons for Reading this Book

I read this book in September as I am a member of the Readheads book club. I did not read Paul Hawkins award winning book Girl on the Train, but I did see the movie because I am a big Emily Blunt fan. I read Paula Hawkins book Into the Water and came to the conclusion that I would not recommend it. Going into reading this book I had a feeling that since I had not read a physiological thriller in a long time that I would either really like A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins and highly recommend it or I would not like it at all and not recommend it. 

Content of the Book

Miriam, a loner who lives on a house boat finds the body of a young man murdered on his house boat. Are one of the three women who recently saw him at fault for his gruesome murder? Laura, who has an interesting past herself, is the women he had a one-night-stand with the victim the night of his murder. Carla is his aunt and is currently mourning the lost of her sister, his mother. And Miriam, well she is the loner and nosy neighbor who keeps secrets from the police. Each women has a different reason for why they could be at fault for his murder. Who will go the farthest to get the peace they so desire? Will everyone’s secrets stay burning in a small flame or will they combust in an explosion? 


Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Secrets are always revealed. 

What I liked about this book

Depending on the psychological thriller I either like one character’s perspective or I like multiple. This story was told from multiple character's perspectives. This choice of narration was the right one in my opinion for this book. Doing it this way allowed for the reader to gain an understanding of each character’s possible involvement in the murder. The author’s voice of each character was slightly different, but could have used stronger voice to make some of them stand out from one another even more. I did appreciate and like the inclusion of the memoir and novel sections that were included in the book. They were both applicable to the plot and gave further perspective on the characters who wrote them. One thing that did stand out to me from one's character's perspective was her sense of humor, I enjoyed reading her portions because of her humor and wit.

What I disliked about this book

It truly was a slow fire burning. The book dragged on forever with unnecessary details about past events that did not contribute to the plot of the story or character development. For me the characters were so unrelatable and unlikeable. Personally I think the characters had no redeeming qualities. I have found this to be the case for some psychological thrillers I have read in the past. Writing a character this way really disconnects the reader for the characters and makes for an unenjoyable read. I don’t know if this was the author’s intent or not, but she really makes you hate which ever character the character your are reading from hates, hate them too. For a psychological thriller there wasn’t much thrill, at least for me. I like twists and turns that keep me on my toes and engrossed in the book. This book did not have any of that. I don’t want to say it was predictable but it as in a way.  Honestly, the only application that I see for the title to the book is that the plot progresses slowly. Other than that I don’t see how the title applies to the book.

Would I recommend this book?

The simple answer is no. There are much better psychological thrillers out there that are actually worth your time and money. Once again Paula Hawkins let me down. I would recommend The Woman in the Window or Gone Girl over this book. Read that instead if you haven’t already.

Check out my book reviews for 2021!!

Check out my book reviews for 2020!!

Check out my book reviews for 2019!!


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