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A Slow Fire Burning

by Paula Hawkins

Those people who think they have all the power, who think that we have none, we could prove them wrong.  We could show them that we could be powerful, too.

Zimbabwean-born Paula Hawkins needs no introduction – her first book, The Girl on the Train was a global phenomenon selling 23 million copies in over 40 languages!  You may well have seen the movie that – although it was annoyingly and inexplicably set in Connecticut instead of London – was a number 1 box office hit starring Emily Blunt who was brilliant as the unreliable Rachel.   So I think you’ll find that A Slow Fire Burning – Paula Hawkins’s third book – has everything you need in a thriller – twists and turns, toxic secrets, damaged people, revenge, a map of where everyone lives in and around Islington, a missing dog and the body of a young man stabbed to death on a houseboat.

It’s a compelling and compulsive read which focusses primarily on the three women who knew Daniel Sutherland.  Laura, the always-in-trouble-with-the-law one-night stand who was the last person seen at his home.  Carla, his grief-stricken aunt and Miriam the nosy neighbour who has not been entirely honest with the police.  All three women are dealing with issues of resentment, betrayal and fury and have been for years.  Please do watch this short video of Paula Hawkins telling us about her characters. It really sets the scene!

Cleverly, the term “slow fire” refers to the process by which the paper in books becomes brittle over time as a result of acidification.  The acid comes from within the paper itself, so that the paper has the seeds of its own destruction within its very fibres!  As the author says in her introduction: “The characters in this book all have something within them that’s eating away at them – a need for revenge, for love, for closure – something that has been burning inside them for years and years”.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!

A Slow Fire Burning twists and turns like a great thriller should but its also deep, intelligent and intensely human – Lee Child

Shocking, moving, full of heart . . . Laced with humour and packed with moments of sheer horror, A Slow Fire Burning shows a writer at the height of her powers – The Observer

A satisfying whodunit that will keep you guessing until the very end – Vogue

A hugely satisfying, brilliantly crafted novel about the entanglement of betrayal and retaliation, the damage of loss, and how tragedy reverberates in ways we can never expect — Ashley Audrain, author of The Push


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