I have always found an allure in suspense/mystery stories that take place in a small town, ranging from novels to movies and series. I had not read a mystery with this characteristics in awhile, so when I discovered Bonfire by Krysten Ritter, I was ready to dive into the story.
Krysten Ritter is a name that I know from the Marvel series Jessica Jones in which she plays the lead role. My love for her character translated to the actress herself, and I was excited to hear she wrote a novel and a novel in one my favourite genres. She was another reason why I bought the book; discovering who she is an author.
Bonfire is the debut novel by Krysten Ritter which follows Abby Williams an Environmental lawyer, who is given a case that forces her to return to her small town home, Barrens, Indiana. She has not returned home in ten years, and has scrubbed away any part of her small-town roots from her life. She is tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, a company that has kept Barrens standing for over a decade. The investigation leads Abby to a scandal in high school that involved the popular girl Kaycee Mitchell , before she disappeared. As Abby continues to investigate , she unearths a secret that threatens the lives and reputations of the community , and a darkness in the town that may consume her.
The book deals with a variation of themes; corruption, abuse , solitude and redemption, all threaded throughout the novel skillfully. The theme or conversation surrounding corruption is quite a common and familiar element in stories, but the author does a good job of creating a narrative that make sure it didn’t get lost in a do-gooder crusade.
The characterization of the protagonist is an element of the book I enjoyed. Abby is an individual that has a job that almost comes with a description of believing and working to fix the rights that are wrong with the world, and reason I won’t go as far as calling her an optimist is because, well, she isn’t. Part of what drives her on this case is the personal clarity she is searching for. She is not on a crusade to change the world, but if the opportunity falls in her lap to affect change in society , which happens everyday through her job, she will take it ; She is not saturated with being a good person.
Her writing style, the way in which she wrote the characters and the mixture of dark tones, made the book a page-turner. Overall this was a satisfying read, and a promising debut from a new author.