Bonfire – Krysten Ritter



Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Hutchinson

Should you ever go back?

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?

I requested Bonfire simply because of the author, Krysten Ritter. I loved her performance in Veronica Mars and Jessica Jones, so I’ve been slowly making my way through her work. 

Bonfire has the generic premise of a woman returning to the hometown she ran away from as soon as she was able. However, Ritter expertly subverts the trope by creating a complex multi-dimensional main character, Abby, investigating a potentially poisoned water reservoir. Think Erin Brockovich. I loved the fact that the main character didn’t return to her hometown to investigate a murder. It was a twist on an overused plot. 

Abby is a capable, intelligent, and complex character. She has her own demons she battles throughout the novel, but isn’t as dark and twisty as most characters written in the genre. 

The writing style is accessible and clean. I was able to immediately emerge myself in the character and story without feeling lost or confused. Ritter is able to communicate to the reader Abby’s emotions through poignant imagery.  

Overall, Bonfire is a fantastic novel that uses an overused generic plot in a unique way to create an intricate mystery with a multi-dimensional main character. 

***I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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