A Slow Fire Burning - Paula Hawkins

Reading Challenge Category: Book club April read

Official Blurb:

'What is wrong with you?'
Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She's seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous.
Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn't mean she's a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace?
Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill.
Look what you started.

My Thoughts:

This was my book club’s second pick, and I’m afraid we aren’t doing very well with our choices as this didn’t go down very well.
It was just ok; there was nothing really to keep you interested, nothing that evoked discussion and a very disappointing end. We really struggled to discuss this book as it just didn’t leave much of an impression on us.
There are little hooks at the beginning, such as why does Miriam keep the key, what secret is Carla hiding? However, as the book progresses, these hooks become inconsequential and don’t seem to matter anymore.
The book is told from multiple points of view. We have Laura, a very troubled young woman who suffered both a physical and mental trauma as a child. The main discussion at the book club was about her character and how unfair her life was, and how horrible her parents were. She needed more understanding.
There is Miriam, a loner who lives on a boat and also has a terrible past. There are also italicised chapters from the past depicting what happened to Miriam. Although I’m not sure what her past brought to the book, it seemed disjointed to the rest of the story, and I hoped it would intertwine as the book progressed. It did a little bit but not enough, in my opinion, to warrant being relevant.
There is also Carla and Theo. They were once married and still feel a draw to one another but can’t recapture what they had due to a terrible loss.
Finally, Irene, the only decent character in the whole book as she, fights to be there for Laura, who needs someone looking after her.
The majority of the characters had a motive for murder, but it felt sloppy and rushed when revealed at the end. We get all the answers, but they feel half-hearted and given just for the sake of it rather than there being any clever reveals. I had wondered at one point if there was going to be a strange time inconsistency to make the book not seem as apparent as it was. It was mentioned on numerous occasions about the book Theo wrote and it being told during different timelines. So, I thought maybe the author had done something clever with the book we were reading, and we were going to be shocked that it wasn’t a linear timeline. Unfortunately, the book isn’t that brilliant, and the ending was a complete let-down.
It was agreed amongst s that this was a three-star read at best. Very disappointing after enjoying her ‘Into the Water’ and the acclaimed ‘Girl on the Train.’

A Slow Fire Burning
by Paula Hawkins
Date Started
16th April 2022
Date Finished
20th April 2022