Hi and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Killing Fire! Massive thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation and to Flame Tree Press for my gorgeous review copy, it totally made my day when it arrived, and then again when I was reading it!
A Killing Fire tells the story of homicide Detective Raven Burns. Talking about fire, Raven sure has a lot of it, she has quite the fiery personality, she’s a bit volatile at times, but I really liked her. I wouldn’t mind at all sitting down with her on a porch and sharing a plate of fried catfish and sweet potato fries and a pitcher of sweet iced tea with some Buckwheat Zydeco playing in the background, no sirree, I would not mind that at all! And oh the talks we would have, sitting on that porch on a hot and damp Louisiana night! She could tell me all about her dad, Floyd “Fire” Burns, ’cause you know, the girl is still not over all that shit, and I really think it would help if she talked about it. I mean, five-old girls are not supposed to see their dads murder their mums, right? Who wouldn’t be traumatised to witness their mum being killed by their dad at that tender an age (or any age for that matter). And it’s not like Floyd Burns stopped at that! No, he got a taste for it, and became an actual serial killer, don’t you know. Rest assured, Floyd is long gone, but Raven keeps hearing his voice in her thoughts and she’s struggling with it, because she’s wondering what else she’s inherited from him besides her “ghost eyes“, and so are the people in her little town of Byrd’s Landing.
Come to think of it, I’m not sure Raven would have the time or the energy to sit down with me for a chat and a snack. After all, a girl has been murdered and it’s a known fact that she and Raven did not get along at all. So Raven is not just in the middle of a murder investigation, she’s also trying to prove her innocence, because there are some elements to this murder that remind people of the murder of Raven’s mum. And then another murder is committed and it seems that Raven has another serial killer on her hands. Oh it’s one hot mess, I tell you, and I’m not talking about the weather in the bayou! I’m not talking about the book either, for the record. A Killing Fire is anything but a mess, it’s not uncontrolled wildfire, it’s a carefully controlled flame. It burns slowly but steadily and Ms Snowden keeps on feeding it, until you find yourself consumed by it, hypnotised, unable to turn away. I completely missed the signs that would have pointed me in the right direction, in hindsight I realise they were there, I stared the killer in the face but I did not see them. Like Rachel wrote in her cracking review earlier on the tour: I would love to see Ms Snowden turn this into a series, I would love to be reunited with Raven, especially in Byrd’s Landing but anywhere else is fine too. In the meantime Ms Snowden has told Twitter that there is indeed a second Raven Burns novel in the works, and let me tell you, it cannot come quickly enough!
Let’s talk about the setting for a minute. A Killing Fire is set in Louisiana, which is a part of the USA I haven’t been, but it is definitely on my travel bucket list. Having lived in Louisiana for 8 years, Ms Snowden obviously knows what she’s talking about but she does not force Louisiana down your throat, New Orleans is mentioned, and so is Katrina, but the Louisiana vibes are integrated in the story subtlely, without a flashing arrow pointing them out. As such, A Killing Fire oozes Southern atmosphere all over the place, and I gobbled it up (and put a visit to this US state a little higher on that travel bucket list).
A Killing Fire is an excellent crime thriller. I thoroughly enjoyed both the murder investigations and the characters’ personal histories, especially Raven’s but also her partner Billy Ray’s. The murder mystery is executed flawlessly, clues, red herrings, and in combination with the well-fleshed out and complicated characters and their relationships, I would definitely say A Killing Fire will satisfy a wide range of readers. Recommended!
Check out the posts of the bloggers who have come before me and Cassandra’s tomorrow!