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’s 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 she tries desperately to find out what really happened to Kaycee, troubling memories begin to resurface and she begins to doubt her own observations. And when she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game”—it will threaten reputations, and lives, in 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 square miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of what happens when your past and present collide.
I remember requesting this book before knowing it was written by an actress. There was something about the blurb that caught my eye, probably the fact that the synopsis reminded me a bit of Erin Brockovich (which I love) and also because it’s about a woman going back to her hometown (you know I can’t resist those).
I want to say that I’m not a fan of Krysten Ritter. It’s not that I don’t like her, I simply haven’t seen her shows, so I don’t really have an opinion about her acting skills. Her writing skills, on the other hand, are good. I really liked the way Krysten managed to hook me from the moment I read the prologue. Talk about a gripping opening!
The idea for this book was great and I’m always a fan of this kind of stories where you’re rooting for the underdog who’s trying to beat a big corporation. I can’t help it. This was no different and it also included a disturbing storyline featuring high school students that made it all more interesting and complex.
Abby Williams is an interesting character, but at the same time, I felt like I’ve read many similar books where the poor, shy girl returns home having become a successful lawyer/writer/whatever and everyone else in her town is still the same. I don’t think she was memorable enough, although her relationship with her father was perhaps my favorite part.
Ultimately, my issue with this book was simply that I don’t think I will remember it forever. The conclusion was a bit predictable in terms of who was guilty and who wasn’t, although I definitely liked the bittersweet ending.
Netgalley, Crown Publishing, 2017