Here is my late review for the blog tour of A Killing Fire. Huge apologies to the author, publisher, and Anne Cater for this being so late.
About the Book
The first time Raven Burns saw her father kill, the victim was her mother. Afterwards, Floyd “FIRE” Burns set the house on fire, making Raven watch as the flames slithered across the yard like some unknowable language. Then he took her on a multi-state killing spree. She could’ve told or killed him in his sleep. But there were his constant whispers, his wet lips close to her ear saying that little girls who told were sent to hell, and their mothers were called down from heaven to take care of them.
By the time he is executed, Raven has become a cop with the sole purpose of putting men like him away. But she can’t escape Floyd’s terrorizing voice in her head, somehow guiding her steps while reminding her of the horrors he had forced her to witness. And she can’t escape the questions that continue to haunt her: Did witnessing make her complicit? Had the same evil that lived in her father taken residence in her soul?
The town of Byrd’s Landing, Louisiana appears to have made up its mind. The community accepts that Raven had nothing to do with Floyd’s crimes. But when Raven shoots a teenager who points what turns out to be an unloaded weapon at her, stories about Floyd resurface. The whispers begin. No voice is louder than wealthy socialite Hazel Westcott. When Westcott turns up dead in the backyard of her Big Bayou Lake estate, the doubting voices reach a deafening crescendo, and the ghosts of her past rise up to greet her. To catch Westcott’s killer, Raven must come to terms once and for all with who she is. And who she is not.
The Killing Fire revolves around the story of Raven. When she is called to the scene of a murder she sees something that reminds her of her father. Is it a coincidence, or is Raven’s past coming back to haunt her.
The book focuses on the murder investigation, with flashes of Raven’s past with her father. Through this we see how Raven was shaped by her father’s influence, something she still hasn’t managed to escape.
There’s only been one victim so far, but Raven is convinced this is the work of a serial killer, and that this is only the beginning. Is she right, or is her desperation to solve the murder clouding her judgement?
The past and present are cleverly woven throughout this book. Alternating timelines are something I often struggle with, I generally prefer a book told in chronological order, but it worked well in this. It gave the reader clues about Raven’s past, letting them know more about her character while building up suspense.
Throughout the book it is unclear whether Raven is correct in her beliefs that the killings are related to her father. Raven is an unreliable narrator, so the reader doesn’t know whether to believe her theory, or if her past is colouring her abilities. This adds to the tension as the reader tries to work out what is really going on.
Raven was a very interesting character, but I don’t think I’d trust her to lead an investigation. I enjoyed the book and I’d like to see more of Raven in the future.