Smoke by Catherine McKenzie

Smoke by Catherine McKenzie
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (337 pages)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

After a decade-long career combating wildfires, Elizabeth has traded in for a quieter life with her husband. Now she works as the local arson investigator in a beautiful, quaint town in the Rockies. But that tranquil life vanishes when she and her husband agree to divorce, and when a fire started in nearby Cooper Basin begins to spread rapidly. For Elizabeth, containing a raging wildfire is easier than accepting that her marriage has failed.

For Elizabeth’s ex-friend Mindy, who feels disconnected from her husband and teenage children, the fire represents a chance to find a new purpose: helping a man who lost his home to the blaze. But her faith is shattered by a shocking accusation.

As the encroaching inferno threatens the town’s residents, Elizabeth and Mindy must discover what will be lost in the fire, and what will be saved.

Engrossing… simply engrossing.

I’m generally not a fan of chick lit. Why? I like a little more romance to the books I read. That said, I did enjoy Smoke. There’s just enough going on in this book. It kept my attention and flowed well. The writing was good and I liked the characters for the most part.

The backdrop of the wildfires helped to illustrate the way the lives of the characters seem to be falling into shambles, but there’s a chance for rebirth. I liked that. I like knowing things aren’t always going to be horrible and this author did that for me.

The slow buildup of the characters could be a bit of a story killer for some. It’s not a fast moving book to begin with. I had to fight a little early on, but once I got into the story… I was hooked. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t engrossing, it just means you may have to put in some effort to get to the payoff. It’s worth it.

Elizabeth and Mindy are good characters and easy to relate to because we’ve all been in their shoes–kids, marriages, crises and the like. How the characters handled their problems was very down to earth and worth the read.

Grab a copy. Good reading.

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