Soot Angel by M.A. Petterson

Soot Angel by M.A. Petterson
Publisher: Easy Reader Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (227 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A beautiful forensic engineer hiding a tragic past seeks the killer of a homeless child and uncovers a plot to destroy a foreign government.

Every fire has a cause. Will Anja be able to discover what set off this one?

The opening scene caught my attention immediately. Imagine examining the damage caused by a barely-extinguished fire only to come cross the body of a young child who died in it. So many details about what Anja saw, smelled, felt, and heard that I felt as though I were walking alongside her. It was a poignant moment in the plot that made me hope the child’s identity could be revealed and that the person who caused all of this suffering would be stopped.

The narrative switched between the perspectives of two different characters. I often had trouble telling who was speaking because their voices sounded so alike. Their speech styles were similar and they both seemed to share the same vocabulary. While I understand why the author wanted to include both points of view, it would have been really helpful to have more clues about which person was speaking each time the perspective shifted again.

Firefighters and fire investigators use a lot of jargon to describe their equipment, environment, and the rules they follow to keep people safe in fire-damaged buildings. As someone who isn’t familiar with any of these acronyms or terms, I appreciated the time that was taken to describe what each one meant. It made it much easier to understand what the main character was looking for when she noticed issues with the crime scene.

This book is the sequel to the short story Fire Sign, but it can be read on its own or out of order. Everything that happened to Anja previously that is relevant to her current case is briefly explained again, although there are a few fun surprises included for those of us who are already familiar with this series!

I’d recommend Soot Angel to anyone in the mood for a contemporary mystery.

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