Paula Hawkins' third novel gets off to an intriguing start ... As the mystery deepens...Hawkins' elaborate guessing game becomes even more fiendish ... We examine each profile, sift the scattered details—a bad mother, a missing dog, a series of graphic sketches—and follow the twists and turns to a denouement spring-loaded with one or two final surprises ... A Slow Fire Burning lacks the suspense of [Hawkins'] debut but it still manages to be a gripping page-turner. The source of its narrative force is its compellingly unpredictable characters.
... this novel is a whole new level of psychological terror. Deliciously dark and dangerously unsettlingly, A Slow Fire Burning will give you chills with every chapter ... A chilling story that'll leave you with more questions than answers, A Slow Fire Burning gives the term 'thriller' a whole new meaning. With unexpected characters, unforeseen consequences, and unusual connections, Hawkins's new book is a bloody masterpiece that's darker than it appears.
Not only is every character in Hawkins’s novel vile, self-serving, and narcissistic, even worse, they’re dull. Dull, dull, dull. Even the serial killer is dull ... Hawkins relies on a zigzag storytelling style where we readers hear multiple perspectives on the same events courtesy of a third-person narrator who has access to the thoughts of different characters .... Hawkins’s novel, in contrast, offers little incentive for a reader to stay involved. Her bland rogues gallery of characters—major and minor—attests, once again, to 'the banality of evil.' And, with the exception of a clever plot twist at the very end of this novel, its revelations don’t merit its ornate complications. The 'fire' that’s burning in Hawkins’s title isn’t the only thing about her latest novel that’s slow.
... addictive ... [a] lurching, turning, weaving, winding whodunnit ... The characters would be largely unlikeable and frustrating, if they hadn’t been bestowed with such carefully crafted and unspeakably tragic back stories. Hawkins builds and layers to a point where it’s perfectly feasible that any one of them could have killed in cold blood ...
The killer, for me at least, didn’t come as a huge surprise, but it’s the why that’ll leave readers squirming. Intricately interwoven plots and subplots, propulsive twists and a neat finale, while it’s no The Girl On The Train,A Slow Fire Burning is a deliciously easy psycho drama to hungrily tear through.
... a classic whodunit that unfolds the mystery until the very last page. Hawkins masterfully leads you to suspect one flawed character before taking you into a completely different direction without warning ... a huge plot twist ... This story highlights how trauma can steadily unravel a family across generations if left unattended. There's no fairytale ending in A Slow Fire Burning, but it serves as a reminder that buried traumas can manifest in unexpected ways if they aren't healed.
... an old-school psychological thriller about slightly odd people ... Hawkins gives all of the characters reasons for the readers to feel sympathetic ... This is a proper page-turner and where it veers from Rendell and James is in the tone, which isn’t constantly dark. Disinhibited Laura can be very funny, sometimes even intentionally ...The twists are many and the first, which comes early on, made me laugh out loud. I could almost hear a laughing Hawkins saying: 'Got you.'
Hawkins deftly spools out [her characters'] stories, expertly maneuvering suspenseful twists and turns as the characters' flaws and motives are exposed ... Hawkins...takes seemingly ordinary characters and peers deeply into their complicated lives, skillfully building tension and keeping readers guessing.
... riveting ... the poignant Irene...is a marvel of creation. Readers will witness courage and ingenuity where it is least expected, satisfying revenge where none was thought possible, and salvation that is painfully long overdue ... this book puts her on a par with the supreme Ruth Rendell. Packed with OMG moments, this novel may be slow burning, but it’s a scorcher nonetheless.