Book Review: A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

August 19, 2021 in Mystery & Thriller

AD • I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post also contains affiliate links. Affiliate links are marked with a (*). When you purchase an item through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, please read my Disclosure.

It’s Thriller Thursday! The perfect day of the week to talk about all things mystery and thriller books. And that’s good because today I wanted to share my review of one of this year’s most anticipated releases. It’s a book that you’ll be seeing EVERYWHERE over the next few months. That’s right, it’s A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins!

I was extremely lucky with this one. The book went on NetGalley as a ‘Wish For It’ title and I was randomly chosen to be granted an ARC. Naturally, I devoured it immediately. But I thought I would hold off on sharing my review until a little closer to the release date. It’s less than 2 weeks off now so the perfect time to talk about an upcoming release. So without any further ado, here’s what I thought of A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins!

Many thanks to Transworld and NetGalley for the advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

A Slow Fire Burning
by Paula Hawkins

Publisher: Transworld
Date of Publication: 31st August 2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Format: eBook (308 pages)
Rating: ★★★★

Buy on*


”What is wrong with you?”

Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She”s seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous.

Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn”t mean she”s a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace?

Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill.

Look what you started.

Content Warnings (SPOILERS)

  • Death and murder (including some gore)
  • Injury including mention of blood
  • Animal death/cruelty
  • Child death
  • Grief

Book Review

Sometimes when an author has had a huge success with a previous book, it can be hard not to compare the titles with each other. Fortunately, that is not the case with A Slow Fire Burning. It was so different from The Girl on the Train in every aspect that I think it would be a disservice to compare the two.

A Slow Fire Burning is an engrossing and captivating read with shocking twists. I read this book over a weekend and couldn’t put it down. It kept me on my toes. I literally had no idea what to expect as the big reveal until much later on when the pieces started to click into place. There were also a few moments that made me gasp out loud which is a testament to how deeply I’d fallen into Hawkins’ world.

Most of the characters were largely unlikeable and untrustworthy but I felt empathy towards them as they’ve all had more than their fair share of trauma. I felt that character development was one of the strongest points here. Everyone was fleshed out and believable with their own strengths, flaws and blind spots. It was also great to see that everyone had their own dark side – what they were willing to do and under which circumstances they were willing to do it.

With that said, I did feel very warmly towards Irene. She was such a strong character for me even though she was a secondary character. I loved that she was a safe space for vulnerable people around her and that she proved, time and time again, to be a force to be reckoned with even in her old age.

Overall, I think this was a fantastic thriller with a lot of depth to it. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a compulsive thriller with unreliable characters, unclear motives and a whole lot of tension.

Will you be picking up A Slow Fire Burning? Let me know in the comments.

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