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.
I’m a fan of the actress Rosamund Pike since I saw her in her role as Amy in Gone Girl and now she’s also one of my favorite narrators, if not my most favorite one so far! I give 5 stars for the narration of this novel and 3.5 to 4 stars for the plot. There were plenty of characters in this novel and thanks to the brilliant narration each character had its clear own voice. The narration was delivered with a lot of intonation as well and I loved how Pike shouted and sang and cried quite convincingly throughout the novel, I wasn’t bored for a second. I’m convinced that being an actress is a big advantage for the narration of audiobooks.
The whole plot revolves around a numerous cast of people living close together, Laura, Carla, Miriam, Irene and Theo and their involvement in each other’s lives and in the lives of Angela and her son Daniel, the two characters who ended up dead not long apart from each other. Miriam’s narrowboat was positioned next to Daniel Sutherland’s boat so she had a good view who came and went and she saw Laura on the fatal day. Does this mean that Laura stabbed him to death? Laura is a bit of a clumsy girl, she was a victim in a hit and run accident when she was young and faces many difficulties every day which results in sudden bursts of angry behaviour. She’s 25 and often does shopping for Irene, the old lady living next door to Daniel’s mother Angela, who in turn was the sister of Carla. Miriam feels a kinship to Laura because she was a victim too as a student when she was lured into a desolate house which she only narrowly escaped. Intermittent with the general story there’s also snippets of a book called ‘The One Who Got Away’ which was fascinating to listen to although it didn’t feel as if it blended in exactly with the rest of story. After a while though it did became clear that there’s an issue that arose with its publication which also plays an important part in the story.
The author certainly took on a lot, I think you get the gist that this was not a simple story but a complex one with connections between the many different characters. I found it hard to distinguish Irene and Miriam’s story right away but with the building of their histories and lives they soon became two very different people in my mind too. I have to say that after a while I was so caught up in the tragedies of their lives (Carla and Theo lost their little boy for example) that I didn’t miss that there wasn’t a lot of progress happening in finding out who killed Daniel. It’s only in the third and last part of the novel that the big mystery received all the attention and after a few twists and turns and some red herrings, the mystery came to a satisfying conclusion.
In essence: A Slow Fire Burning is a complex family drama and it was fulfilling to discover how the puzzle pieces of the deaths finally fit together.