2015 Book #110 – Smoke by Catherine McKenzie

41gqky7Ud9LTitle: Smoke
Author: Catherine McKenzie
Date finished: 10/22/15
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Pages in book: 351
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

From the internationally bestselling author Catherine McKenzie comes an evocative tale of two women navigating the secrets and lies at the heart of a wildfire threatening their town.
After a decade-long career combating wildfires, Elizabeth has traded in her former life for a quieter one 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 a fire 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 has 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.

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Elizabeth Martin, an ex-firefighter who as the story opens we learn is planning to get a divorce from her husband, Ben. Elizabeth used to be friends with Mindy Mitchell but they had a falling out about a year ago. Anyways, there is a fire within the town of Nelson, where they both live, and its spreading through the forest area in/surrounding the town I believe. Elizabeth used to be an arson investigator and she now works for the local police department so she is called in to investigate the fire. Since she has been fighting fires for 10 years as well, she knows a lot of the people called in to help control the situation. Unfortunately there is no rain on the horizon and the fires are spreading like… well like wildfire. Elizabeth ends up having to figure out what is important to her while she is drawn back into the fire-fighting world.
On the other end of the spectrum, Mindy is trying to figure out what’s been up with her oldest son lately. He’s been acting weird and she thinks he might be sneaking out at night but can’t seem to find a way to prove it. Mindy feels awful for the man who lost his house in the fire and wants to do something to help, so she has the upcoming fundraiser divert their funds from the high school hockey team to this man who lost his home and everything else in the fire. Then Elizabeth discovers the fire started in this man’s fire pit outside his house, and the twists and turns start coming as we journey through the days following the start of the fire while staff try to contain it and put it out and Elizabeth tries to figure out who is behind all of this.
Overall I am not 100% sure how I felt about this book (which doesn’t usually happen for me). There were some parts of it that I really liked and that made me not want to put the book down but I had some trouble getting into the book until I was about halfway through. Also, one of my biggest book peeves is when we get a hint of something that seems like its going to be an issue and then that item is never followed up on, maybe in the interest of time or the author just forgot about it, I don’t know. That whole thing with the teacher named Elizabeth and how Ben never mentioned her and what not, I felt like that was leading somewhere. At the very least I felt like that should have been a discussion item, seeing as how Ben was all bent out of shape that Elizabeth was friends with Andy but Ben is friends with this Stephanie girl and never even mentions her? Weird. Also Elizabeth makes some vague mentions of something that happened between Kate and her husband but we never find out what and that is annoying. Also Tucker (while not technically the “villain” we are looking for) is a freaking psychopath shithead and I really wanted somebody to punch him. I was kind of upset he didn’t get in any trouble really. And my final issue was with the divorce in the first place. Obviously if you’re miserable and you can’t do it anymore and you’ve tried all you can, no one can expect you to stay miserable fort he rest of your life, we all deserve to be happy. But yanking this guy around telling him you want a divorce and then you don’t, that just bothered me. Obviously he is going to be confused and hurt and distrustful, honestly what do you expect?
So as you can see I had some overall issues with this book but that’s more of a personal thing. The story line was interesting and some parts of the book kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what was going to happen next.

The bottom line: This was an ok book for me. I’m glad I read it but I’m on the fence about recommending it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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