A Slow Fire Burning

Riverhead. Aug. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780735211230. $28. SUSPENSE
After Daniel Sutherland is brutally stabbed to death on a houseboat in London, five people find their lives entangled and scrutinized as the police seek out his killer. Laura, who still suffers from the effects of a childhood car accident, had a recent one-night stand with the victim. Theo is an aging author still in love with his ex-wife Carla, who is Daniel’s aunt. Irene is a widowed older woman living on her own, still missing her husband and now freshly mourning the loss of her next-door neighbor and best friend Angela, who was Daniel’s mother. Miriam lives on the houseboat next to Daniel’s and was the one to find him. She also has a history with Theo, whom she has accused of stealing her unpublished memoir for his own crime novel. Hawkins deftly spools out their stories, expertly maneuvering suspenseful twists and turns as the characters’ flaws and motives are exposed.
VERDICT Hawkins (The Girl on the Train; Into the Water) returns with another novel of psychological suspense, sure to top best-seller lists. She takes seemingly ordinary characters and peers deeply into their complicated lives, skillfully building tension and keeping readers guessing.
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