I jumped at the chance to read the new book by Paula Hawkins, this is Paula Hawkins after all, author of The Girl on the Train. I had previously plunged into Into the Water as soon as it was released.
I’m beginning to think that Paula Hawkins may have created a massive problem for herself with the brilliance of her debut book. You see, Hawkins is a really good author, she creates incredible, flawed characters. Her plot lines challenge that old expression that the truth is stranger than fiction. But as a reader I want the same intensity of The Girl on the Train, which may be a once in a lifetime kind of magic.
A Slow Fire Burning has a terrific ensemble cast. The web of connections between the characters is so entangled, it all unbelievably makes sense. Hawkins is a master of dialogue and internal thoughts; each character is an individual, no two are alike. She filled her mystery/thriller with some fabulous snarky one-liners dripping in sarcasm. This was perfect for lightening up the mood when necessary.
In the end, my Hawkins’ bar was set a bit too high; the author just didn’t fulfill my expectations. I think that the story may have lacked the focus of a protagonist; A Slow Fire Burning split these duties amongst several characters. I missed having a focal point.