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Quick take

"A well-plotted mystery with a self-reliant yet flawed heroine that delivers an intense, satisfying payoff."

Why I love it

Mean girls, long-buried secrets, and unanswered questions are at the center of this fantastic debut thriller from Krysten Ritter. Yes, that Krysten Ritter. The actress/producer—known most recently for her portrayal of Jessica Jones on Netflix—has penned a compelling page-turner that is sure to please fans of Gillian Flynn and Megan Abbott.

As a successful environmental lawyer in Chicago, Abby Williams is living the dream, but then a case she is working on requires her to return to the small town she fled ten years earlier in order to investigate the town’s biggest employer. No sooner does Abby get to town does she quickly realize she still has a lot of issues lurking in her past, starting with her former best friend Kaycee, the head of a Heathers-esque clique who made high school hell for her. Kaycee became mysteriously ill at the end of her senior year, and then disappeared around graduation. When Abby delves deeper, she learns the truth about Kaycee is a lot more sinister and the corruption more far-reaching than she ever imagined.

Bonfire is exactly what I want from a thriller: a well-plotted mystery with a self-reliant yet flawed heroine that delivers an intense, satisfying payoff. It’s like Sharp Objects meets The Fever. While deftly unwinding the central mystery, Ritter also portrays the claustrophobia and lack of privacy that comes with growing up in a small town. And she captures the apprehension of returning to a place that made us miserable, yet being drawn to it like a missing puzzle piece we need to find.

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Synopsis

From actress, producer, and writer Krysten Ritter, a gripping, tightly wound suspense novel about a woman forced to confront her past in the wake of small-town corruption.

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small-town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’s biggest scandal from more than a decade ago, involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as she tries desperately to find out what really happened to Kaycee, troubling memories begin to resurface and she begins to doubt her own observations. And when she unearths an even more disturbing secret—ritual called "The Game"—it will threaten reputations, and lives, in the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.

With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote rural town of just five claustrophobic square miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of what happens when your past and present collide.

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Preview

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    November 2017
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