Friday, August 23, 2019

A Killing Fire by Faye Snowden: Review


A KILLING FIRE is a page turner that I am so glad to have had an opportunity to read. Snowden takes a unique and darker twist with detective Raven Burns. Not only is she fighting to establish her place with respect in a small town police department, she is also fighting set perceptions of her as the only daughter and suspected accomplice of an infamous serial killer Floyd 'FIRE' Burns who earned his nickname in a brutal and personal way. Added to all of that stress and residual trauma, Raven is also being visited by the specter of her executed father whose legacy and proclivities she is terrified of having inherited. Floyd is the devil in her ear encouraging her to do whatever is necessary to protect herself at all costs. 

Raven Burns is probably one of the most emotionally damaged characters that I have come across. Snowden does a really good job making her a sympathetic character without making her pitiable. Raven is strong and courageous but is capable of making some really unfortunate decisions. There were several instances where I wanted to hold my breath while silently hoping that she wouldn't do that stupid thing that was obviously going to happen and I still wanted to groan when it did. Raven's inability to fully trust made her ripe for unnecessary mistakes and decisions that made her life harder both professionally and personally. 

I enjoyed pretty much everything about A KILLING FIRE. The characters and their backgrounds, the way the story unfolded, and even the opaque ending. I can't actually tell if this is going to be a series or a stand alone story because of the ending. I would love for this to be a series so that I can follow Raven's struggles to figure out who she is, what she wants to be, how hard she is willing to fight to get there, and where she eventually lands. However, I can also see where this could be a satisfying stand alone because a story ending on what is basically a fade to black ellipses like dangling end can also be good even though it left with a 'GAH' what the hell happened?! As always, I admit and embrace that I am a greedy reader when it comes to stories that I enjoy-it is what it is y'all. I am very much looking forward to reading whatever Snowden delivers next. 


***I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.***


 The first time Raven Burns saw her father kill, the victim was her mother. Afterwards, Floyd "FIRE" Burns set the house on fire, making Raven watch as the flames slithered across the yard like some unknowable language. Then he took her on a multi-state killing spree. She could've told or killed him in his sleep. But there were his constant whispers, his wet lips close to her ear saying that little girls who told were sent to hell, and their mothers were called down from heaven to take care of them.

By the time he is executed, Raven has become a cop with the sole purpose of putting men like him away. But she can't escape Floyd's terrorizing voice in her head, somehow guiding her steps while reminding her of the horrors he had forced her to witness. And she can't escape the questions that continue to haunt her: Did witnessing make her complicit? Had the same evil that lived in her father taken residence in her soul?

The town of Byrd's Landing, Louisiana appears to have made up its mind. The community accepts that Raven had nothing to do with Floyd's crimes. But when Raven shoots a teenager who points what turns out to be an unloaded weapon at her, stories about Floyd resurface. The whispers begin. No voice is louder than wealthy socialite Hazel Westcott. When Westcott turns up dead in the backyard of her Big Bayou Lake estate, the doubting voices reach a deafening crescendo, and the ghosts of her past rise up to greet her. To catch Westcott's killer, Raven must come to terms once and for all with who she is. And who she is not.

About the Author

(Photo & Bio via Goodreads)

Faye Snowden is the author of three published mysteries with Kensington— Spiral of Guilt (1999), The Savior (2003, 2004) and Fatal Justice (2005, 2006). She has published short stories and poems in various literary journals and small presses including The African American Review, Calliope, Red Ochre Lit, Bay Area Poets Coalition and Occam’s Razor. A new book, A Killing Fire (Flame Tree Press) will make its debut in August, 2019.

Although born in San Fernando, California, she was uprooted while young to a place where supposedly people had swamps in their backyards and alligators for pets. She didn’t have any pet alligators in Shreveport, Louisiana, but an amazing, resourceful single mother raised the family of six in a shotgun house. And she had a cat named Blue.

At eighteen, Faye left Louisiana to join the Navy. The Navy gave her an opportunity to spend some time living in Naples, Italy and on both US coasts—Washington, DC and northern California. After the Navy, she went to work as an information technology professional in various industries while on her way to a masters in English literature.

Aside from her publications, she also managed two boys, a husband, five dogs and three writing fellowships following those years. Today, Faye works and writes from her home in Northern California. 

Where To Find Her


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