Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Like most people, I came to this book through the auspices of Krysten Ritter, actor. Her performances in various TV shows have long since labeled me a fan. Add to that I like a good mystery novel and this seemed like something at least worth a try.
It was. And more.
Granted, this is a first novel and so has a couple of false starts over-simplifications, but in general, it’s a solid B+ effort, at times veering into A- territory.
The plot, of a local girl who got out and now must return to lay old ghosts to rest, isn’t anything new or groundbreaking but what Ritter does with it is solid. She builds real, three-dimensional characters with motivations and consequences (at least her main character is. Some of the supports are just that, supports, with no real weight of their own but exist to service our heroine) and her mystery is clever, but telegraphed too far out so it’s not hard to catch out the bad guys pretty quickly.
But you know, so what? The reason we read is for enjoyment and this book delivers that. More than anything, it’s fun. The heroine is flawed but likable. You want her to succeed despite herself. Ritter paints a nice picture of small-town America. one which doesn’t romanticize the inevitable corporate takeover but at the same time doesn’t talk down to the residents who are still holding on to those values. She makes few editorial judgment calls, preferring, instead to let her descriptions and story-telling do the heavy lifting.
So yeah, I recommend it. And I look forward to the next book Ritter writes.