Abby Williams is heading home. After ten years away, college, law school, and having set herself up as an environmental lawyer in Chicago with her own life, she is heading back to where it all started for her: the small town of Barrens, Indiana. Her hometown does not hold happy memories for her. Her mother died when she was young, and her father raised her with a strictness that bordered on cruelty. She was bullied at school by a group of mean girls led by her former best friend, and the isolation was unbearable. She'd had to leave.
Now she has to come back. The chemical conglomeration that first came to town when she was in high school, Optimal, has grown since Abby's days in Barrens. Now it's not just a major employer in the small town, it offers the town community buildings and scholarships. But Abby knows that there is something sinister going on. When her former high school friend had gotten sick, Abby knew that Optimal had something to do with it. Now she has the education to figure out what happened and the legal expertise to make Optimal open their books. But will she be able to figure out the true source of the evil and stop it before it can stop her in her tracks?
Krysten Ritter, better known as the actress from Jessica Jones, Breaking Bad, and Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, has written a debut novel that is smart, compelling, and engaging. Although the girl going home to her small town to right old wrongs story has been played out before, Ritter manages to make it interesting, and the story keeps you moving forward, keeps you wondering just what is happening in Barrens, and keeps you cheering on Abby, who may be smart but just can't see.
Bonfire is a fun read, a thriller that can stand up to most of what's out there. It moves well throughout, and I highly recommend this one for anyone who is a fan of griplit, especially of Gillian Flynn. I felt a kinship there in the storytelling style. Krysten Ritter has written a fiery book of deception and secrets, and I can't wait to read her follow-up to Bonfire.
Galleys for Bonfire were provided by Crown Publishing through NetGalley.com, with many thanks.