10/30 Book Review: Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Krysten Ritter
Pub date: November 2017

Summary via publisher

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’ 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 Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game,” which will threaten the reputations and lives of the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.

Can you ever outrun your past?

Dark and Twisty

I don’t always like thrillers, but every once in awhile, I’m in the right mood. I started this one on the flight back from BookCon and it’s the first ARC from BookCon that I chose to finish. Bonfire is a dark thriller, simultaneously concise and fuzzy. It’s not an action movie, fast andfull of explosions, but a slow build around a dark community where you never know who to trust.

Abby is believable. While she’s successful–living as a lawyer in a big city–she has plenty of hangups. She’s removed from her father and still traumatized by the claustrophobic darkness of her home town. If you’ve ever gone home and felt yourself falling into the fears and habits of your teenage years, you’ll understand Abby.


I love Ritter’s writing style. Her writing is concise without being choppy. The story is all in first person, and a lot of the interest comes from Abby’s head, from the possibility that she’s going crazy and being paranoid.

In fact, this thriller reminds me a lot of S-Town, but with more urgency and less poetry. And, of course, an actual resolution.

The Author

I don’t think this book can be fully discussed without addressing the issue of the author. I know Krysten Ritter primarily as an actress. I’ve watched her most as Jessica Jones, of course, but I’ve caught some of her other roles and I actually binge-watched Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23 after BookCon.

But at BookCon I saw her interviewed by Abraham Riesman, staff culture writer for New York Magazine/Vulture. [side note: panels should always have such good moderators/interviewers.] And I learned that Krysten does everything. In addition to being a successful actress, she runs her own production company, and is a fabulous knitter. I’m always a bit skeptical of people from other industries who decide to write, especially if they’re famous. That may not be fair, but there it is. In many cases, writing seems like a cash grab, another way to expand their brand. And I don’t like that.

But Krysten understands story, understands character, and is a quite good writer. In addition, she worked closely with Lauren Oliver and Paper Lantern Lit (now Glasstown Entertainment) to learn the craft and produce a great book.

I’m so glad Krysten Ritter wrote a book and I already can’t wait for the next one.

If you want a copy of Bonfire, preorder here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | or your favorite indie bookstore.

OR follow me on Twitter. There might be news soon. 😉

6 thoughts on “10/30 Book Review: Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

  1. Pingback: June 2017 Reading Recap | Lyse of Llyr

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