“Erin Kelly is a seriously good writer, and this gripping novel is her best yet.” —Sophie Hannah, author of Kind of Cruel
A stand-out author of deeply atmospheric psychological thrillers, Erin Kelly is on her way to joining the bestselling ranks of Kate Atkinson and Barbara Vine. Until now, the MacBride family has led a cozy life of upper-class privilege: good looks; tuition-free education at the prestigious private school where their father, Rowan, is headmaster; an altruistic righteousness inherited from their mother, magistrate Lydia. But when the MacBrides gather for the first time since Lydia’s passing at their restored barn in the secluded countryside, the family discovers a stranger in their midst: a stranger who is convinced that Lydia was a murderer—and who has been plotting a spectacular revenge that may shatter their world forever.
In this tension-filled suspense novel from Kelly (The Dark Rose), when the members of the MacBride family gather in Devon to scatter the ashes of wife, mother, grandmother, and magistrate Lydia, after her agonizing death from cancer, it becomes clear that all is not well. The usually sober father retired headmaster Rowan is unaccountably drunk; daughter Sophie and son-in-law Will may have reached an impasse because of an affair and a breakdown; mixed-race grandson Jake has been in trouble with the law; and disfigured son Felix has a beautiful new girlfriend whose initial silence unsettles everyone. The disappearance of baby Edie, cryptic excerpts from Lydia's diaries, and the narrative of an individual perhaps wronged by the MacBrides indicate that family secrets can have far-reaching implications. While a bigger payoff regarding Lydia and Rowan's actions would have been welcome, skillfully drawn characters and masterful building of suspense, which reaches a literally searing climax, will leave most readers well satisfied.
The Burning Air by Erin Kelley
I thought that this was a good book until it got to the crutch of matters. It started a bit slowly, but got going soon enough (before I put it down). I gave it three stars because it was indeed good, but only three because it disappointed & broke my heart somewhat.
Her point was made, but at what cost? It was her decision as an author, but too much that would have be obvious to the characters, as drawn, was ignored for it to be credible & redemptive. SMH.