A mystifying, suspenseful, and entertaining read…
Sinister conspiracies, corruption, romance, and murder mark Smith’s second installment in her near-future thriller series. What begins as an escape from the traumatic memories of her father’s prolonged illness and death turns into weekend gateways at the 40 acres of inherited land parcel by the Firebrand River for Mira. But when strange green algae take over the water, Mira knows something is amiss. The discovery of human bones brings Detective Walt on the site. As Walt begins to dig into the case, he finds a link between the newly discovered bones and the old disappearance of two missing people. Smith makes good use of usual genre elements of speculative fiction, including conspiracy, environmental catastrophes, murder, romance, and action. It takes time to get into the story, but once it catches momentum, it never slows down. Memories of Miles’s traumatic childhood and of his mother’s agonizing search for his father surface in shattering flashbacks. Friendship, love, hope, and longing pervade intertwined mini storylines as Walt and Miles try to get to the bottom of the case. Themes of climate change, environmental crisis, corporate conspiracies and fraud, corruption, friendship, love, trust, and betrayal are woven skillfully into the main storyline. Mira is a relatable heroine whose strength is putting her trust in her relationships as well as her own instincts. Her struggles with her father’s illness lead her to learn an important truth: sometimes, the best way to honor the memory of a loved one is by moving forward. Readers will eagerly wait for the next one in the series.
The Firebrand River
First Look Publishing (Austin)
Pub date August 23, 2022
ISBN 979-8985498301 Price $11.99 (USD) Paperback, $4.99 Kindle edition