© 2016 by Catherine Bilson

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Book Review: Burning Meredith by Elizabeth Gunn

June 10, 2018

Burning Meredith tells the fictional story of the Meredith Mountain fire, one of the biggest in Montana history. Young reporter Stuart Campbell makes a name for himself while embedded with the firefighters, documenting the battle with words and amazing photographs. In the aftermath of the fire, a body is found up on the mountain, a body nobody wants to claim. Stuart and his aunt Alice, an editor at the local newspaper, find themselves investigating as much as reporting as the townspeople clamor for information.

 

The first few chapters, reporting on the fire, read rather like a docu-drama and was really rather interesting; I learned quite a bit about forest-fire fighting from it. After the fire was over was when the book seemed to flounder a bit, though. Part of the problem was that there was never a clearly defined protagonist, and hence no clearly defined antagonist either. At least one person who had done something seriously awful (possession of child porn) wasn’t in any trouble by the end of the book, the murder victim and the killer turned out to be minor characters nobody cared much about… it read very much like small-town drama someone was trying to blow up out of all proportion, and frankly I found it a bit of a yawn. Stuart and Alice, the two people we got to know well enough to care about, were never in any sort of danger, and the end of the book came as a complete anti-climax, lots of loose ends left floating about. With no indication that this is a first in series, I can only conclude those ends will remain forever unresolved.

 

While this started well, I finished it distinctly dissatisfied. And WHY is the Kindle edition over $20? Seriously, I wouldn’t pay that for ANY ebook.

 

Two stars.

Burning Meredith is available now.

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.

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