What Fire Brings: A Thriller by Rachel Howzell Hall

What Fire Brings: A Thriller is the first story I’ve read by Rachel Howzell Hall, I received an advanced copy of this suspenseful mystery and enjoyed every page.

The way the story began, I expected hairpin turns that would make me lose sleep because I wanted to see how it ended. I liked how Howzell crafted the mystery with an edgy undertone about two mystery writers with the same name. Sistah Girls, you will find this strange connection in the timeline intriguing.

Bailey Meadows is a writer tasked with finding her missing friend. Bailey eventually becomes a part of a plot twist in renowned author Jack Beckham’s newly expected release.

The backdrop for the story was Topanga Canyon in California, a well-known area hotbed for widespread fires in that region. Bailey was sent to the remote resort as an undercover writer to find her missing friend, who was last associated with author Jack Beckham when she served as his intern.

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What Fire Brings reminds readers that the renowned writer is the son of the famous author of the same name, Beckham. Something about that distinction piqued my interest. The story sometimes deviates to steer readers away from the real villain and cast suspicions on other characters.

For example, the security officer with the outdated car always popped up everywhere in the story. The older Black man was my initial suspect as the one connected to Bailey’s friend’s disappearance.

As the story builds, we learn that other women are missing, and their last known location connects Jack Beckham as a suspect. Jack Beckhams, the father and son, had lost their wives in the story. They too were missing, and for unknown reasons that seemed coincidental rather than incidental. The homeless people living in the woods in this wealthy and remote area also appeared out of place and threw me for a loop.

While reading I repeatedly asked, “Who is Jack Beckham?”

Hall took great interest in giving readers plots to focus on and places to look for suspects. The plot misdirection often had me backtracking to ensure I got the hints. The undertaking for the story had a good premise. However, my investment in the story’s flow was piqued as characters filled spaces that prolonged the inevitable conclusion.

What I liked most about the storyline was the theme’s misdirection and the descriptive tones in Hall’s writing style. Throughout the story, I was trying to determine who Jack Beckham was… a friend or foe? Bailey Meadows frequently second-guessed her actions, but her actions became more apparent towards the end. 

This story has enough mystery to be suspenseful and hold readers’ attention. Overall, this was a good storyline with an exciting plot twist at the end.

Sistah Girls Book Club



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