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Fiction Suspense

A Slow Fire Burning

by (author) Paula Hawkins

read by Rosamund Pike

Doubleday Canada
Initial publish date
Aug 2021
Suspense, Literary, Contemporary Women
  • CD-Audio

    Publish Date
    Aug 2021
    List Price

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Years ago someone lit a match...

Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She's seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous.

Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes doesn't mean Laura is a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one and no thing: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace?

Innocent or guilty, everyone is carrying damage. Some are damaged enough to kill.

Look what you started.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

PAULA HAWKINS worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction. She is the author of two #1 New York Times bestselling novels, Into The Water and The Girl on The Train. An international #1 bestseller, The Girl on the Train has sold over 20 million copies worldwide and has been adapted into a major motion picture. Hawkins was born in Zimbabwe and now lives in London.

Editorial Reviews


NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2021 BY Marie Claire • Amazon • NPR
"A Slow Fire Burning is a hugely satisfying, brilliantly crafted novel about the entanglement of betrayal and retaliation, the damage of loss, and how tragedy reverberates in ways we can never expect. Wickedly dark and gorgeously written, this is a novel you'll be thinking about long after the last delicious pages. Paula Hawkins is masterful." —Ashley Audrain, #1 bestselling author of The Push
"With a beautifully wrought cast of characters who are real and likeable even when they are complicated and flawed, a fantastic, picturesque London setting, twists and turns galore and exquisite prose, this is a high class read. Paula Hawkins is a genius." —Lisa Jewell, New York Times bestselling author of The Family Upstairs
"The flaws of each character will surprise and perhaps even enchant you—and only a clairvoyant could anticipate the book's ending."The New York Times Book Review
"Paula Hawkins returns to the fertile ground of twisty murder mysteries with A Slow Fire Burning. . . . It's a satisfying whodunit that will keep you guessing until the very end."Vogue
"I love Paula Hawkins, and this is why―A Slow Fire Burning twists and turns like a great thriller should, but it's also deep, intelligent and intensely human . . . the characters are just like people you know . . . or maybe even just like you yourself. Hawkins is proving herself a worthy 21st century heir to Barbara Vine and Patricia Highsmith." —Lee Child

"The unreliable narrator is a hallmark of many a thriller, but this book is a master class in not knowing who to believe. . . . Paula Hawkins' universe weaves together memory, imagination, wishful thinking and delusion to create a painful yet propulsive murder mystery in which no one comes out with their hands completely clean." —NPR

"Shocking, moving, full of heart. . . . Laced with humour and packed with moments of sheer horror, A Slow Fire Burning shows a writer at the height of her powers." London Observer
"Fast-paced, highly charged and carried off with so much confidence that it is impossible to resist." Sunday Times
"An intriguing, unputdownable thriller that is as much about the compelling, damaged characters as it is about the intricate plot." The Bookseller
"Paula Hawkins's plotting is meticulous. A Slow Fire Burning is a clever onion of a book, expertly peeled." —Belinda Bauer, author of Snap

"[A Slow Fire Burning] is indeed a page-turner. You want to find out who did it and Hawkins reveals just enough to keep readers guessing. . . . To say much more would be to spoil the fun. . . . This one [simmers] like a good curry, layered with spices . . . leaving readers sated at the end." Toronto Star
"[Paula Hawkins's] latest novel is better still: shocking, moving, full of heart—a deeply layered and intricately plotted thriller that explores how ordinary people can turn to murder. . . . Laced with humour and packed with moments of sheer horror, A Slow Fire Burning shows a writer at the height of her powers."The Guardian

"A Slow Fire Burning is a classic whodunit that unfolds the mystery until the very last page." USA Today

"Sure to set the literary world on fire." Good Morning America

"This thrilling whodunnit barely lets you breathe as it barrels toward a shocking ending." Good Housekeeping
"Paula Hawkins is the queen of keeping us on the edge of our seats. . . . It's the thriller of the summer." —HelloGiggles

"The Girl on the Train author returns with a dark, intricate tale of three women tied to a bloody murder on a London houseboat. You'll be gobsmacked by the end." People

"If you're looking for a page-turner, this one is it." Apartment Therapy

"Readers will witness courage and ingenuity where it is least expected, satisfying revenge where none was thought possible, and salvation that is painfully long overdue. Lee Child calls Hawkins an 'intensely human' writer, and this book puts her on a par with the supreme Ruth Rendell. Packed with OMG moments, this novel may be slow burning, but it's a scorcher nonetheless." Booklist (starred review)

"Hawkins deftly spools out [her characters'] stories, expertly maneuvering suspenseful twists and turns as the characters' flaws and motives are exposed. . . . [Hawkins] takes seemingly ordinary characters and peers deeply into their complicated lives, skillfully building tension and keeping readers guessing." Library Journal

"Paula Hawkins's newest thriller A Slow Fire Burning follows the same highly engaging page-turning format as her previous hit The Girl on the Train, but this book is much, much more sinister, suspenseful, and downright jaw-dropping in all the right ways. . . . This novel is a whole new level of psychological terror. Deliciously dark and dangerously unsettlingly, A Slow Fire Burning will give you chills with every chapter. . . . A chilling story that'll leave you with more questions than answers, [it] gives the term "thriller" a whole new meaning. With unexpected characters, unforeseen consequences, and unusual connections, Hawkins's new book is a bloody masterpiece that's darker than it appears. . . . An absolute page-turner." PopSugar

"Another mystery that will have your pulse racing and fingers itching to turn the page to discover the big twist." E!

"[Hawkins's] third novel lives up to its predecessors in every way. . . . Superbly told, its twists and turns reveal the slow fire burning inside each which might just destroy them. Utterly compelling." Daily Mail

"Get ready for your next big thrill ride. . . . Filled with plot twists, [A Slow Fire Burning] promises to keep you guessing until the very end." —CNN

"A creeping psychological thriller about entanglement and strained family relations that spiral into viciousness. . . . Hawkins submerges readers into the troubled lives of her leading ladies. . . . Hawkins shapes the three women's stories in a way that brings their simmering fears and grief to the surface."AV Club

"A Slow Fire Burning is a treat: utterly readable, moving in parts and saturated with the kind of localised detail that made The Girl on the Train so compelling. . . . A return to form; a London book from an excellent writer on London, and a tender portrait of characters that stay in the mind long after you've finished reading."The Guardian

"A gripping page-turner [with] compellingly unpredictable characters." The Star Tribune

"Four years after her last novel, Paula Hawkins is back with a riveting new mystery. . . . Filled with unpredictable twists and turns, this compulsively readable thriller will keep you guessing until the final page." —BookRiot

"From the author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water comes another read-it-in-one-night thriller. . . . [A Slow Fire Burning] proves that revenge is actually a dish best served hot, simmering and smoldering." Town & Country

"The master of the sophisticated psychological thriller is back with the addictive A Slow Fire Burning . . . [a] lurching, turning, weaving, winding whodunnit. Hawkins has created an exquisite sense of place. Pacey, each short chapter flips between the points of view of three central characters . . . bestowed with such carefully crafted and unspeakably tragic back stories. . . . Intricately interwoven plots and subplots, propulsive twists and a neat finale . . . A Slow Fire Burning is a deliciously easy psycho drama to hungrily tear through." Evening Standard

"An entertaining murder mystery slash character study." —PureWow

"Expect another tense, suspenseful and wholly surprising thriller. Yes, it's grisly, but it's the perfect holiday read: you won't be able to put it down. Three women are united by a brutal murder. With twists at every turn, it's a race to find out who was at the wrong place at the wrong time—and who is willing to kill." The Irish News
"From the first sentence to the last, this explosive, startling novel grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go." —Kate Mosse

"Gripping and intriguing, I loved every moment." —S J Watson

"Dark and disturbing, this twisted story with its cast of damaged characters builds to a brilliant conclusion. This one will stay with you for a long time." —Shari Lapena

"Paula Hawkins at her best." —Renee Knight

"A nuanced picture of the female psyche. . . . A cleverly crafted whodunit beginning with a brutal killing, A Slow Fire Burning revolves around an interconnected cast of damaged individuals. . . . Satisfyingly, Hawkins' new characters refuse to be intimidated by authority, finding ways to be resourceful and aggressive instead of becoming compliant." —The Conversation

"Be prepared for flawed and unreliable narrators that will keep you guessing until the last pages. It's a book that manipulates the reader's sympathies, underlining how easily we can be convinced of a character's innocence or guilt based on flimsy premises. This is a cerebral mystery that will pull you in and leave you thinking about it long after you're done reading." —BookRiot

"An unflinching look at the damage sparked by grief, loss and betrayal—and the revenge and retribution that ensues. Compelling and intricately plotted, it was its flawed and utterly credible women, and the warmth and wit of their irreverent voices, that I loved the most." —Sarah Vaughan, author of Anatomy of a Scandal

"A new Paula Hawkins novel is always a cause for celebration. Her books have all the pleasing twists of the noir genre while at the same time having something to say that feels real and complex and true—her women characters feel like someone you actually know." —Louise Doughty, author of Apple Tree Yard
"A Slow Fire Burning is a hugely gripping, character-based thriller, with great writing and brilliant twists. Highly recommended." —John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas