Review: The Burning Air by Erin Kelly


Rating: *** / 3 out of 5
Genres: Adult, Psychological, Realistic Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Published February 21, 2013 by Pamela Dorman Books
Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did. It was a lapse of judgement. If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late.

The MacBrides have always gone to Far Barn in Devon for Bonfire Night, but this year everything is different. Lydia, the matriarch, is dead; Sophie, the eldest daughter, is desperately trying to repair a crumbling marriage; and Felix, the youngest of the family, has brought a girlfriend with him for the first time.

The girl, Kerry, seems odd in a way nobody can quite put their finger on – but when they leave her looking after Sophie’s baby daughter, and return to find both Kerry and the baby gone, they are forced to ask themselves if they have allowed a cuckoo into their nest…


An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.

Upon further consideration, I think this book, for me, is more of a 3.5 than a 4. It’s still not bad, though, especially since I kind of enjoyed this novel (which I initially thought was a book about a dysfunctional family). I think what set it apart from other mystery thrillers was the way the story was portrayed and played out; we got to see the events unfold in the eyes of four characters, giving us not only a sneak peek into the psyches of the individuals, but also a chance to see the various angles and versions of the story. That, I believe, was the book’s strongest point: the painting of the bigger picture by laying out the deceit, betrayal, confusion, and misunderstandings piece by piece, POV after POV. I honestly thought it was a nice touch overall, and it successfully created a chilling atmosphere perfect for a thriller with a killer.

I do think, however, that there were times it felt dragging, especially during Darcy’s POV. We’re given great and overwhelming details of his early life, and his transformation: from being a socially inept person into someone successful in order to get back to his detractors… or so he thinks anyway. I couldn’t help but skim a few pages every now and then, skipping the long narrative of his plans to do this, his plans to do that… etc. etc. I skimmed a huge chunk of Rowan’s part as well, and I still got the story anyway without missing anything vital. I definitely think this could have been shorter.

However, even though it was sometimes tedious, I think it was able to surprise the reader of its twists efficiently. I mean, I was given the huge spoiler of who the current Darcy was early in the book, but it was only later that I connected the dots, with a matching, “What the fuck, it was him?!?!” Hah, and to think I pick up on these stuff easily. So, I’d like to applaud the author for that. Ahh, the beauty of multiple POVS done right!

All in all, I think it was a decent read. I’d recommend this to those who’d like to consume something with an amazing narrative (as long as you don’t get easily overwhelmed, as I did) and with an even more spectacular mystery. It’s my first from Erin Kelly, but it definitely won’t be my last.

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A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena


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  1. says

    Great review, chickie! i don’t think this is one Ive seen before. I don’t often do well with slow pacing in books but I do kind of like how this was told in several POVs with the mystery being slowly unwoven. These are often my favorite types of books in the genre!

    • FayeFaye says

      Thank you, Giselle! I agree; they’re actually pretty cool. It really gives the story a lot more depth!

  2. nurmawati djuhawan says

    great review…sounds an interesting story but the book prize is very expensive…USD 20.43..
    oh my…