November 4, 2015

Smoke. Catherine McKenzie

book cover
Catherine Mckenzie
Published: Lake Union
Date: October 2015
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 351
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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After a decade-long career combating wildfires, Elizabeth has traded in for a quieter life with her husband. Now she works as the local arson investigator in a beautiful, quaint town in the Rockies. But that tranquil life vanishes when she and her husband agree to divorce, and when a fire started in nearby Cooper Basin begins to spread rapidly. For Elizabeth, containing a raging wildfire is easier than accepting that her marriage has failed.

For Elizabeth’s ex-friend Mindy, who feels disconnected from her husband and teenage children, the fire represents a chance to find a new purpose: helping a man who lost his home to the blaze. But her faith is shattered by a shocking accusation.

As the encroaching inferno threatens the town’s residents, Elizabeth and Mindy must discover what will be lost in the fire, and what will be saved.

My thoughts banner
Smoke by Catherine McKenzie was a riveting read, that contained mystery, family and friendship drama and the terrifying experience of an out of control fire surrounding a town.

When we meet Elizabeth she is at odds with her husband Ben. They are about to begin pursuing a divorce, although what has caused the rift is not revealed at the beginning. It takes time to gather up all the facts and miscommunications and break down in trust.  One of the heartbreaks that they have had is up until now their inability to have children.

Mindy was Elizabeth's very good friend up until about a year ago when there was a distinct break to their friendship. The hurt thrust them apart and has never mended. Mindy is the mother of two, Carrie and Angus. In the last year Angus has been more distant in his relationships with his family and Mindy worries about him.

A fire has burned down John Phillip's house, it has grown and swept into the surrounding hills and bush. Who started the fire? About half way through I'd picked my person - but I was wrong!

Tension in the relationships, along with the mystery of the fire and the emotions of the characters kept me reading on. Can there be any hope for these people or will distrust and hurt and being unable to forgive win?

This was my first book by Catherine McKenzie but it won't be my last!

4.5 stars


  1. Riveting hey ... sold, it's going on my list. Still haven't read anything by Catherine McKenzie even though she's been recommended many times. I actually have one of hers on my kindle, can't remember which one but it's older. Great review Kathryn!

  2. You've sold me on this book as well. :) Pinning it to my TBR.

  3. I am so intrigued by this book, and I haven't read anything by this author before. I'm glad to know you enjoyed it - great review!

  4. I am seeing this book in all kinds of places. I loved your thoughtful review.

  5. I do like finding new authors :D

  6. I am a big fan of her books, and I also loved Smoke. I like books that surprise me, and this one revealed just enough at just the right time. Great review!

  7. Great review Kathryn. I love the premise!

  8. I have this one on my list of TBR. After your wonderful review, I am going to move it closer to the top!

  9. heh i love books like these that keep you guessing, great review

  10. This has my name written all over it! Hope to get to it soon.

  11. Oo this is the first time I've seen her. That really does sound good.


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