From actress, producer, and writer, Krysten Ritter, a psychological suspense novel about a woman forced to confront her past in the wake of small-town corruption

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game,” which will threaten the reputations, and lives, of the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.

With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote, rural town of just five claustrophobic miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of the question, can you ever outrun your past?

Krysten Ritter wrote a novel and the whole world just stopped in awe.

I may be a bit biased because I think she’s amazing; she is the epitome of a Renaissance Woman. Admittedly when I first found out she wrote a book I was a bit nervous to read it because it’s so easy for established celebrities to get stuff published since the industry knows people in general will buy it based on the name and not whether it’s actually any good. Of course there are those who actually turn out to be good writers but then there are those who should have stuck to acting.

I’m completely in love with Jessica Jones, what if this sucked? Could I ever watch her the same way again?

I owe her a debt of gratitude though for not sucking as a writer so I can happily watch her in The Defenders this August. Ritter has shown she’s capable of creating her own dialogue instead of just voicing someone else’s. Her novel starts off strong and at first it reminded me a lot of the Erin Brockovich movie where you have this strong female lead hell bent on discovering what a powerful corporation is hiding and if there’s a connection between their alleged misdeeds and the community issues. Honestly as good as her writing was I was feeling a little disappointed that we were just getting recycled material under a different company name, different job for the female lead and different community issues but I quickly regathered my faith in her as I realized Ritter is definitely above using old material and threw some major curves into her story and characters.

When you realize what’s happening it is so far worse and deeply entrenched than what others have done before her. She is a very descriptive writer as you’re able to not only picture the settings but you can see how these people would react, what they’d feel and how it would look as they see their misdeeds get dragged into the light. I liked how she wrote Abby because at times, like when you can feel how uncomfortable she is returning home to a place she never felt like she belonged, you can almost see Ritter’s character of Jones come through with her tough girl / I don’t want to be here persona.

I actually wondered more than once if Ritter pulled on her past characters from Jones, Apartment, Veronica Mars, etc to create the people for her story because at times it felt like whether it was Abby or the bitches from high school they all had aspects of the people she’s played.

Her debut isn’t flawless as sometimes it seems like Abby’s drinking gets in the way of the story, the villain is given the cliché rambling speech and I felt like there were still a few loose ends that didn’t quite tie together but overall the positives outweighed the negatives so I would definitely put this in the win column.

If she writes again I’ll check that book out without reservation, not because she’s Krysten Ritter, but because she’s proved she deserves it.

Thank you to Netgalley and Crown Archetype for allowing me to review this book.


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*synopsis and pic from

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