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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
A Fiery Murder by Debra Ison is a suspenseful crime novel with strong characters and an interesting plot. Sam and Sarah Richards are living in Serendipity Farm in Central Kentucky — a perfect escape from the corporate life in Chicago — while awaiting the birth of their first child and it is here, with the help of Mac Osborne, that they start an equine therapy program for foster children. Justin, one of the teens in the program, catches their attention in a particular way. Justin has lost both his parents — his father missing in Afghanistan and his mother killed in a car crash. A series of arson attacks that results in death sweeps through the community and Justin is accused by a witness. While he is arrested and kept in a detention facility, Sam and Sarah believe in his innocence. And while they look for evidence to prove his innocence, the arsonist is planning something more sinister.
Debra Ison writes in prose that is captivating and features very interesting characters. From the beginning, the reader is acquainted with a nameless arsonist, a character who walks under cover of night with a backpack and sets a house on fire. I was intrigued to find out who this character was and the description would later fit the young Justin, a device in the writing that creates suspense and sows seeds of doubt in the minds of readers. The key characters are an interesting couple settled in a rural environment, a life they seem to enjoy because of the quiet and the rhythm that contrasts with Sam’s corporate life. The conflict is well-established — a youngster they have become fond of is accused and arrested for a crime they believe he never committed. The reader wants to find out who the real arsonist and murderer is and wonders as they turn from page to page if Justin will be freed. A Fiery Murder is deftly plotted and beautifully written. The characters are real and readers quickly learn to like them. An example of excellent writing craft and hugely entertaining.