I'm excited today to feature Mary DeMuth's "A Slow Burn." Here's the back cover copy before I share my review:
She touched Daisy’s shoulder. So cold. So hard. So unlike Daisy.
Yet so much like herself it made Emory shudder.
Burying her grief, Emory Chance is determined to find her daughter Daisy’s murderer—a man she saw in a flicker of a vision. But when the investigation hits every dead end, her despair escalates. As questions surrounding Daisy’s death continue to mount, Emory’s safety is shattered by the pursuit of a stranger, and she can’t shake the sickening fear that her own choices contributed to Daisy’s disappearance. Will she ever experience the peace her heart longs.
The second book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, this suspenseful novel is about courageous love, the burden of regret, and bonds that never break. It is about the beauty and the pain of telling the truth. Most of all, it is about the power of forgiveness and what remains when shame no longer holds us captive.
And now my review:
In her acknowledgements, Mary mentions being challenged to “dig deeper” in the telling of this tale. As you read, you see her doing just that. The depths of one woman’s despair after the disappearance of her only daughter is haunting, poignant. (See book one—“Daisy Chain”—the precursor to “A Slow Burn.”) You watch her fall again and again, desperate for relief from her burdens of guilt. I have not lived the life of Mary’s heroine, have not experienced the same hardships or made the same mistakes, still I found myself asking personal questions of the woman in the mirror. Questions about leaving regrets untended or loving those around me 100%. Questions I could not answer like I’d like.
Isn’t that what great fiction does? Makes you ask those deeper questions. Takes you someplace emotionally heartbreaking to offer you hope in the midst of your analysis. Mary’s contrast of good versus evil, of despair versus hope, of death versus life will have your mind munching as you read, but also after you finish. This was the strength of the first book, a power which continues through this second book.
And whether you appreciate the inner journey her books take you on or not, there is one sure thing: you won’t be able to put the book(s) down. Mary’s prose, pacing and mysteries keep you reading. Longing for book three.
I can’t fail to mention her symbolism—the setting of “Defiance, Texas,” the hero’s placing his coat over the heroine, pursuing her and loving the unlovable, protecting her—loved how all these items (and more) increased my enjoyment of this read.
Readers: on October 23, Mary will appear on Seriously Write, a blog I co-host with Dawn Kinzer. Come have a look. She's going to share her "success story" in writing.