House on Fire by Bonnie Kistler

March 12, 2019

Divorce lawyer Leigh Huyett knows all too well that most second marriages are doomed to fail. But five years in, she and Pete Conley have a perfectly blended family of her children and his. To celebrate their anniversary, they grab some precious moments of alone time and leave Pete’s son Kip, a high school senior, in charge of Leigh’s fourteen-year-old daughter Chrissy at their home.

Driving back on a rainy Friday night, their cell phones start ringing. After a raucous party celebrating his college acceptance to Duke and his upcoming birthday, Kip was arrested for drunk driving after his truck crashed into a tree. And he wasn’t alone—Chrissy was with him.

Twelve hours later, Chrissy is dead and Kip is charged with manslaughter.

Kip has always been a notorious troublemaker, but he’s also a star student with a dazzling future ahead of him. At first, Leigh does her best to rally behind Pete and help Kip through his ordeal. Until he changes his story, and claims that he wasn’t driving after all—Chrissy was, and he swears there is a witness.

Leigh is stunned that he would lie about such a thing, while Pete clutches onto the story as the last, best hope to save his son, throwing his energy and money into finding this elusive witness. As they hurtle toward Kip’s trial date, husband and wife are torn between loyalty to their children and to each other, while the mystery of what really happened that night intensifies.

This richly conceived and tightly plotted psychological exploration of family and tragedy will have you racing toward its shocking and thought-provoking conclusion.


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*** 2 Star Review ***


I was so excited to read this domestic thriller. The book's description paints what one would hope to be a thrilling ride of a family torn apart by tragedy. I am just sitting here shaking my head...


I am going to be blunt. I am shocked that a publisher allowed such a disorganized, extra book like this. Extra as in, extra subplots that completely ruined what could have been a wonderful read. 


If one were to take out all of the extra subplots in this book, fixed the ending to replace those subplots, and this book would have been a huge winner for me. I still don't understand what the point was in adding things that were so over the top and distracting from the main plot. Those things definitely didn't make this a more interesting read.


I loved the main characters. Their struggles with what happened and what is currently happening are so great. They are raw and real. Their story alone is what kept me from not finishing this book. I wanted to see if they would be able to mend their broken family.


I can't even think of a person I would recommend this book to. I know that sounds harsh, but it's the truth. I would feel guilty if I weren't anything but honest.

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