Burning Air by Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is one of my favourite authors. I frst met her a couple of years ago when she was tutoring at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. She is an excellent tutor and wrote one of my favourite novels, The Poison Tree, which is reveiwed on this site at https://bookreviewstoday.info/2016/10/11/the-poison-tree-by-erin-kelly/ as is her novel, The Ties That Bind https://bookreviewstoday.info/2016/04/17/the-ties-that-bind-by-erin-kelly/, so I was really excited when Burning Air came to the top of my ‘to be read’ pile.
The novel centre around the MacBride family. Lydia, the matriarch of the family has recently died, but the family decide to go ahead with their traditional visit to Devon for bonfire night at the beginning of November. Lydia’s death leaves a pall over the trip and her widower, Rowan, is drinking himself into a stupor. The family is in meltdown, with eldest daughter Sophie watching her marriage crumble, while mixed-race grandson Jake has the police breathing down his neck. There is one ray of optimism: Felix, Sophie’s brother, has brought along his beautiful new girlfriend Kerry, who charms the unhappy family. She appears to be a natural babysitter, and Sophie leaves her baby daughter in her care.
When Sophie returns to the property, both Kerry and the baby disappear. Sophie is beside herself, panicking wildly wondering whether Kerry has taken the baby or whether both she and the baby have been abducted. This is every parent’s worst nightmare.
However, I found the final revelation in Burning Air a touch underwhelming. This will not deter me from reading more novels by Erin Kelly as she has proved herself in other novels to be among the most accomplished and pin-sharp of writers at work in the crime genre. In truth, this novel is well worth reading, because, even if Burning Air is not Erin Kelly’s best novel, it is only because the others are magnificent.