Title: The Burning Air
Author: Erin Kelly
Source: Advance copy from publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: February 21, 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5
The MacBrides lead a cozy life of upper class privilege: good looks (more or less), a beautiful home, tuition-free education at the prestigious private school where Rowan is headmaster, an altruistic righteousness inherited from magistrate Lydia.
But when Rowan and his three grown children gather for the first time since Lydia’s passing at the family’s weekend home—a restored barn in the English countryside—years of secrets surface, and they discover a stranger in their midst. A stranger who is convinced that Lydia was a murderer. A stranger who has been exacting vengeance upon the family for years without their ever knowing. And one who will threaten the youngest MacBride, baby Edie, and the clan’s memory of Lydia, shattering their world forever.
This is a dark psychological thriller with a gripping storyline. It starts with a family gathering at their house in the country to say goodbye to Lydia, the deceased wife of Ronan and mother to Sophie, Felix and Tara. But lurking in their midst is a stranger who has deadly intentions towards this family and will not stop at anything to get his vengeance.
The book takes place in multiple time periods. At the start when the crime is committed, it shifts to the past and we read the why and how of the crime. We read from Darcy’s point of view – the student who was rejected by Ronan MacBride. Darcy’s character is dark, complicated and very damaged. It is a character that is monstrous yet believable, damaged yet endearing in some ways.
Apart from Darcy’s character, the other relationships in the the novel and intricate and well dawn out – the complicated relationships between siblings, spouses and parents are very realistic. The entire novel is very tense and there is a sense of foreboding. The most gripping thing though is Darcy’s twisted belief that he was wronged, his acts of vengeance and his complete faith in his beliefs and actions.