Cat Latimer is holding the second week of her writers’ retreat in Aspen Hills in the Victorian house Colorado she inherited from her ex-husband, Michael in Fatality by Firelight by Lynn Cahoon. While at the ski lodge, she spots Christina, one of her writers, with Tommy Neal, but the man neglects to tell her that he is engaged. Despite a warning from Cat against Tommy, Christina leaves the group to go with him, only to flee from him soon after when she learns that Tommy’s only idea is sex, and Christina is dedicated to the belief of waiting until marriage. A little later someone finds Tommy in the hot tub of the hotel room he rented, stabbed in the stomach. As Christina was the last person to see Tommy alive, she faces suspicion as the murderer.
A day later, Cat goes walking in town and gets run over by a man exiting the coffee shop and gets saved by a handsome man who takes her into the coffee shop to treat her to coffee. When describing the incident to her Uncle Pete, police chief of Aspen Hills, Cat learns that Dante Cornelio is a major mob figure. Even more shocking to her is learning the fact that Covington College, where Cat went to school and taught a few years, is a place where mob members send their children. As Dante begins to pursue Cat, Seth, Cat’s boyfriend, gets concerned that Cat might have a stalker, and the group of writers face even greater danger.
Fatality by Firelight has a compelling plot that gripped me from the start. With the murder’s taking place at the beginning of the book, we get drawn in to the plot, and the addition of the mob details adds even more effectively to the plot. The series also has a running mystery of what Michael, Cat’s ex-husband, had been up to before what Cat has recently learned was his unnatural death. We learn a lot more about his actions, but the book leaves us without a solution. Those familiar with my reviews will know that I have a big issue with books that contain cliffhangers, seeing them as manupulating readers into getting the next book. However, this book didn’t make me feel manipulated. It leaves off at a point in the investigation into Michael’s death where I was left curious but not unsatisfied.
The characters that appeared in the previous book continue with similar traits, but other than Christina, the guests do not have the same details as in the prior book. In that book, we really connected to each person in the book, but this book seems to rely on our knowledge of the main characters from the first book and doesn’t do as much to depict the characters as vividly as before.
One thing I really liked about this book was the details about writing, research, and the publication process. Cat makes a point to force herself herself write every day, giving herself a word limit, a detail that published writers express as necessary. It reminds me of a meme I’ve seen that states, “I write when I’m inspired. And I make a point to be inspired at 9:00 every morning.” Good writers rely largely on perspiration as well as inspiration. We also see the writers going to the college library to do research for their books, but Cat also expresses concern that one fiction writer has been doing too much research and not actual writing, which the character calls “the research twilight zone.” Cat also talks about the importance of having a complete and polished book before trying to query an agent or a publisher.
C.S.E. Cooney performs the audiobook effectively. I don’t know that the performance was especially memorable, but it was still enjoyable.
I really did enjoy Fatality by Firelight. The plot kept me attached to the book and did a lot to help me stay distracted from my migraine, which was really severe at the time. I give this book five stars!
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