Book Review: ‘House On Fire: A Novel’ Asks The Question Who Was Driving The Car?

Leigh Huyett is a divorce lawyer and is currently on her second marriage to Pete. She has a 14 year old daughter Chrissy and twin-sons in college. Pete has a son Kip who is about to turn 18 and a younger daughter. Kip lives with them while his daughter lives with his ex. It’s Leigh and Pete’s fifth anniversary and they have gone on a trip to celebrate. Kip is in charge at home.

Kip goes to a party to celebrate with his friends getting into college and well to party. Kip has a DUI from a year ago and he drove the family truck over. He’s drinking and smoking pot and hooking up with a girl. Suddenly Chrissy shows up to tell him their parents are coming back early. He needs to get home with the truck before they do or he will be in trouble. He’s also a few minutes from his 18th birthday. Then Pete and Leigh get a call that there’s been an accident with Kip and Chrissy driving into a tree to avoid a dog. They rush to the police station and Kip is charged for driving drunk. Chrissy says she is okay.

Kip is released and they are told there will be no charges at this time. Leigh wants to take Chrissy to the hospital but she says she is okay. The next day everything changes. Chrissy has had an episode at home and is rushed to the hospital and in surgery. She dies. The funeral is held and Kip is arrested for vehicular homicide. They say Chrissy died because of the accident (there’s no proof of it) but the evidence is there that it could have happened.

This creates friction between Leigh and Pete over Kip. She tries to not blame him but she’s grieving. Then Kip tells them that he wasn’t driving that night that Chrissy was. He lied with his initial statement to protect Chrissy. Pete believes him but Leigh doesn’t and it creates problems now.

Now Kip needs to find proof and prove that he is now telling the truth. He claims there was a man that drove by and stopped that night and saw them. Finding him isn’t easy. Leigh and Pete are further apart now then ever. Leigh is heavily involved now with her job and has a case involving a pregnant woman and a wife of an ambassador. She’s blindsided with the cases and they cause her life to be put in jeopardy. And there’s also the trial starting and if she makes it out alive she has the power to try and save Kip. Will she be able to?

Author Bonnie Kistler has written a thrilling, suspenseful story with lots of twists and turns that keep the reader on the edge. Who is telling the truth? How do you grieve and still go on with the people around you especially the one that is responsible for the death of your little girl?

I believe this is her debut novel and what a novel it is! She will be a force to look out for in the years to come if she keeps putting out great novels like this.

You can pick it up in stores on Tuesday, March 12th from Atria.

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