Book Reviews

Six Degrees of Separation: The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper


The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire by Chloe Hooper

Australian thriller The Arsonist is this month’s starting point. You can click the link above to read the publisher’s blurb or click here to read the review by Six Degrees hostess, Books Are My Favorite and Best.

My first thought–I want to read this book!! It instantly brought to mind a few books, which was very helpful so I didn’t just go off into similar title-land.

1. Columbine by Dave Cullen


From the sound of The Arsonist, I imagine it would be gripping–the way true crime should be. There should be false leads, random rabbitt trails, heroic personalities as well as unsung heros. That first-and-foremost brought to mine Dave Cullen’s intensley readable investigation into the horrific Columbine shooting.

2. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver


I couldn’t list Columbine without it’s equally horrific fictional twin–We Need to Talk About Kevin. This time the weapon of choice is a bow and arrow. Never mind. Just as awful as are many of the details in the story.

3. Devil in the White City by Erik Lorson


The third book that came instantly to mind was about the Chicago Columbia Exhibition of 1893 and the murder Daniel Burnham and sick-o pharmacists H.H. Holmes. I found this book “too much” for me and didn’t finish it–the only one of Larson’s to have that effect on me.

4. East of Eden by John Steinbeck


This book gave me actual nightmares so I had to quit reading it. I hated that–it was THAT well written, but I couldn’t deal with Cathy Ames a minute longer! The writing made me see why Steinbeck is regarded as so great. Sadly, The Grapes of Wrath being force-fed in high school left me wondering how he could be seen as so superb!

5. Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford


The World’s Fair ties this one to Devil in the White City [The Columbia Exhibition was a World’s Fair] and prostitution ties it to East of Eden. Also like Devil in the White City, this is my least favorite of Ford’s marvelous books (it is excellent–the story just didn’t appeal to me as much).

6. Riven by Jerry B. Jenkins


This story, of a young offender, shows how lives can change for the better when a sincere Christian reaches out. This books ties to Love and Other Consolation Prizes because the Christian involved in Ernest’s life was self-serving and judgemental. I was asked to read this book by a young offender who saw himself in the story.

Sadly, the Arsonist brought another wildfire, started almost as stupidly, to mind: The gender reveal stunt that sparked the Arizona wildfire in 2018.


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