Published: May 14th, 2020
Format: Kindle, Audio
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Lesbian Literature, Youth Novel
TRIGGER WARNING: Child Abuse
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Orenda for the eBook ARC.
Single-mother Fran returns to her sleepy hometown to care for her dying father when a devastating bush fire breaks out. A devastating, disaster-noir thriller from the author of The Cry.
Fran hates Ash Mountain, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.
She returns to her hometown to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer.
As old friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…
Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget…
“There’s a firestorm coming straight for Ash Mountain.”
For Fran Collins Ash Mountain is a place that holds unwanted memories and stirs a sense of anger and injustice inside her. She left as soon as she could but is now back to care for her dying father. Little has changed in the rural town where everybody knows your business and never lets you forget. But there are some dark, sinister secrets that are still waiting to be discovered….
The small, sleepy town of Ash Mountain and it’s residents are vividly brought to life in this captivating novel. From the opening chapter with its descriptions of the sky red and black with fire and the unrelenting heat, the author immerses you in Fran’s world as clearly as if you were watching it on a movie screen. I could see the fire raging towards me, feel it scorching my skin and the smoke choking my lungs. Later on, when the flames take hold and burn through the town, there are heartbreaking scenes as the residents are caught in its clutches and descriptions of charred bodies that serve as a stark reminder of the true cost of disasters such as these.
Though there are multiple narrators and the book tells the stories of many of Ash Mountain’s inhabitants, it is Fran’s story that is at the heart of the book. When we meet Fran she is in her early 40s and a single parent to sixteen-year-old Vonny. Her son Dante is now twenty-nine, the product of a scandalous one night stand when she was fifteen, and still lives in the small town. Fran is a likeable and relatable protagonist and as the story moves between multiple timelines spanning thirty years, we begin to understand why she has such venom for her hometown and many of its residents. But lurking in the shadows, there is a much darker story waiting to be unearthed. And as the tension rises, harrowing discoveries bring to light the town’s most sordid secrets.
Atmospheric, original and pulsing with tension, this was a quick and fast-paced read. It is the first time I’ve read one of Helen’s novels and I will definitely read more. Don’t miss the acknowledgments and photographer’s note at the back of the book to learn the story behind the book’s beautiful front cover.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of Dead Lovely (2007) and ten other adult and young adult thrillers, including My Last Confession (2009), The Donor (2011), The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and Viral (Out Feb 2016). Helen has worked as a criminal justice social worker for over ten years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband and two children.
CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:
BUY THE BOOK: