Welcome to Alternative-Read.com
Today we are really pleased to welcome bestselling author, Mary Burton!
Burn You Twice by Mary Burton is suspenseful with a heated plot. Fire is front and center in this book whose main antagonist is an arsonist. An added feature of the plot is how Burton gives glimpses and insight into the deranged mind of an arsonist. This psychological thriller intermingles a slight romance with family, fire, mistakes, and second chances.
Readers quickly learn that ten years ago, college student Joan Mason and her best friend, Ann Bailey, were rescued from a fire that destroyed the house they shared in Missoula, Montana. A fellow student, Elijah Weston, was subsequently tried and convicted of the crime, though he professed his innocence. Shaken, she fled the small collegiate Montana town, leaving behind friends and never looked back. Now a Philadelphia homicide detective, Joan’s trying to put her traumas to rest.
Ten years have passed, and Elijah Weston is out of prison and returning to Missoula. Gut instinct tells Joan he’ll strike again. To stop him, she returns to Montana. She now must face not only the man she fears, but Detective Gideon Bailey, the man she loved and left behind. Staying with her friend and former roommate Ann, Joan finds Ann is separated from Clarke, her firefighter husband and is living at her parents’ ranch with their son Nate.
Shortly after Joan’s arrival and Elijah’s’ release from prison, an arson fire destroys the Beau- T- Shop. There is a fatality with one of the stylists inside. Joan vows to find the culprit, which requires her to examine her past and relive the terrifying night she nearly died. The investigation draws Joan and Gideon together, but it also sends them down a dangerous path, into a troubling history that Joan, Gideon, Clark, Elijah, and Ann all share. All are determined to find the arsonist before other buildings go up in flames.
The plot has scorching action. The twists and turns keep the reader on the edge of their seat as they will not want to put the novel down.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?
Mary Burton: I have been a big fan of the Writer’s Police Academy, having gone to about ten of them. I went to a class there taught by a retired ATF agent who talked about arsonists. As we were getting into the case files, I started to think about a story that included the psychology behind it.
EC: You delve into the mind of an arsonist?
MB: They get a rush from seeing the destruction of a fire and have complex psychological reasons. Some of the reasons they do it can include financial, revenge, and something deeply personal. They experience the thrill, control, power, and danger. Since everybody is a creature of habit some arsonists can have their favorite technique on how they set a fire. It is very creepy.
EC: At the end of every chapter is the confessions of an arsonist?
MB: I want the reader to get a sense of what the arsonist is thinking. This is a guy tracking his own thoughts and activity. I am looking to create the scary factor.
EC: How would you describe Joan?
MB: She is an interesting gal who grew up rough. She came together for me pretty quickly and drove the story for me. She came to Montana to start fresh, to re-invent herself. All of a sudden, she nearly dies in a fire and realizes there are no safe places, so she goes back to her hometown of Philadelphia. She becomes obsessed with stopping arsonists since she knows first-hand the destructive power. Joan will not let her fear stop her from getting the arsonist. What makes it interesting is that she is terrified of fire but is determined to run toward it. Joan has made it a specialty to figure out their pattern and to stop them. Overall, she is stubborn, bold, guarded, and direct.
EC: How would you describe Elijah?
MB: Readers have to decide for themselves if he is a bad guy, or he is misunderstood and was framed. He is very intelligent, likes to set goals, is intense, can be charming, funny, and calculating.
EC: How would you describe Ann?
MB: Intelligent, quiet, soft-spoken, determined, and worries constantly.
EC: How would you describe Gideon?
MB: A steady as you go guy. Cautious, determined, a cowboy-Montana type, who is not afraid of much.
EC: What is the relationship between Gideon and Joan like?
MB: Both had hurt feelings. Joan because two months after she left, she finds out he got a girlfriend pregnant and married her. She had the attitude “he did not even let the pillow get cold.” Gideon because he was madly in love with Joan and when she went back to Philadelphia it threw him for a loop. Now they are trying to figure each other out and have a tendency to initiate low sarcastic blows.
EC: Obviously, fire plays a big role in the story?
MB: It is like a character, a living thing. It moves through rooms with speed, makes noise, and its smoke changes color. A jolt of oxygen can make it angry and that is when things blow up, almost like it was provoked. I remember five years ago, at another Writer’s Police Academy how they set fire to a building. I saw how quickly the fire consumed it. After ten minutes the whole thing was consumed.
EC: Can you give a heads up about your next book?
MB: There will be a follow up book to this one. It is titled Near You and comes out in the spring of 2021. The story will feature Ann and will explore Elijah’s personality. There will also be a Montana State policeman. The plot has someone killing women connected to Elijah and has Ann having to deal with him and her demons. If there is more to say and the characters are compelling enough there might be another book after this one.
In October there will be a book set in Texas, unrelated to these characters. The plot is still forming in my head, but I will say I like independent and challenging female detectives.
Fire can destroy the past. It can also uncover secrets in this novel of searing suspense by New York Times best-selling author Mary Burton.
Ten years ago as an undergrad, Joan Mason escaped an arsonist’s fire. Shaken, she fled the small collegiate Montana town, leaving behind friends and not looking back. Now a Philadelphia homicide detective, Joan’s trying to put her traumas to rest. It’s not easy. Elijah Weston, the classmate who torched her house, is out of prison and returning to Missoula. Gut instinct tells Joan he’ll strike again. To stop him, she must return to the past as well. To face not only the man she fears but Detective Gideon Bailey, too. The man she loved and left behind.
When a local woman dies tragically in another fire, it can’t be a coincidence. Can it be Elijah? He has a solid alibi for the night of the blaze. Reunited by the tragedy, Joan and Gideon have their doubts. So does Gideon’s sister, Ann – Joan’s old college roommate.
The investigation draws Joan and Gideon together, but it also sends them down a dangerous path – into a troubling history that Joan, Elijah, and Ann all share. As more lives go up in flames in Missoula, this town’s secrets are just beginning to rise from the ashes.