Widow’s Flame by Australian author Jess McFarlane is a stunningly stylish dose of America’s Wild West crime fiction. It’s filled with action and adventure and a touch of romance.
Blair Ryan has grieved for 3 years for her husband, Thomas, who was murdered by an outlaw gang in America. Her life is pointless and the only company she keeps is a bottle to see her through the pain of grief.
As the years pass, Blair wants justice and with no help from the sherriff solving the crime she finds Colin McCarthy. He’s a fighter nicknamed “The American Outlaw” and thought to be the best in the business. He agrees to help her, despite his suspicions that everything is not as it seems.
The duo starts the hunt for Thomas’ killer across states and townships uncovering strange circumstances and buried secrets as they progress. Can they uncover the truth before the unthinkable happens?
Widow’s Flame is fast-paced and full of action. Jess planned and executed a unique and complex plot brilliantly. I was glued to the pages from the start and loved the storyline development, it has all the elements that make a story impossible to put down. She does a tremendous job of keeping you guessing as to the identity of the murderer.
I loved the cast of characters; everyone has a legitimate role to play, and their motives and actions always felt genuine. Jess gave sensitivity to her characters which made the story come to life and give it authenticity.
Colin McCarthy is a man with his own story, and I loved getting to know him. “The American Outlaw” showed strength in his talent – with drive and charisma. He was aggressive and dedicated in the pursuit of results.
Blair is a character who isn’t afraid to follow her inner instincts, and it is this facet of her personality that makes her such a compelling protagonist. She is determined to solve the mystery and catch the killer, but she didn’t bargain with what she would face along the way. I loved her feisty, determined character and could not believe she would go to such lengths to seek justice for the death of her husband.
The description of the landscape was spectacular, the mountains, the trails, the desert. I had visions of it in my head too so it almost took on a role of a character
Jess McFarlane has a captivating writing style that is sharp and electric filled with suspense and unpredictability. There was not a wasted word in sight and the narrative doesn’t leave room for fluff. All this in a debut novel has left me eagerly waiting for her next one.
This novel was utter enjoyment, and I highly recommend it.
Thank you, Beauty and Lace and Shawline Publishing for the opportunity to read and review.
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading Widow’s Flame by Jess McFarlane. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.
My love of books started at a very young age. My mum has always been a reader and encouraged me to read, buying me endless book from classic fairy tales advancing to the world of Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Kathryn Kenny, Carolyn Keene, Francine Pascal. In my adult years the list of authors is endless and every room in my house is filled with books.
One of my favourite novels is Narnia which has always has a special place in my heart. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1978 and when I was given this book to read it let me escape to another world where I felt like I was in the book with all the characters, it wasfun and exciting to escape from reality and eased the ups and downs of the disease at such a young age.
In books nothing is impossible and there is endless potential and hundreds of places to explore or being taken to places that are only made up from the authors’ great minds, the past and future to navigate, characters lives you step into taking you on an emotional rollercoaster ride or being scared out of your wits. I can experience things that I can’t in real life because they’re not possible or real. It challenges my perspective and mindset expanding my worldview.
I find joy, comfort and peace with books, many people may not get it, but I know bookworms like me truly understand. Reading makes my heart happy.