The Wildfire Girl
June 10, 2024

Book Review

The Wildfire Girl

reviewed by Pam Guynn

Carolyn Arnold continues to bring suspense, solid police investigation, action, and intense moments in her latest book The Wildfire Girl. It’s the eleventh book in the police procedural and crime thriller featuring Detective Amanda Steele and her partner Detective Trent Stenson. The setting takes place in and around Woodbridge in Prince William County, Virginia.

Human remains have been discovered behind a dumpster in an alley. Amanda and Trent are called to the scene. Upon arrival, they smell gasoline and a burned victim. Trent recognizes the surviving gold wedding band. It belongs to his Aunt Gertrude’s husband, Don. While he’s convinced she isn’t involved, her troubled relationship with Don and her lies make Amanda question Gertrude’s innocence and Trent’s ability to stay impartial.

Amanda doesn’t get much down time and has zero hobbies. She hates being idle and feels guilt and regret while trying to balance her family and work lives. She’s resilient and has an internal compulsion to find answers and obtain closure for the victims’ loved ones. She is strong-willed, independent, and the drive for justice fuels her. Amanda’s flaws and struggles make her seem realistic. Trent is loyal, funny, and always has Amanda’s back. He’s also resilient and has a strong ethical code. However, in this case, he struggles between his commitment to the victim and his personal connection to a suspect.

Once again, a dark and chilling prologue that grabs readers’ attention is followed by the arrival of police at a seemingly unrelated crime scene. How does the prologue fit into the story? As the case progresses, the novel builds suspense that takes readers to an action-filled conclusion. At the same time, Amanda’s struggle to balance work and family is highlighted as well as Trent’s conflicted emotions regarding his aunt.

The descriptive narrative is written in a style that draws you in and rapidly keeps you turning the pages. With several suspects, a twist or two, some action scenes, and well-developed characters, readers of police procedurals and crime thrillers will likely embrace this series. My biggest quibble about this book is that the relationship triangle that has been evident for a long time is not yet fully resolved. I thought this book would provide the definitive answer. While the answers are closer, it’s not yet been fully resolved.

Overall, this novel is engaging, entertaining, and a solid police procedural. I can’t wait to find out what is next for Amanda and Trent. This series is best read in order to fully understand the backstories of the main characters.

Bookouture and Carolyn Arnold provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own. Publication date is currently set for June 20, 2024.


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