Under The Ashes by Shirley Burton

Under The Ashes

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In  Burton’s debut thriller, the first of a planned series, an amnesiac who survived a serious car accident tries to piece his life back together—but what he knows may get him killed.

The story begins at an electrifying pace with a high-speed car chase that leaves the protagonist barely alive, his unknown passenger dead and his mysterious pursuers on the lam. Daniel Boisvert recovers from his injuries but remembers nothing prior to the moment when a train slammed into his automobile. However, he soon begins to suspect that the name he’s using, from a driver’s license found at the accident, may not be his own—particularly after a woman named Rachel recognizes him as a man named Thomas York. The two start looking into Daniel’s and Thomas’ lives and discover a shady law firm with a very well-paid lawyer. Burton keeps it simple where it counts, such as calling the main character “Daniel” throughout, but also revels in delightfully convoluted plot turns, as when Daniel attends a Boisvert family reunion to look for clues to his identity. Some plot developments are a bit too convenient, such as Daniel deciding he can trust Rachel with his life before he even learns about their past relationship; at another point, Daniel finds evidence that’s excessively, and perhaps implausibly, incriminating. That said, the author’s intriguing characters stand out: David Sanderson, the firm’s evil attorney who’s not above getting his own hands dirty; Lt. Jamieson, a levelheaded cop investigating Daniel’s case; and a mysterious person leaving cryptic messages for Daniel in newspapers. The book ends just as it begins—in a page-turning frenzy.

A meritorious debut and a sound starting point for a new thriller series.

Pub Date: May 24th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0991953103
Page count: 284pp
Publisher: High Street Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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