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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Watch It Burn

Narrators: Megan Tusing, Hillary Huber, Jennifer Sun Bell, Chris Andrew Ciulla Harlequin Audio

ISBN: 9780778369691

Publisher: MIRA

Publication Date: 03/12/2024

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

“A great new voice in suspense.”

—J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of It's One of Us

Three women work to uncover the scorching lies and scandal behind a self-help movement, igniting a powder keg of secrets that could blow their town apart, in this suspense novel perfect for readers who love Southern mystery.

It’s early morning in the small Texas town of Edenberg when the body of sixty-five-year-old Beverly Hoffman is discovered in the Guadalupe River—drowned in only two inches of water.

After elementary school teacher Nichole Miller discovers the woman's body, she makes two phone calls: first to the police, who call Beverly's death a slip and fall, and second to her best friend, journalist Jenny Martin. Jenny is attempting to revive her flailing marriage and her all-but-DOA career, and she knows foul play when she sees it. The two women enlist the help of Beverly’s daughter-in-law, Robin, who’s eager to expose the truth.

Beverly had been beloved in the tight-knit community, having cofounded the wildly popular personal-development company Genetive, Inc., alongside her influential husband. But something sinister has been smoldering beneath the surface of their picturesque hometown. And Genetive is at the center of it all.

My Review

Kristen Bird returns following I Love It When You Lie with her latest sizzler, WATCH IT BURN — Something sinister is happening in this picturesque Texas town. If you read the author's last book, you know to prepare for a wild ride!

Only one person knew how long the fire had been burning before the first call to 911 came through, but she would never tell. Nine minutes and 27 seconds later, three fire trucks laden with hoses and brave men arrived.

By dawn, every place of business and historical home in the center of Main Street would be cradled in ash, mourning the markers of lives well lived.

Set in the Southern small Texas town of Edenberg, the body of sixty-seven-year-old Beverly Hoffman is discovered in the Guadalupe River—drowned in only two inches of water. This could not have been an accident.

Nichole Miller discovers the body and calls the police and her best friend, Jenny a journalist. Jenny and Nicole seek the help of Beverly's daughter-in-law, Robin, who wants the truth exposed. They do not think this was an accident. Robin knows this about this empire—from lies, secrets, and manipulation. How will they prove their suspicions?

Beverly co-founded the popular Genetive, Inc., a development company with her husband (a man who controls the town). But something sinister has been smoldering beneath the surface of their hometown, and Genetive is at its center.

Told from POVs: Nichole, Jenny (journalist), and Beverly. Beverly's voice was the best as we get an inside view from the dead as she knows the truth.

So there is a death and a fire. Are the two connected?

WATCH IT BURN is a twisty, scandalous Southern mystery where three fearless women work together to solve the mystery and uncover the secrets behind a woman's death. There is also a self-help movement (cult-like vibe).

The author explores death, grief, trauma, small-town politics, and a cult with a dominating, dangerous man who controls everything. A slow burn to set up the characters at the beginning of the novel, and then the three women attend a weekend retreat to the private Genetive compound—from here, the pace picks up inside the compound with riveting suspense.

This is a dark tale about the underbelly of suburbia, with a sinister mix of family trauma, greed, politics, manipulation, evil, loss, grief, toxic teachings, power, and devastating secrets in this small Texas town. There are coverups and secrets, with metaphors of water and fire, as three women tackle their losses while attempting to expose the corruption.

The author knows Southern women and tackles toxic behavior in this self-help group, which is gripping, thought-provoking, timely, and atmospheric. It has a twist of crime fiction and revenge, with well-developed characters. Cannot wait to see what comes next!

Thanks to MIRA, the author, and NetGalley for a gifted ARC for an honest opinion.

I am excited to listen to the audiobook (pre-ordered) with a cast of favorite narrators: Megan Tusing, Hillary Huber, Jennifer Sun Bell, and Chris Andrew Ciulla.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: March 12, 2024

My Rating: 5 Stars


“Readers can count on author Bird to write a twisty tale about the dark side of suburban perfection. Recommend to fans of authors Kimberly McCreight and Freida McFadden."


"Kristen Bird expertly weaves together a sinister mix of family trauma, community politics, and a sketchy cult-like self-development movement in this addictive thriller that revolves around a mysterious death in a small Texas town and an explosion of devastating secrets that will leave you gasping. Every chapter of Watch It Burn masterfully challenges what you think you know as it propels you to its chilling end."

—Darby Kane, internationally bestselling author of Pretty Little Wife and The Engagement Party

"A master at weaving tales of strong Southern women and sticky atmosphere, Kristen Bird is back with her darkest book yet. Watch It Burn is an enthralling look at how toxic ideologies can impact families and communities in a way that will haunt you for days after reading."

—Olivia Day, host of Thrillers by the Bookclub Pod

"NXIVM meets Southern suspense in Watch It Burn, a propulsive dive into a self-help group with disturbing secrets and a growing hold over a small Texas town. Gripping, timely, and ominous, this one is not to be missed."

—Allison Buccola, author of Catch Her When She Falls

"Something’s not right in Edenberg. Beneath the rosy surface of progress and prosperity in this tiny Texas town are secrets, coverups, and manipulation. Three women, each enduring their own loss, take on the town’s benefactor in this fast-paced thriller where the dangers of unquestioned power are exposed through water and fire."

—Jennifer Fawcett, author of Beneath the Stairs

"Atmospheric suspense at its best, this utterly enthralling page-turner explores the long-smoldering secrets and shady self-help company at the core of a small Texas town, and the three complicated women who could burn it all to the ground. As thought-provoking as it is compulsively readable."

—Heather Chavez, author of Before She Finds Me

"A joy to read! Kristen Bird's eloquence with language and her deep understanding of power, control, and small-town greed fuel this sinister, smoldering, and gorgeously structured mystery. Watch It Burn is the essence of terrific crime fiction: with authentic motivation, a cinematic setting, characters we can root for, and a gasp-worthy heartbreaking conclusion. Kristen Bird is an amazing talent, and Watch It Burn is not to be missed!"

—Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA TODAY bestselling author of The House Guest

"Kristen Bird’s Watch it Burn is a scorching tale of revenge and an unflinching look at what women will do when pushed to their limits. Bird has a pitch-perfect ear for the rhythms of Southern life, but be warned, these women are no steel magnolias. They’re raw, real, and mad as hell, and I would follow them anywhere."

—Polly Stewart, author of The Good Ones

"Both thrilling and incendiary, Watch It Burn is exactly the kind of smart, fast-paced thriller that keeps me up late at night. Plenty of twists to keep you guessing and three bright women at its center—determined to protect their town and each other—the latest by Kristen Bird is a masterful story that will stay with you long after the last page is turned.”

—Danielle Girard, USA TODAY bestselling author of Up Close

“I devoured Kristen Bird’s latest, riveting suspense in one sitting! With intricate plotting, lush, visceral prose, and richly-layered characters, Watch It Burn is a skewering, incendiary examination of a small-town’s darkest, most explosive secrets.”

—May Cobb, author of A Likeable Woman

"Southern scandal and a small town punctured by violence, Watch It Burn is fast-paced crime fiction at its absolute finest."

—Chandler Baker, New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Network

About the Author

Kristen has lived coast to coast, but with her extended family in north Alabama, her roots run southern deep. She teaches high school English and writes in local coffee shops near her home outside of Houston. In her free time, she likes to visit parks with her three children, watch quirky films with her husband, and attempt to keep pace with her rescue lab-mix.

Growing up, Kristen lived in Virginia, Alabama, California, Oregon, and Texas. She wrote plays and short stories for anyone who would read them and eventually graduated college with a double major in Music and Journalism. A few years later, she earned a Masters in Literature and for her creative thesis wrote her first full-length novel, which she happily keeps unpublished.

As a teacher, she enjoys finding creative pairings of the classic canon and modern texts, and she promotes choice reading in her classroom. She also likes to tell other writers, including her students over the past fifteen years, the importance of extensive revisions as well as the necessity of grit—in the writing process and in everyday life.

Kristen is the oldest of four children and is grateful to see her parents and brother and sisters, nieces and nephews often. Her husband is a musician and a worship director for a church near their home, and her children are amateur bakers, awesome artists, and inquisitive thinkers who love to cuddle up and read together. WEBSITE

Thanks to Bess Garison for photography.







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