Book Review: Mortal Fire

18 Sep

Twenty-nine-year-old, independent, and self-assured Cambridge history professor Emma D’Eresby has one obsession in life: the curious journal of a seventeenth-century Englishman, a portion of which was left to her by her late grandfather.

When an unexpected opportunity to study the journal in its entirety presents itself, Emma finds herself leaving Cambridge to take up a year-long position at a prestigious university in Maine. Anticipating a quiet year of research, Emma quickly discovers her work impeded by a range of unforeseen complications. From the start, there is the well-intentioned matchmaking of her vivacious Russian colleague, Elena Smalova, and the unexpected jailing of one of her post-graduate students. More troublesome, however, are the unsolved, brutal night attacks on women near the university and Emma’s suspicion that they might be linked to the sinister English professor, Kort Staahl. But, most diverting and disconcerting of all, is Emma’s growing attraction to the strikingly handsome Dr. Matthew Lyons, whose kind but deliberately distant demeanor puzzles her.

Suspense and dread mount when Kort begins to take a persistent and unsettling interest in Emma. What are Kort’s intentions, and what is he capable of? And the mystery surrounding Matthew only deepens when Emma discovers a link between him and the journal. What is Matthew trying to hide?

C. F. Dunn runs a school in North Kent for children with developmental disabilities, dyslexia, and other difficulties.



My Impressions:

Dr. Emma D’Eresby has come to Maine as a guest lecturer in history — history focused on the methods and motives of torture of the medieval and early modern world. She finds herself surrounded by breathtaking scenery and eager students and the unwanted attention of some of the male faculty. But Emma’s focus is on a personal journal that has been the goal of her research for years as it was for her grandfather before her. But Emma can’t get the feeling of oppression and fear out of her mind. She senses a presence watching and waiting for her. And her resolve to teach and research only, is undermined by the very handsome and very different Dr. Matthew Lynes.

C.F. Dunn has created an atmospheric mystery — the scenery, the weather, the buildings themselves add to the weight of secrets and suspense. The characters are suited to the story — you like the good guys and loathe the bad ones — and they don’t always react in predictable ways. This is the first book in the series (5 are planned), so there is quite a bit left unresolved. Not sure I can wait until 2013 for the release of book 2, Death Be Not Proud, but there is an excerpt from the book to give the reader a glimpse of just what is to come. Although not a vampire novel, the book does contain an otherworldly character that is very intriguing, and I could see fans of Twilight really liking Mortal Fire.

Overall, I really liked Mortal Fire and recommend it to readers who enjoy a suspenseful mystery with a romantic and supernatural twist.


(I received Mortal Fire from Kregel in return for an honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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