Shop now Shop Clothing clo_fly_aw15_NA_shoes Shop All Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Voyage Shop Now Shop now

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Stephanie (Stevie) Flint lives in London, where she works for a TV shopping channel and has recently started dating Dr Simon Sharkey. When he stands her up she is not particularly upset, but, after a few days, decides to visit his flat and remove the few things she has left there. What she finds is his dead body and, although it seems that he died naturally, she is not convinced. However, then Stevie suddenly becomes ill and spends several days in her flat before she recovers. Once she is able to rejoin the world, she finds it has changed forever – a pandemic is sweeping the globe and panic is everywhere. In London, the illness is known as “the Sweats” and it seems that Stevie has both caught, and recovered, from it. She is then visited by Simon’s cousin, and finds that he has left something for her which may have got him killed and put her in danger.

This entertaining novel is part a mystery, concerning Stevie’s investigation into Simon’s death and part thriller, which is the story of the pandemic. The author builds the tension well - the sickness begins with Stevie sitting next to someone ill on the tube and ends with a major crisis; curfews, unrest on the streets, abandoned cars and people dying all around her. In fact, there is so much death that even the police are not interested in the possible murder of Simon. What secrets has he left behind and will they get Stevie killed, even if the Sweats failed to end her life? Her investigation will take her through her boyfriend’s childhood, personal life and scandals in medical research, in a bid to discover the truth.

The pandemic storyline worked for me slightly better than Stevie’s desire to find out why Simon had been killed. Her feelings for him seemed tenuous at best and, towards the end of the novel, the storyline seemed to veer into the unbelievable. However, the parts of the book which dealt with London, and the world, in crisis was certainly well explored and written. I was interested enough in the plot, and with the main character of Stevie, to want to read on.

Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 17 April 2014
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've never read any of Louise Welsh's other works before but I've heard great things about her previously, so I was hugely disappointed than I didn't like this one!

To be honest it read almost like a TV episode or a movie rather than book. It seemed like it was rushing from one action scene to another, and just didn't flow properly.

The were two aspects of this book, one was a murder mystery and the other was a survivalist thriller. Both seemed completely separate, and they didn't work as one cohesive plot to seamlessly take me from start to finish. It just felt awkward, disjointed and almost like two different books.

I didn't really gel with the main character Stevie, and found her actions/ reactions quite annoying, not to mention the cringe worthy "romance" half way through that was just unnecessary and stuck out like a sore thumb.

Honestly, A Lovely Way to Burn is rather forgettable. There were no redeeming qualities that stick out in my mind, and if you were to ask me questions about it in a few months, all I'll be able to say it that I expected more from it and I won't be picking up the next two books.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2014
This is the first book I've read by Louise Welsh and I was a little disappointed, given her reputation for writing 'literary' thrillers. The characters are mostly just sketched out caricatures, with the exception of Stevie Flint - and even she feels like a fleshed-out caricature rather than a real person. It's difficult to understand Stevie's motivation for pursuing her boyfriend's killer - why would anyone do this when people are dying of plague-like symptoms all around them? Yes, the book is an entertaining page-turner, but it's one I'll pass to a charity shop.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This is the first book by this author I have read, and it is an ambitious one; the first novel in a Plague Times trilogy.

Stevie’s life revolves around her job in tv, and spending time with her boyfriend Simon. Stevie and Simon haven’t been together very long, and she doesn’t know an awful lot about him, especially as he seems to have kept parts of his private life very separate from their relationship. When Simon dies suddenly Stevie becomes aware of a bigger picture; London and the wider world is falling victim to a spreading illness, ‘the Sweats’.

This book left me in two minds, and it took me a while to work out why. Essentially, the book encompasses two stories; a big story of a world where a mysterious disease has lead to fear which has caused people to act outside their norms; and a small story where the death of one man is a mystery in itself, and one which Stevie finds herself compelled to unravel. I found the big story fascinating, but the small story not so much. I also found the character of Stevie herself a bit annoying; a slightly odd mixture in her character of naivety and brashness, and a single-mindedness blended with a strong sense of self-absorption didn’t seem to add up to an altogether convincingly rounded characterisation.

I hold out great hopes for the remaining two books in this trilogy for two reasons: firstly, I believe that there’s a whole lot more to be said on the big story, which is reason enough in itself to read more; but secondly, I’d like to believe that the small story introduced in this book is not just a filler for the big story, but is the start of a more indepth thread which is more interesting than the small story is, as it stands so far in this the first book. That may sound complicated, but I don’t want to add spoilers to the book. Suffice to say that I will be looking forward with anticipation to the other books in this series, as I definitely want to learn more about what happens overall. I hope that the journey will prove worthwhile.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 12 April 2014
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is effectively a crime thriller set against the backdrop of a deadly plague spreading through London. The heroine is Stevie, a shopping channel presenter whose surgeon boyfriend is found dead, ostensibly of natural causes. Shortly after his death Stevie makes a discovery that leads her to become suspicious but who can she trust?

The author does an excellent job of depicting the spread of the disease through the city. The writing is vivid and detailed and creates a menacing atmosphere throughout, such as the threats posed to a woman travelling alone through an increasingly lawless city. I like the way the author contrasts the changes in some parts of the city with the apparent normality in others. There is enough resolution at the end of the novel to give satisfaction while still leaving scope for the next two novels in the trilogy.

I did find it a little hard to understand Stevie's determination to pursue the truth behind Simon's death so tirelessly given the brevity of their relationship, and particularly towards the end of the novel when it seemed that the effect the disease was having on London would be so life-changing as to make everything else largely irrelevant. But on the whole this is a well written, well paced crime thriller that will leave you with a sense of unease the next time you sit next to a coughing stranger on a train and I am looking forward to reading the next book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2014
I’ve been a fan of Louise Welsh since her superb debut, The Cutting Room, and one of the great things about her novels is that you never know what to expect. Often described as literary crime, her books are wonderfully diverse in terms of setting and characters and, so far, have never failed to work for me. So I came to A Lovely Way to Burn with high expectations. What I didn’t expect was a novel where the crime aspect seems almost incidental to the background of London under the threat of an imminent apocalypse. From Glasgow to Berlin, Welsh has a great way with cities and the London in this book is all the more powerful for the way we witness it disintegrating before our eyes.

There are still crimes of course, at least one of which turns out to be linked to the pandemic. It’s up to Welsh’s heroine, Stevie Flint, to find out why her doctor/scientist boyfriend, Simon, was killed. As a Z list celebrity – a shopping channel presenter – Stevie makes the perfect protagonist for a story where the fripperies of present-day London are fast becoming an irrelevance. By the end of the book her hair is shorn to the scalp, her make-up melting from her face. But Stevie is tough. She turns out to be immune to the disease and refuses to escape from the stricken and increasingly lawless city until she has solved the mystery of Simon’s murder.

Welsh mentions her debt to post-apocalyptic TV dramas like Survivors, but I was also reminded of John Wyndham’s classic novels, such as The Day of the Triffids, which I love. Although there are plenty of questions left unanswered at the end of the book, the good news is that A Lovely Way to Burn is the first of a trilogy. Roll on number two.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Stevie Flint is an ex-journalist who now works as a presenter on a home shopping channel. The money’s good and she’s been seeing Simon (a surgeon at St Thomas’s hospital) for several months. When Simon fails to turn up to a date, Stevie figures that maybe it was down to work. When he fails to return her calls, she wonders if she’s been dumped. When she visits his flat to confront him over it, she finds him dead in bed. The police tell her it’s Sudden Adult Death Syndrome and close the case.

At the same time a new and deadly virus – nicknamed the sweats – arrives in London. As the city begins to fall apart, Stevie receives a posthumous letter from Simon that leads her to suspect that he was murdered. But the police no longer have the resources – or the inclination – to investigate and as the death toll starts to rise, Stevie finds herself in a race against time to find the people who can give her answers before they too are killed by the sweats …

Louise Welsh’s novel (the first in a trilogy) marries crime thriller with apocalyptic horror to so-so effect. Welsh does well at conveying the breakdown of a city to a pandemic and the confusion and fear that takes hold of its population as the body count rises, but the mystery element itself is very much by-the-numbers, particularly as it’s pretty obvious who the villains are. Stevie’s an okay character but I never really bought what made her tick and as she questions the nature of her relationship with Simon, I wondered why she was so keen on discovering what had happened to him. Although there’s a hint as to the possible overarching trilogy arc, I’m not particularly bothered about finding out what it is and won’t rush to read the rest.

The best scenes in the book are those that depict the breakdown of London as the sweats take hold. Welsh does well at showing the effect of the fear and panic but also the strange normality that can also survive (e.g. a scene in a ransacked pub). However I never really connected with Stevie or bought into why she was so invested in finding out the truth about Simon’s death given some of the discoveries she makes.

Ultimately it’s an okay read but I’m not particularly bothered about reading the sequel.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 3 March 2014
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Not many novels open with shooting sprees by a Tory MP, a hedge-fund manager and a vicar in Ealing, of all places (my home town); each spree ends with suicide so there aren’t even any answers to the big WHY? It’s an arresting opening for the first part of Louise Welsh’s dystopian trilogy.

London. The very near future. Stevie, a young woman of thirty, is stood up by Simon, her boyfriend of four months, one evening. She doesn’t mind that much, concluding that the relationship had pretty much run its course. Only Simon has the best excuse possible: he’s dead. Everywhere in London -- in the streets and shops, bar and tube train -- people are coughing hard, in the early stages of a pandemic virus that kills almost everyone it infects.

As Stevie tries to find out who killed Simon and why, civilisation is collapsing around her as the emergency services are struck down by the new plague. In this first volume of a trilogy, loose ends are inevitably left untied and I, for one, am looking forward to the next instalment.

Is there some element of metaphor here for the madness of huge cities and of modern life, where millions of us live on top of each other in a barely suppressed madness?

I suppose the novel ought to be gloomy but I didn’t find it so. Welsh is a fine prose stylist and Stevie a memorable hero -- an ordinary young woman plunged into crisis and rising to the occasion devoid of self pity.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2015
I read this book because it was chosen by my book group which is a crime fiction only group. Despite this not being a book i would normally choose to read because of the pandemic plague aspect i decided to approach it with an open mind because there was murder and mystery promised within. Unfortunately i was sorely disappointed, the main character, Stevie, seemed immature and stupid at times and i never fully understood why she insisted on investigating her boyfriend's death in the middle of a pandemic, especially as they had only been dating 4 months and she had planned to break up with him. She constantly went near people infected or possibly infected with the illness known as 'the sweats' and constantly assured people that she had had it and survived, as if this assured her she couldn't possibly get it again. Aside from this i found the story of the murder and that of the pandemic to be almost completely separate, although the murder was mentioned and investigated throughout it seemed like an afterthought to me. Many of the other characters were shallow and self-absorbed and this only served to increase my disbelief that Stevie was continuing to stay in the city rather. Having finished the book my first thought was 'what was the point of that?'. I won't be reading any books by this author again because, in case it wasn't obvious, i was rather unimpressed with this one. I also found the running together of words for a whole paragraph on p32 irritating and pointless and was confused to see Stevie describe a bruise as 'feeling mauve', unless i've missed something i was not aware people could feel colours, a small issue but definitely an irksome one.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2014
In A Lovely Way To Burn, Louise Welsh combines two of my favourite genres. It’s a straight-forward crime murder mystery, with a twist of dystopian, post-apocalyptic disaster, and the blend is thrilling.

A Lovely Way To Burn tells the story of Stevie, an ex-journalist turned shopping TV presenter who finds her boyfriend, surgeon Simon Sharkey, dead in his flat. Simon appears to have died due to natural causes, but a few days later, Stevie is delivered a mysterious note from her deceased partner and discovers a package; a laptop he has stowed in her attic for safekeeping. Was Simon’s death as innocent as it first appeared, or will the contents of the laptop reveal a more sinister scenario?

Whilst Stevie is pondering this, she and the rest of London are gripped by a strange new virus nicknamed the sweats. Stevie sees off the worst of her illness after just a few days in her flat, but many others aren’t so lucky. Panic and paranoia ensues as the capital is engulfed by the killer virus, for which there is no known cure.

The busy plot could sound a little like a melodrama which borders on contrived, but for me this novel really worked. Although I’ve never read any of Welsh’s previous work (despite buying The Cutting Room a while ago which I will definitely be getting round to soon), I have read many praise her literary style of writing, and I do feel that her talents shone in this novel. She captures the pandemonium of the capital city in crisis perfectly – “suddenly the hum of the machine world was fractured by shouting” – from the standstill of modern life to the inevitable riots which ensue. The action-packed story set against the vivid backdrop of London in crisis also feels like it’s calling for a movie adaptation, and I wonder if this will be on the cards in the future.

The drama is intercepted with truly dark scenes which sent a chill down my spine. At one point, Stevie visits a police station to be greeted by one elderly clerk who tells her he can’t take her statement because “Everyone here is dead.” At another, when the virus has really taken hold, Stevie is sneaking through a hospital and sees: “A mosaic of corpses”. An entire page (at least on the Kindle app on my phone) is dedicated to describing each body in a row individually, forcing the reader to consider each individual, and adding a personal touch to the faceless disease.

The protagonist, Stevie, is one of my favourite protagonists I’ve read in a crime novel in a while. She has no qualms with admitting her flaws – the shallow and superficial side which drove her to take a job which allows her to flaunt her looks – but she still has the savvy, feisty journalist in her which compels her to continue in her quest to find out the truth behind Simon’s death, even when the city is falling apart around her.

This novel is the first in a trilogy, and it can be annoying when the first novel in a series leaves too many questions unanswered. However, with this book Welsh strikes the ideal balance; the mystery is tied up nicely but she leaves enough intrigue that I am eagerly anticipating the next instalment.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Review also published on my blog (thebookbrief.wordpress.com)
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Death is a Welcome Guest: Plague Times Trilogy 2
Death is a Welcome Guest: Plague Times Trilogy 2 by Louise Welsh (Hardcover - 4 Jun. 2015)
£12.99

The Girl on the Stairs: A Masterful Psychological Thriller
The Girl on the Stairs: A Masterful Psychological Thriller by Louise Welsh (Paperback - 28 Mar. 2013)
£6.39

Naming the Bones
Naming the Bones by Louise Welsh (Paperback - 3 Feb. 2011)
£7.99
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.