By Catherine McKenzie


SmokeBook Blurb (from Goodreads)

From the internationally bestselling author Catherine McKenzie comes an evocative tale of two women navigating the secrets and lies at the heart of a wildfire threatening their town.

After a decade-long career combating wildfires, Elizabeth has traded in for a quieter life with her husband. Now she works as the local arson investigator in a beautiful, quaint town in the Rockies. But that tranquil life vanishes when she and her husband agree to divorce, and when a fire started in nearby Cooper Basin begins to spread rapidly. For Elizabeth, containing a raging wildfire is easier than accepting that her marriage has failed.

For Elizabeth’s ex-friend Mindy, who feels disconnected from her husband and teenage children, the fire represents a chance to find a new purpose: helping a man who lost his home to the blaze. But her faith is shattered by a shocking accusation.

As the encroaching inferno threatens the town’s residents, Elizabeth and Mindy must discover what will be lost in the fire, and what will be saved.

My Review

The characters in Smoke are as vividly depicted, as they are in McKenzie’s other novels.  I loved Elizabeth.  Her life is complex, and yet she yearns for a simple life with the man of her dreams, a home to love, and the children she thus far had been unable to have.  Her life seems to be a train wreck.  She tells Ben she wants a divorce, and she has been unable to forgive her good friend Mindy.  Liz quit her job as a firefighter and now works as a fire investigator. Just as her life is spinning out of control, a wild fire is bearing down on her home and the town she loves.

Ben is somewhat of a mystery to me.  He loves Liz but is complacent about the divorce. He was a sea of calm in the midst of the travesty of his marriage and the fire that threatens everything he holds dear.  I kept waiting for Ben to explode in anger.

Then there is Mindy.  We all know a Mindy, the person, who on the outside seems so organized and self-confident, but whose life is in shambles.  She tries to do everything right, but lacks the confidence to carry through.  She wants to be the perfect wife, mother, everything and worries that she is not.

The story is one of friendships, misunderstandings, mistrust, and lies.  With all that is going on, is there a chance for forgiveness? Did the fire start by accident or arson? If it is arson, who started it? Why? There is so much action going on at any one time, there is plenty to keep the reader’s attention.  Rest assured the author ties all of the story threads together in the end.

I’ve read every book Catherine McKenzie has published, and I can say unequivocally that Smoke is her best so far.  If you enjoy a bit of romance, mystery, and a great storyline, Smoke is the book for you.  I have to give this book 5 stars.

About the Author

Saturday, August 8, 2009. Photo/Robert J. Galbraith).

A graduate of McGill University in History and Law, Catherine practises law in Montreal, where she was born and raised. An avid skier and runner, Catherine’s novels, SPIN, ARRANGED, FORGOTTEN and HIDDEN, are all international bestsellers and have been translated into numerous languages. Her most recent release is SPUN – a novella sequel to her first novel, SPIN. HIDDEN was also a #1 Amazon bestseller and a Digital Bookworld bestseller.

Her fifth novel, SMOKE, will be published by Lake Union on October 20, 2015.

And if you want to know how she has time to do all that, the answer is: robots.

Visit her online at

Facebook at

Twitter at @cemckenzie1

Preorder SMOKE at


Amazon Canada

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Michelle Clements James ©



23 thoughts on “SMOKE

  1. I’m relieved to hear the answer is robots. I was beginning to feel rather inadequate! 🙂
    Sounds like a very timely read with all the fires raging in the US. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, I also like Catherine McKenzie and am glad to know that she’s coming out with another book. I only read Arranged which I loved. I was happy to learn that she’d written a few other books since then.. 🙂
    Thanks for this great review.

    Liked by 2 people

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