Divorce lawyer Leigh Huyett knows all too well that most second marriages are doomed to fail. But five years in, she and Pete Conley have a perfectly blended family of her children and his. To celebrate their anniversary, they grab some precious moments of alone time and leave Pete’s son Kip, a high school senior, in charge of Leigh’s fourteen-year-old daughter Chrissy at their home.
Driving back on a rainy Friday night, their cell phones start ringing. After a raucous party celebrating his college acceptance to Duke and his upcoming birthday, Kip was arrested for drunk driving after his truck crashed into a tree. And he wasn’t alone—Chrissy was with him.
Twelve hours later, Chrissy is dead and Kip is charged with manslaughter.
Kip has always been a notorious troublemaker, but he’s also a star student with a dazzling future ahead of him. At first, Leigh does her best to rally behind Pete and help Kip through his ordeal. Until he changes his story, and claims that he wasn’t driving after all—Chrissy was, and he swears there is a witness.
Leigh is stunned that he would lie about such a thing, while Pete clutches onto the story as the last, best hope to save his son, throwing his energy and money into finding this elusive witness. As they hurtle toward Kip’s trial date, husband and wife are torn between loyalty to their children and to each other, while the mystery of what really happened that night intensifies.
This richly conceived and tightly plotted exploration of family and tragedy will have you racing toward its shocking and thought-provoking conclusion.
“Evocative writing and wholly realized characters complement a multifaceted tale that’s both harrowing and profound.” – Kirkus
“Relatable and thought-provoking. . . Readers who enjoyed Ian McEwan’s The Children Act (2014) and especially Emily Giffin’s All We Ever Wanted (2018) should be guided toward this absorbing read, which deftly examines the meaning and strength of family bonds and forgiveness. Kistler is a promising new voice in the legal-mystery world.” – Booklist
“This is an instantly compelling and compulsively readable novel, and I would not be surprised to see Kistler achieve the same level of fame as LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE author Celeste Ng.” —Bookreporter.com
“Kistler has a clear mastery of the legal drama but also a deft touch with complicated family dynamics and the tightening noose of a trauma that refuses all efforts at a cut-and-dry solution.” House on Fire is named one of the most anticipated crime reads of 2019 by CrimeReads.com.
“A nuanced and compelling story of a family in crisis. Kistler handles a tragedy and the questions that swirl around it with a depth that will take your breath away and have you asking yourself—what would I do? Outstanding!” —Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, bestselling authors of The Good Widow and Girls’ Night Out
“Bonnie Kistler captures the madness of losing a child with profound understanding in House on Fire. My anxiety rose with each page …, but somehow Kistler manages to hold the reader’s exploding heart safe as this gut-wrenching story unfolds. I lived inside this novel with every word.” —Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of The Widow of Wall Street
House on Fire named one of 30 Must-Read Books of 2019 – PopSugar