Consuming Fire is a fast paced story filled with suspense and intrigue, a dash of romance, and religion. The story is about a sharpshooter turned fashion designer turned blackmailed assassin and that’s all in the first two chapters. It moves quickly from scene to scene, utilizing dialogue more than most stories I’ve read but it remains easy to follow throughout the conversations between characters. Alexa is a woman whose passion is designing the next ensemble for the modern woman but whose marksmanship (or should I say markswomanship) is what gets her into hot water. She gets blackmailed into using her shooting skills because of a personal tragedy when she was younger and continues because the flagging business of her fashion line requires substantial financial assistance. One quickly becomes empathetic to her plight, wondering who could be following her every move. CB Hoffmann introduces new characters seamlessly, providing just enough background to make you keep reading without giving away all the secrets at once. Her newspaper staff becomes a story all its own, unfolding new relationships while discovering more and more details of the main story, that of Alexa.
As a student of psychology myself, I find the overarching themes intriguing independent of the storyline. Trying to understand the true nature of Alexa’s relationship with her father as well as her surrogate father remains until the final pages, providing a contrast to the relationship between her and the newspaper photographer. Seeing how haunted the main character is by her past to the point of committing major crimes, yet able to connect to someone new continues the contradicting nature of her characters. Everyone in the book has something they are hiding, most for good reasons, but some for evil ones. Trying to determine which is good and which is bad is part of the fun of reading this story, while providing a backdrop for Hoffmann’s second point, how faith interacts with a person’s daily life. She intersperses Christian based viewpoints in multiple characters’ voices while maintaining the overall feel of the story. This story will keep you guessing to the end and make you root for the main characters and good to overcome evil and win the day.