Author: Catherine McKenzie

Published By: Lake Union Publishing

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                I love to look for books that sound interesting by authors whose works I have never read before.  That’s one of the reasons I love checking out books on  They offer such a great selection of authors and genres to choose from.  This time around I chose Smoke by Catherine McKenzie, listed under Women’s Fiction and General Adult Fiction.

                Smoke is actually about two women whose lives have taken quite an interesting turn.  Former friends, these women have lost their way, but how will they find their way back.  Elizabeth was a firefighter and a damn good one, but she had made a promise to her husband to give up the job she loved for something she wanted even more – a family.  Unfortunately, after years of trying, she is without child, working a job she hated and her marriage is suffering from the strain of crushed dreams.  Mindy is a happily married mother of two, but realizes that she is losing her identity.  Between the strange behavior of her son and her overbearing friends, Mindy has begun to shrink inside herself, always doubting her actions and second-guessing every decision.

                But when Elizabeth and Mindy’s small town faces destruction thanks to an out of control fire, and the blame laid soundly at Mindy’s son’s feet, can these former friends find it within themselves to forgive and join together to save the town and their home lives?

                I really wasn’t sure what I was getting into reading this novel, but found that once I had read the first, I couldn’t put the book down.  I had to know what had caused the rift between Elizabeth and her husband…between Elizabeth and Mindy...between Mindy and her son.  I needed to know who had caused the fire and whether or not that fire would take Elizabeth’s house and force the evacuation of the town.  I needed to keep reading, despite the need to go to work, eat and sleep.  I was totally engrossed in the storyline.

                Smoke was a fast read that would appeal to any female reader who enjoys a mystery and delving into what makes or breaks a relationship.  I don’t expect that most men will enjoy this book, but there will be a few who can just enjoy a good story for what it is.  Either way, I can honestly say that Smoke had me captivated until I turned the last page.  It was a good read with great character build up and an excellent storyline.  I would love to read more from Catherine McKenzie in the future.  Her writing definitely has my attention.


For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at