A Lovely Way to Burn Paperback
by Louise Welsh
Part of the Plague Times Trilogy series
As heard on BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime It doesn't look like murder in a city full of death.
A pandemic called 'The Sweats' is sweeping the globe.
London is a city in crisis. Hospitals begin to fill with the dead and dying, but Stevie Flint is convinced that the sudden death of her boyfriend Dr Simon Sharkey was not from natural causes.
As roads out of London become gridlocked with people fleeing infection, Stevie's search for Simon's killers takes her in the opposite direction, into the depths of the dying city and a race with death.
A Lovely Way to Burn is the first outbreak in the Plague Times trilogy.
Chilling, tense and completely compelling, it's Louise Welsh writing at the height of her powers.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 368 pages
- Publisher: John Murray General Publishing Division
- Publication Date: 01/01/2015
- Category: Crime & mystery
- ISBN: 9781848546530
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by Eyejaybee
Until very recently it had been a long time since I read a post-apocalyptic style of novel, and it had been a genre that I had generally avoided. I did, however, think that Emily St John Mandel's 'Station Eleven' was marvellous, and now, just a month later, I have been struck by Louise Welsh's 'A Lovely Way to Burn'. The starting point is similar, with a population devastated by the sudden impact of a killer virus, though this story is set in London rather than Canada. As the novel opens Stephanie 'Stevie' Flint has just finished her night shift as a presenter on a television shopping channel, and is hurrying through Soho to meet her boyfriend Simon, a successful paediatric doctor. Simon, however, never turns up and, enraged,, Stevie takes a late tube journey back home to her own flat, finding herself sitting next to someone who starts coughing vehemently. Returning home, Stevie almost collapses into bed suddenly feeling ill. Stricken with what seems to be flu she is unable to rise from her bed for about three days. Still annoyed with Simon, she decides to go to his apartment while she expects him to be working his shift at hospital to retrieve the various belongings she had left there, calling a halt to the relationship. Having let herself in and found her stuff she is on the point of leaving again when, on a whim, she checks the spare bedroom where she finds Simon's corpse. He has been dead several days. Because of her illness Stevie has been out of touch with the news, and it is only as she listens to the radio in her car that she realises that London has been hit be a dreadful, plague-like outbreak of flu.It soon becomes evident that she is in a very small minority of people who have suffered the flu but survived. For most patients the onset of the flu proves fatal, most of them dying within three days. As the flu, known colloquially as 'the sweats' takes hold, law and order start to dissolve. In the meantime Stevie is trying to investigate Simon's death, having discounted her initial suspicion that he too had succumbed to the aging epidemic. It soon becomes apparent that Simon might not have been the squeaky clean character that Stevie had imagined. It also becomes clear that someone is pursuing Stevie, and will not baulk at violence.Welsh mixes the two themes of the story (the progress of the plague and the consequential fragmentation of society on the one hand, and Stevie's investigation into Simon's past on the other) very deftly, and conveys a growing sense of menace as the institutional infrastructure of the state crumbles and the survivors revert to feral self-protection. This is, apparently, the first volume of what will become the 'Plague Times' trilogy, and I am already hooked and waiting for the next instalment.
Review by atticusfinch1048
A Lovely Way To Burn – An Interesting Take on a Crime ThrillerA Lovely Way To Burn by Louise Welsh is the first book in what she has dubbed The Plague Times and is an excellent dystopian crime thriller. This has been one of the most absorbing, reads of the year, that could easily become one of the most popular series written in a long time. Throughout the book the pace never relents and at times it is quite heart thumping and will our heroine survive through to the end? This dystopian crime novel is a journey in what could easily happen if we do not take care of our planet, which is intriguing and terrifying in equal measure.Stephanie “Stevie” Flint is a presenter on the shopping channel in love and lust with her new boyfriend Simon a surgeon at St Thomas’ Hospital, who has arranged to meet him in an über trendy bar in Soho. When he stands her up and is not answering her calls she goes round to his apartment and discovered he was dead, later finding out he was murdered. Stevie decides to find out the truth about his death but at the same time London is under attack.London and the whole of the country is under attack from an unknown virus that people are referring too as the “sweets” that is claiming many lives. Stevie comes down with the virus herself but somehow survives and is one of the only known survivors of this plague like virus. Simon’s sister visits Stevie with a letter telling her about a laptop that needs to be delivered to a colleague at St Thomas’ and so the thriller begins.With the warning of trust nobody but Dr Reah who she is informed has also died she returns to work at the shopping channel, where leaving at night she is attacked, and left shaken. So begins her investigation begins in to what happened to Simon, while London is collapsing under the strain of the virus. Looting and rioting is going on about the Police are dropping like flies and the Army are called in to keep order.It is through this chaos that somehow Stevie has to survive and investigate to get to the truth, and at the same time stop herself becoming a victim of the murderer. She is not sure who she can trust with information where to she can go as the Police cannot help and nobody is interested as others are dying around the city. While searching for the truth she is also aware that she could be the cure to the virus, but she does not have the time to be the cure as she tries to solve the crime. We are left with a great hook at the end to draw us in to the next book in the series and quite honestly cannot wait.This is a stylish well written dystopian crime thriller that keeps you on edge all the way through the book and you strive in hoping that Stevie can solve the crime but there is no justice in London and whether she will find it keeps you turning the pages. What really makes this book tick is where Louise Welsh plays on the readers fears and turns the knife on them to heighten the intensity of the story. A complete winner!
Review by jan.fleming
A pandemic called 'The Sweats' is sweeping the globe. London is a city in crisis. Hospitals begin to fill with the dead and dying, but Stevie Flint is convinced that the sudden death of her boyfriend Dr Simon Sharkey was not from natural causes. As roads out of London become gridlocked with people fleeing infection, Stevie's search for Simon's killers takes her in the opposite direction, into the depths of the dying city and a race with death.
I found this disappointing, the pandemic riddled London was done very well but the mystery of the dead boyfriend was puzzling to me.
Stevie admits that the relationship wasn't that serious so why why why would you put yourself at risk running about a lawless city trying to solve a crime.
Call me heartless but you wouldn't see me for dust....