Young Darcy Kellaway is denied a scholarship to a prestigious high school which he thinks is the key to a bright future, and blames the well-to-do McBride family for his failure and for the subsequent death of his mother.
Darcy slowly develops into a dark and devious personality, driven by the memory of his mother's despair and death from anorexia. This drives him to do anything to prove the McBrides deliberately denied him the scholarship and ruined his life in favor of their own son. He begins to stalk each member of the household, sneak into their house in their absence to learn their secrets, map their movements and schedules.
Obsessively plotting revenge for over twelve years even after he becomes a successful businessman, Darcy coerces a young woman grieving for a lost child to be part of his master plan. Together, they infiltrate the McBride family and try to unravel the family's close knit group by uncovering secrets of the mother Lydia McBride, whose diaries reveal too much of her pain and the secrets of her past dealings with the young Darcy.
The story becomes a psychological thriller that is fascinating to the last, when all the characters converge in an isolated house in Devon, England for the Guy Fawkes holiday and Bonfire Night, and the drama is played out to a suspenseful end.
This kept me reading and on the edge of my seat, as did the author's previous book, The Dark Rose. Excellent writing, plotting, and characterization. Erin Kelly has my kudos for another engaging dark thriller.
Title: The Burning Air by Erin Kelly
Published: Pamela Dorman Books; February 21, 2013
Genre: psychological thriller, suspense
Source: review copy from the publisher