Elizabeth and Ben Martin's marriage has hit a rough patch. They have to put their divorce discussion on hold when a fast moving forest fire forced them to evacuate from their home. Beth's career in fighting forest fires has always been a source of contention for the couple and she even gave it up when they started to try for a family. But this time, the fire is too close to home. She uses her new career as an Private Investigator to try and get to the bottom of who started the fire that is putting them all at risk. In the course of the investigation Beth finds out that the son of her ex-friend, Mindy, is at the center of it all. Beth feels her loyalties being pulled in several different directions. Between her husband's disapproval of her being involved with the fire investigation and her fondness for the teen son of her ex-friend, Beth only wants one thing. The truth, but at what cost.
Beth Martin is a flawed woman who just wants to make the right decision. Catherine McKenzie uses Beth and her situation to illustrate that there is never any easy answers when it comes to love, friendship, and doing the right thing. Beth gave up her career for her husband and has missed it everyday since. But more than her career, she wanted a baby. And that intense desire is what caused the rift between her and Mindy. It took a while for the reason of their rift to be revealed, but really it was kind of lame when revealed. With all of the build up I expected it to be more substantial, but I was disappointed. The book is told from alternating views - mainly Mindy and Beth, but eventually the culprit of the crime, too. Smoke was a good, if not uncomfortable, book to read. Seeing someone exposed the way Beth was with her pain, her insecurities, her broken marriage, well it was tough to read. In the end things wrapped up in a way that I guess was okay, but I just felt it was a bit unresolved. Their story is not finished.
Bottom line - I really like Catherine McKenzie's work. While Smoke wasn't my favorite one of her books I did like the story and can see where many people would be able to understand Beth's story.