August 22, 2013

Review and Book Trailer: Flicker & Burn

Flicker & Burn Book Two of the Cold Fury series
By T.M. Goeglein
Available now from Putnam (Penguin Random House)
Review copy
Read my review of Cold Fury

In FLICKER & BURN, the sequel to COLD FURY, things get even weirder for Sarah Jane Rispoli.  First, her family was kidnapped.  Then she turned out to have a special power in her gaze, to paralyze people with their fears.  Oh yeah, and she comes from a mob family and has to keep up appearances.  As FLICKER & BURN begins, she's being pursued by ice-cream men.  White skinned, red eyed ice-cream men.  And sometimes she gets sloppy.

FLICKER & BURN contains just as much action as the first book and delivers the answers to several questions about Sarah Jane's family and just what is up with those ice-cream guys.  There's not much on the cover to indicate that FLICKER & BURN is anything but a straightforward thriller, and the revelations within make it clear that the stranger elements are more science fiction than paranormal.  It's the kind of science fiction that might as well be magic, but it's not magic within the universe of the story.  But I think it's wise to market this series as thrillers, since there is far more emphasis on Sarah Jane's search for her family and work for the mob than on the science fiction elements.

Official Flicker & Burn Book Trailer from T.M. Goeglein. Subscribe to the Cold Fury channel on Vimeo.

The setting continues to be a strong point.  FLICKER & BURN's Chicago is a place where the buildings are full of secrets, connected by blood and greed and desperation.  Sarah Jane is also a strength.  She's resilient and inventive, but her determination to rescue her family does have consequences.  She lets people get hurt, or hurts them herself, to further her goals.  She doesn't want to be a killer, like so many of her ancestors, but at the same time it's becoming easier and easier for her to bend her morality.

I think FLICKER & BURN added a few too many new characters.  One in particular had a lot of potential, but their arc went by so quickly it didn't have the full emotional impact.  I liked the returning characters, like Doug, who is the greatest friend ever but deeply unhappy, and Tyler, the smooth young head of a different mob family.  But the new characters felt like they came and went quickly instead of becoming a true part of the story.

Like COLD FURY, FLICKER & BURN ends with a hook.  It's not a cruel cliffhanger, as so many YA authors seem partial to these days, but there are more mysteries for Sarah Jane to solve.  I'm eager to see the answers, especially since Goeglein doles them out at a nice pace.


  1. Glad you liked this one! My sister has read the first two and found them enjoyable too. I thinks it's smart to see this as a thriller as well, based on what I know of the books.

  2. I like thrillers a lot, so I really need to start this series sometime! They sound like fun, despite the plethora of characters. (I know what you mean by that, there are some series where I just want to shake the author and say we don't neeeeeed this many people all the time!)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. This one wasn't as bad as some, but I felt the new characters were all extraneous by the end.

  3. I'm glad that the ending isn't a cruel cliffhanger. I don't think I can take any more of those this year! And I understand what you mean about the secondary characters. I always feel like new people should actually contribute something to the story than just be included for the sake of it. Still, it's good to see that you like this overall. Great review!

    1. Oh man, the cruel cliffhangers just keep coming hard and fast.

  4. I liked the first book quite a bit so I am planning on checking this out at some point. I like knowing that it doesn't have a cruel clifffhanger-I hate how that tortures me when waiting for a sequel.

    1. Oh man, I'm just happy I got early copies of Never Fade and Unspoken. I was so tortured by those!


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