A Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh

A Lovely Way to Burn cover

A Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh is the first book in her Plague Times trilogy. I must admit that I didn’t realise this when I started reading it. As I only recently finished reading Station Eleven it was too soon for me to embark on another ‘end of the world as we know it’ book, but I had started – so I finished.

Stephanie/Stevie Flint has just turned thirty and has been living in London for seven years. Her career as a journalist has come to a halt and she’s now working as a presenter for a TV shopping channel and doing very well at it – at least the money is good. Her current gentleman friend Simon is a surgeon and when he doesn’t turn up for a date with her after work she just assumes that he’s probably going off her. But when she goes to his flat she discovers that he is dead.

Very quickly the bodies begin to pile up as the whole world seems to be in the grip of a pandemic which is being called ‘The Sweats’. Stevie contracts it but eventually recovers, one of the very few to do so, for most people it’s a quick death sentence.

But Simon didn’t die of The Sweats and Stevie suspects that he was murdered despite the fact that he supposedly died of natural causes – and so begins her investigation which leads to attacks on her life, while London descends into chaos. The people who haven’t yet succumbed to the illness either load up their vehicles and head out of the city, or begin drinking their way to oblivion.

For me the whole plot didn’t quite hang together so I’m not sure if I’ll carry on with this series.

4 thoughts on “A Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh

  1. It is curious that when society is falling apart that she should have this as a priority. What was she going to do with the culprit, who might even be a plague victim? Sounds somewhat contrived.

    • H,
      That’s what I was thinking too. It was written with an eye towards it possibly being dramatised I think as a lot of attacks and beating up went on.

  2. I haven’t read anything by Louise Welsh, and I want to, but I will start with something else. I may try this eventually, I do like end of the world books, but I agree that the premise of her trying to find a murderer seems thin under the circumstances. I am glad you reviewed, though.

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