**I was given a digital copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
Smoke is another example of Catherine McKenzie's ability to write the real. She points to the reality of life that may make us feel uncomfortable, but life is messy. She paints it in a way that makes you feel a part of it, something you can relate to.
The main character in Smoke is a retired fire fighter, usually working in the wild fires. She is married, but as the story begins, she is moving toward divorce. But it becomes clear, she doesn't want to leave him. He doesn't want to leave her. But they are incredibly sad and no longer have the energy to fight, or to fix it for that matter.
A fire has started, and she is asked to help investigate it. It seems pretty straightforward, but things are always more than they seem. Elizabeth has more to fix than just her marriage.
The other half of the story is about Elizabeth's ex-best friend. You'll see what drove them apart. Mindy has become a bit of a helicopter parent due to her younger daughter's heart defect. But her new problem is her teenage son, who is hiding something. Teenage boys, apparently, can be cruel. And poor Mindy doesn't know how to get through to her son, nor what he is hiding. Did he cause the fire? Is he covering for someone else who did? Or is he hiding something else?
Catherine uses such colorful writing, that the flow is constant and engaging. I truly enjoyed participating in this story, even if it did make me so sad at points. I felt like Elizabeth and Mindy were friends, and I was rooting for them to solve their issues in the best way possible. Be prepared for surprises.