Burner by Robert Ford

It’s terrifying how quickly everything can be taken away from you. Iris learns this agonizing lesson in the blink of an eye. Her future dreams. Her past life. Everything gone in a storm of pain.But this pain is only the beginning.

Audrey had the perfect life. Great husband, beautiful daughter, lots of money. Except her husband isn’t the man she thought he was. Her dead husband’s burner phone was bad. The Polaroids were worse. But the secrets she uncovers next set her entire world on fire.

Two women’s lives intersect because of one man’s actions. The transformation is pristine,and beautiful, and filled with pain. Sometimes the scars are on the inside.

The IndieMuse Review

A Good Marriage Meets Taken

Horror exists to terrify us. Sometimes that can be cathartic. Reading about the fictional exploits of a supernatural slasher, or hideous monsters straight out of a nightmare can be a fun way to experience fear within our comfort zone. Robert Ford doesn’t write within comfort zones. With his latest novel, Burner, he has instead chosen to hold up a mirror to horrors that are uncomfortably close to home.

The lives of two ordinary women, content and happy with their lives, intersect with an act of brutality. Audrey is happily married, with a loving husband and a grown-up daughter. Iris is a student studying to be a doctor. She wants to travel the world and hopes that her boyfriend will accompany her on her journey after she finishes her final year.

The lives of these two women will be irrevocably changed when one unthinkable act brings the two together, linked by a man whose terrible secrets are beyond anything either of them could ever have imagined.

Burner is told from the perspective of two women, each chapter switching between the two, and split between the ‘then’ and ‘now’ of the story. We learn early on that something awful has happened, as both characters are interviewed about the events that have already taken place, and it is through their reflections of these events that the curtain is slowly pulled back. Once it has, you’ll wish it had stayed firmly shut.

It is an intense reading experience and not one intended to be ‘enjoyed’ in the traditional sense. It keeps you guessing at what the traumatic events were that both characters are relaying and, when the truth is gradually revealed, Ford manages to increase the horrors way past the stage where you thought things could get no worse. I found myself constantly torn between wanting to put the book down and being consumed with a need to read on and finish the story.

Ford is delivering on another level with Burner. He is so adept at making us care for his characters that it will leave you absolutely broken when you are presented with the awful things those same characters are capable of under the most extreme of circumstances. His prose is straightforward and impassive, unflinching in its detail and unforgiving, refusing to shy away for even a second.

I vividly recalled my experience reading Jack Ketchum’s masterwork, The Girl Next Door after I put down Burner. Much like Ketchum’s book, Robert Ford’s latest ends with an afterword detailing the all too real horrors that the book is based on. It makes what came before it all the more harrowing to read that the fictional tale you just read is, if anything, a toned-down version of real-life atrocities.

Burner is an absolutely merciless book. It is a difficult, but rewarding read and one that will stay with you long after you’ve put the book down. Robert Ford is a criminally underread author and I can’t help but feel that Burner is the book that will soon rectify that.


Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.

3 reviews for Burner by Robert Ford

Based on 3 reviews
5 star
4 star
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  1. Tristan Anders

    Discovered this book from the 5-star rating at Indie Muse and I couldn’t agree more. This won’t be by last Ford book!

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  2. Taneka Becenti  

    Excellent story! Full of surprises and moves right along.

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  3. Tijuana Hasson  

    Top-notch story, with a such a twist of an ending. I will definitely seek out other works from author.

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