Thursday, November 10, 2022

Fiction Review: A Furnace for Your Foe

Toward the end of October I plunged into the "spirit" of the season with several novels about ghosts! I first read A Furnace for Your Foe by Matty Dalrymple, book four in the Ann Kinnear Suspense series. I don't normally read many series and almost never an entire series, in order, but I love this one! I read book 3, The Falcon and the Owl, in September and books one and two, The Sense of Death and The Sense of Reckoning in past falls. I once again thoroughly enjoyed this suspenseful mystery about a woman who can sense and communicate with spirits.

Ann Kinnear has been able to sense spirits since she was a little girl, though her talent has sharpened in recent years (see The Sense of Death, book one), now allowing her to actually communicate with the dead. She's put her skills to use with her business, Ann Kinnear Sensing, run by her brother, Mike. Ann appeared in a documentary, and now the filmmaker wants to make a second documentary, starring her and her colleague, Garrett Masser. Masser lives on Mount Desert Island in Maine (home of Acadia National Park), and the two worked together previously, as recounted in book 2, The Sense of Reckoning. Ann and Mike return to the island to film the documentary, timed to coincide with a recent suspicious death. A wealthy research scientist, Leo Dorn, recently fell to his death from a steep hiking trail while with his colleague and hiking partner, Shelby Kim. What's odd is that the trail was on Leo's own property, he had hiked it many times before, and the trail was dry that day. Soon after Ann arrives on the island, Shelby disappears. Though they are there to record the film, Ann also wants to help the police and the families and friends of Leo and Shelby. She speaks with Leo and goes searching for Shelby in the area where the woman disappeared.

What follows is a super-twisty, unpredictable, rollercoaster of a mystery, with secrets around every corner. I love this series in part because of the unique mix of suspense, mystery, and the supernatural. Peeking into the afterlife is endlessly fascinating to me. Just as important, though, is the excellent writing here that combines in-depth characters, family drama, and humor with the suspense. The author also provides wonderful details about the settings (here, one of my favorite places) that help to immerse the reader in the story. There were plenty of surprises in store in this novel, as well as some breathtakingly close calls for Ann and her friends. Each novel in this series just gets better and better. I can't wait to read the latest entry, book 5, A Serpent's Tooth, and I'm not waiting until next fall!

P.S. If you're wondering about the unusual title for this novel, it's from a quote from Shakespeare's Henry VIII. Matty often uses Shakespeare quotes for her titles.

339, William Kingsfield Publishers

This book fits in the following 2022 Reading Challenges:


Mount TBR Challenge

Diversity Challenge

R.I.P. Challenge

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Listen to a sample of the audiobook here, narrated by Victoria Matlock Fowler, and/or download it from Audible. The sample is from the beginning of the novel, as Leo and Shelby are out on their ill-fated hike.


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Or you can order A Furnace for Your Foe from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.


  1. Sounds good, thanks for sharing your thoughts

  2. The supernatural doesn't usually work for me but this series sounds really good!

    1. I just love it, Helen - well-written, great characters & plots, and mysteries with a sense of humor.