Critically acclaimed and popular novels by the likes of Jane Harper and Chris Hammer have seen the rise of outback noir on bookstores’ shelves – both in Australia and overseas. It’s so weird to admit this now but until about 2014/15 I didn’t read Australian novels. Particularly not crime fiction or thrillers. I used to say it was because I read to escape and I didn’t want to read about baddies running around the streets of my state capital, Brisbane or back alleys in inner-city Sydney or Melbourne.
That changed at some point (I probably should check when and why) and now I read A LOT of Australian authors, whether their work is set overseas or here in Australia.
Cutters End is Margaret Hickey’s debut novel and is set in South Australia. Its sense of place and the gritty and parched feel of the outback is central to the tone of the novel and is something Hickey manages to sustain throughout.