For some reason I don’t see new release listings for some publishers. Text Publishing is one, though one of my favourite books in the last few years was one of theirs – Toni Jordan’s The Fragments.
I’ve engaged with debut author Sarah Thornton on Twitter and hadn’t seen the first in this series featuring former corporate lawyer, Clementine Jones when it came out a couple of months ago. I’m glad to have caught up however. It takes us a while to learn why Clementine has left her previous life in Sydney (and I suspect Thornton will eke that out slowly) but when we meet her here she’s had an unlikely career change.
by Sarah Thornton
Series: Clementine Jones #1
Published by Text Publishing
Source: Text Publishing
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
All it took was a lapse…a momentary lapse…to bring Clementine Jones’ world crashing down. Now she’s living like a hermit in small-town Katinga, coaching the local footy club. She’s supposed to be lying low, but here she is, with her team on the cusp of their first premiership in fifty years—and the whole bloody town counting on her, cheering her on.
So why the hell would her star player quit on the eve of the finals?
It’s a question she wishes she’d left alone. Others are starting to ask questions too—questions about her. Clem’s not the only one with a secret, and as tension builds, the dark violence just below the town’s surface threatens to erupt. Pretty soon there’ll be nowhere left for Clem to hide.
Of course there’s some saying… ‘you can take the girl out of corporate lawyering but you can’t take the corporate lawyer out of the girl’. Okay, I made that up obviously… but you get the gist.
As the book opens Clem’s star player has quite shockingly withdrawn from her local football (Australian Football League) team. It’s out of character and Clem tries to learn more, discovering he’s been sacked from his job for stealing – again out of character. She suspects a cover-up and starts looking into the organisation and its management.
Given she’s in a tiny town, lives are very much entwined so she steps on toes and is soon threatened.
I really liked Clem so was excited this is the first in a series. I’m probably less comfortable with the corporate game-playing / white collar crime realm, but thankfully there’s some less cerebral / esoteric thuggery in the mix.
I note Thornton is a former corporate lawyer, so comfortable in that world and able to draw on her own experience, and those elements felt very realistic. Easily drawn.
Fans of AFL will enjoy this as there’s quite a bit of reference to the game, including some to Adam Goodes who ‘famously’ suffered terrible racial abuse. It’s reflected here in small town Katinga where there’s a strong ‘them’ and ‘us’ element. Clem’s quite surprised by the racism towards the Indigenous community though does ponder on the fact – as a lawyer – she really only undertook cases for Indigenous clients on a pro bono basis… only to impress the partners at her law firm and edge her way a little higher on the corporate lawyering ladder.
This is an engaging debut novel from Thorton. I read it in a sitting and really enjoyed meeting Clementine. There’s obviously a lot more to her story and we’re left hanging (a little) so it’ll be interesting to see where Thorton takes her next.
Lapse by Sarah Thornton was published in Australia by Text Publishing and now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.