Book review: A Gambling Man by David Baldacci

Friday, April 2, 2021 Permalink

I wasn’t a fan of David Baldacci’s Camel Club series* but have loved almost everything he’s published since. Indeed, his books take up quite a bit of real estate on my bookshelves. I particularly love his Amos Decker and Atlee Pine series but somehow I missed the first in his new historical crime fiction series featuring ex-con Aloysius Archer.

And I enjoyed this so much I’m going to be hunting down its predecessor, One Good Deed.


Book review: Something to Hide by Fleur McDonald

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 Permalink

Each time I review one of Fleur McDonald’s books featuring Detective Dave Burrows I make some quip about the fact there are two. Series that is. Not Dave Burrowses.

McDonald kicked off the series with a middle-aged Dave, but later took us back in time to the late 1990s and early 2000s to a young (Detective) Dave who was hoping to join the Stock Squad.

I adore both series and am intrigued how the Dave we meet in the past becomes the Dave we meet in the present.


Book review: Crackenback by Lee Christine

Saturday, January 30, 2021 Permalink

Crackenback by Lee Christine is the second book in the series featuring Sydney Homicide Squad Detective Sergeant Pierce Ryder. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read its predecessor, Charlotte Pass that introduces Ryder and his partner Detective Flowers, along with Ryder’s love interest Vanessa.

This book is centred around ski lodge manager Eva and her delightful three year old daughter Poppy. I must confess I couldn’t remember if we’d met them in Charlotte Pass, and though reference is made to the events of that book and Vanessa, we learn that Eva is her sister.


Book review: Painting in the Shadows by Katherine Kovacic

Tuesday, December 29, 2020 Permalink

Painting in the Shadows by Katherine Kovacic is the second in her Alex Clayton Art series. I met Katherine at the BAD Sydney Crime Writers’ Festival in September 2019 and she’d been nominated for a prestigious Ned Kelly Award for the first in that series, The Portrait of Molly Dean.

I bought that book soon after and very much enjoyed it. The Shifting Landscape was released in early 2020 and I assumed it was the sequel, forgetting about the time lag involved in award nominations. It wasn’t until I started that book I realised it was the third in the series and I’d missed one in between. That’s now been rectified and I’m glad I’ve read Painting in the Shadows as it’s probably my favourite in the series to date.


Book review: White Throat by Sarah Thornton

Monday, November 23, 2020 Permalink

This is the second in the series by Sarah Thornton featuring former lawyer Clementine Jones. We learned in the first outing Lapse, that Jones had been convicted of drink driving and a woman died as a result – although I did think there was perhaps more to that story. She spent a lot of time in the first novel keeping that secret, but it’s not the case here and her history seems to be more accessible.

Lapse was set in Katinga in rural Australia, but this opens with (the elegant) mention of tidal flats and the ocean. Here Jones is housesitting and Thornton certainly offers eloquent imagery of Australia’s coastline. The setting was of interest to me as it’s actually in my back yard… near the Great Sandy Straits, set in the tiny fictional town of Piama. (I assume it’s fictional as I’ve never heard of it.)


Book review: The Mitford Trial by Jessica Fellowes

Saturday, November 14, 2020 Permalink

The Mitford Trial is the fourth in the series by Jessica Fellowes. Each of the books focuses loosely on one of the (in)famous Mitford sisters (of which there were five, as well as a brother). I hadn’t realised when I embarked on the first book in the series, The Mitford Murders that the Mitford family actually existed and that the girls in particular quite well known.

These books are fiction, but based on true events and Fellowes includes historical notes at the end of each book. The Mitford Trial is set over a few years in the early 1930s and we’re edging closer to the second world war. The mystery at the heart of this book very much reflects the involvement of Mitford family members drawn to fascism and communism and their allegiances with Hitler and Nazi Germany.


Book review: Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 Permalink

Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza, released a year ago, introduced Kate Marshall. I was a little wary in my review as it opens with Kate, a police officer, on the verge of breaking a major case involving a serial killer. But then it’s quickly over – she catches the baddie… who happens to be her boss and lover.

The book then flicked forward fifteen years and we again meet Kate, now lecturing in Criminology at a University. We get some backstory and learn she didn’t become a hero: rather her affair became public; she left the police force in disgrace; became an alcoholic; lost custody of her son (to the aforementioned serial killer); before regaining control over her life. In Nine Elms she gets pulled into investigating a copycat case however along with her assistant Tristan.

And here, Kate’s again playing detective after discovering the body of a college student.


Book review: The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly

Friday, November 6, 2020 Permalink

I’m a fan of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels, though I was a latecomer to the series. And I absolutely adore Detective Renee Ballard. I also gave a rare 4.5 stars to the third in the (journalist) Jack McEvoy series earlier this year.

I just commented in another review that I like the way Connelly crosses characters over and has them appear, a little or lot, in other series.

The Law of Innocence is a Mickey Haller (aka Lincoln Lawyer) novel. And it wasn’t until I read this I realised I’ve only read one other in this series. Haller’s featured in other books I’ve read—briefly—but it occurred to me when reading this… I don’t actually like him all that much. And I wonder if Connelly intends for us to find him a tad disagreeable and socially-challenged, or if I’m alone in my antipathy. Or perhaps, because Haller’s own freedom is on the line here, he’s more self-absorbed and indignant than usual?


Book review: The Shearer’s Wife by Fleur McDonald

Tuesday, November 3, 2020 Permalink

West Australian-based author Fleur McDonald has two series featuring outback detective Dave Burrows on the go. One is set in the present and the other in the past – not long after Burrows became a cop. The present day series is interrelated so Burrows is usually investigating a case but there are other characters central to the plot of that particular novel. In the last outing in that series, Starting From Now, we met investigative journalist Zara Ellison, who returned to small-town Barker to be near her dying brother. The likeable Zara stayed and returns to play a lead role here as well.