Broad River Station by Fleur McDonald is the latest release in the interrelated series featuring Detective Dave Burrows who heads up Barker Police Station. McDonald tends to keep the focus on outback / farming related crimes and I like that about these books and her young Dave Burrows series. It very much sets them apart from other outback or rural (Oz) crime fiction. I know nothing about farms or rural life but thanks to her own knowledge and experience, McDonald manages to effortlessly engage readers in the unfolding plot – giving us enough detail that we understand the context (and receive a smidge of education at the same time) – but aren’t overwhelmed with superfluous complex information.
Book review: East of Alice by Annie Seaton
East of Alice by Annie Seaton is the first book I’ve read by the Australian author, not realising she wrote thrillers and crime fiction (thinking she wrote rural romance). And I enjoyed this a lot. Particularly the quintessentially Australian setting. Though it’s a long time since I’ve been to Alice Springs, the organisation I work for has an office there and several projects outside of the town and – having been to the West Kimberley in West Australia this year a couple of times – I could imagine some of the landscape Seaton very vividly describes here.
Book review: Day’s End by Garry Disher
Consolation by Garry Disher was the first book I’d read by the respected and renowned Australian author. It was the third book in his Constable Paul Hirschhausen (Hirsch) series and had won the 2021 Ned Kelly award for Best Crime Fiction in 2021. Disher came highly recommended, as did Consolation. And though I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it. I suspect my expectations were a tad high and though really liked Hirsch, it featured one of my pet hates – having multiple plots that don’t mesh or otherwise merge conveniently (though not logically) at the end.
Nevertheless, I very happily dug into Day’s End, the fourth in the series and enjoyed it more than its predecessor.
Book review: The Resemblance by Lauren Nossett
The Resemblance is a debut novel by former professor Lauren Nossett and she certainly writes what she knows as this is set on a University campus and delves into the culture of fraternities as well as the camaraderie that goes along with those in their late teens or early twenties thrown together – often by chance… and privilege.
I enjoyed most of the novel but felt a little let-down by the end. I think it’s possible to guess what is going to happen but I expected a bit more of a twist, hoping Nossett would take the book in a different direction. It was, I think, a lost opportunity to add another layer without convoluting the why and whodunnit.
Book review: Long Shadows by David Baldacci
I say it every time I review one of the books in this series by David Baldacci, but I love Amos Decker. Possibly not as much as I did when we first met him and I suspect that’s because his superpower (hyperthymesia) seems to be diminishing, or at least less obvious, along with his anti-social quirks. That’s not to say we’re getting a diluted ‘Memory Man’ now, but perhaps a more realistic one, more fallible and more reliant on his detecting skills than his perfect-recall.
Book review: The Tilt by Chris Hammer
The opening chapter of The Tilt by Chris Hammer is prefaced by a map and a family tree. Now, I know many people LOVE a good map but I’m spatially challenged so tend to avoid them at all costs. And the family tree had me worried that there were so many players we’d need help remembering who was who. But thankfully it’s not the case at all. Instead it gives us context and a reminder how complex lives can be in small communities.
Interestingly I also realised that you sometimes assume there can be no secrets in small towns of intertwined communities and families, but instead it can mean they’re often so well hidden or buried they’re left to fester for years.
Book reviews: 1979 & 1989 by Val McDermid
For reasons unknown I hadn’t read 1979 by Val McDermid when its sequel, 1989 arrived. I think perhaps I was a bit put-off by any mention of the IRA or money laundering and the like, as political and/or white collar crimes don’t really interest me much. (And no… I’m not sure why.)
However, a lull in new book arrivals meant I wanted to get to 1989 which naturally meant going back in time first. Because I am nothing if not anal about reading things in chronological order.
Book review: Philly Barker Investigates by Joanne Tracey
I was weirdly nervous on going into this book. Almost reluctant even. Firstly because Jo Tracey is a friend of mine. We met online and now meet in person fairly regularly and she feels like my most kindred spirit in a writing / creative way. And then there’s the fact that I’ve had a sneak peek at this book already. Which meant this was a re-read and even though it was many months ago, I worried I’d struggle to re-read it so soon.
I needn’t have stressed though because I surprised myself by becoming incredibly absorbed in Philly’s world – reading most of it in a sitting, despite not planning to do so… and only putting it aside as it was getting late and I really needed to rescue my dinner from the oven.
Book review: The Paris Mystery by Kirsty Manning
I’m not shy in sharing my antipathy towards historical fiction. If I read a synopsis and the book is set before 1960(ish) I put it aside.* Worse still novels about events from centuries ago. Perhaps that’ll change at some point. I know my taste has changed over the past couple of decades so maybe I’ll become a reader of historical non-fiction or fantasy novels at some point. Or maybe not.
Although I love Agatha Christie I’ve avoided popular series by Kerry Greenwood and Sulari Gentill (and others) because I’ve assumed I’d feel the same about historical crime fiction. However, after seeing some glowing reviews of Kirsty Manning’s latest release The Paris Mystery, I thought I should dive on in… particularly because it’s the first in a series – testing the waters or something.