Dead Tide by Fiona McIntosh is the fourth in the popular DCI Jack Hawksworth series and when it opens Jack is lecturing at University while recovering from injuries resulting from his last outing.
We’re not yet in 2023 and I already wonder if In the Blink of an Eye by Jo Callaghan will be one of my favourite books released in that year. It’s a debut novel that feels as if it’s written by a seasoned author. One who’s confident with their craft and characters they’ve created. In fact, I did check a couple of times to see if our lead, Detective Chief Superintendent Kat Frank had featured in previous outings.
She hasn’t but I loved that Callaghan gives us a senior, experienced and confident protagonist and one who’s a significant way through her career and life. Kat’s likeable but has baggage. She’s talented but also fallible.
Retribution by Sarah Barrie is the second in the series featuring (former sex worker and computer hacker) Lexi as well as DI Rachael Langley and her nephew Finn Carson (also a cop), and I for one was excited by their return as I really liked Lexi when she was introduced in Unforgiven.
Here she’s joined the police and when the book opens is on nightshift with a likeable new partner and mentor while secretly continuing to chase after Damon Vaughn, the man who’d tried to kill her when we last met.
I’ve enjoyed Michael Connelly’s pairing of stalwart Harry Bosch with Renee Ballard who we first met in The Late Show, a reference to the fact that Ballard worked nights. When this opens Bosch and Ballard haven’t spoken for some time and their relationship’s tense. I was worried I’d missed something and thought their previous outing (The Dark Hours) had ended amicably.
We pick up here a year later however, and quickly learn that plans for the pair to go into business together did not come to fruition and Ballard (instead) returned to the LAPD… leaving Bosch hanging.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Binding Room by Nadine Matheson is the second in the series featuring Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley.
We pick up where we left off after The Jigsaw Man and Henley and her colleagues are still grappling with their lives being put at risk and a killer potentially on the run. We’re straight into the action however as the team picks up the case of a murdered pastor who had no shortage of enemies.