Book review: Black River by Matthew Spencer

Friday, June 17, 2022 Permalink

Black River by Matthew Spencer opens with a murderous bang. Is it just me or is it kinda confronting when we’re introduced to a character on commencement of a book only to have them killed a la Drew Barrymore, Scream-like, upon meeting them? Although Spencer doesn’t have us ‘bond’ with the victim, it reminded me of Linwood Barclay’s Take Your Breath Away which I read earlier this year and opened by putting readers in the point-of-view of someone who was almost immediately killed. Which helped me deduce that THEY were not, in fact, going to be the lead protagonist. 💡

four-stars

Book review: Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor

Wednesday, June 15, 2022 Permalink

Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor won several awards before it was even published, taking out the Kill Your Darlings (literary magazine) Unpublished Manuscript Award and being shortlisted for Penguin’s Literary Prize. And it’s certainly worthy of those accolades, in addition to the glowing reviews I’ve been seeing on social media.

Scrivenor’s writing is stunning and her character development and story arc (here) perfectly paced. She manages to offer readers both a sense of urgency – in the search for a missing girl – but also recreate that small-town (claustrophobic) laconic pace so you can feel the town, its occupants and secrets, dragging you down.

four-half-stars

Book review: Rising Dust by Fleur McDonald

Thursday, March 31, 2022 Permalink

Western Australian-based author Fleur McDonald includes a note at the start of this novel, commenting on how this series – featuring a young Detective Dave Burrows ultimately connects to her other (contemporary) series – featuring an older Dave. It’s meant all along those who’ve read both series know about the demise of Dave’s first marriage but McDonald expertly eked that storyline out… until now.

The events of the previous book in this series, Something to Hide, were fairly catastrophic and something from which there’s no going back. McDonald’s latest, features Dave in the aftermath of that, grappling with his future and potentially the loss of his family. Amidst some good old outback crime of course.

four-stars

Book review: Daughters of Eve by Nina D Campbell

Tuesday, March 29, 2022 Permalink

Daughters of Eve by Nina D Campbell opens with a bang and continues from there. I actually chuckled at the opening line and was hopeful the novel might continue in that droll cliché-ridden gumshoe style of voice (cos I miss Robert B Parker!).

It doesn’t but Campbell’s written the novel from the point of view of Detective Emilia Hart, who’s an engaging and likeable lead. She’s not perfect but not overly flawed so certainly relatable, and the perfect host for this debut outing.

four-stars

Book review: Prisoner by SR White

Thursday, October 7, 2021 Permalink

SR White’s debut novel Hermit was a real sleeper for me. It lured me in and had me intrigued before throwing in some huge twists. Someone I follow on social media said his next novel Prisoner, also featuring cop Dana Russo, was their favourite book this year, so I went in with high expectations.

Which, in retrospect wasn’t entirely fair as I kept thinking I’d again be blown away by ridiculously inexplicable reveals at the end. He does…. and I suspect they are mind-blowing, but less-so when you’ve been waiting for them.

four-stars

Book review: Unholy Murder by Lynda LaPlante

Friday, August 27, 2021 Permalink

Unholy Murder is the seventh in the (young) Jane Tennison series. It wasn’t until I started writing this review that I reflected on how Jane’s changed over the course of the books (ie. her career to date). I’m actually quite sure how LaPlante is pacing these but we’re in the 1980s now and obviously getting closer to the original Prime Suspect books and series time-wise.

This series is also a bit of a study in culture and society as – unlike the earliest books – Jane seems to be readily accepted as a police officer now. Definitely respected by her contemporaries and not viewed as an anomaly by the public.

three-half-stars

Book review: Mirror Man by Fiona McIntosh

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 Permalink

Mirror Man by Fiona McIntosh is the third in the series featuring Scotland Yard detective Jack Hawksworth, promoted here to Detective Superintendent.

I’ve commented in my review of the two previous books that I very much like that McIntosh presents Jack as a likeable boss and his own supervisor is also a good friend of his. It’s a nice change from the usual bastard-like guv’ners we meet in most novels featuring police personnel.

three-half-stars

Book review: The Girl Remains by Katherine Firkin

Saturday, May 15, 2021 Permalink

Australian author Katherine Firkin introduced readers to Detective Emmett Corban in Sticks and Stones. At the time I expected it would become part of a series and – as always – I was right. (Why doth thou doubt me?! Or something.) It doesn’t matter if you missed the first book however as, though I re-read my old review for context, only a few characters are featured here and there’s no background required.

I really liked our lead, Emmett in the first novel, here however it was the plot that interested me the most – particularly the events of twenty years earlier which set up an intriguing cold case mystery.

three-half-stars

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.

four-stars