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: Remember Me by Charity Norman

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 Permalink

Remember Me by Charity Norman is the second novel I’ve read by the New Zealand author. It’s centred around Emily, a woman in her 40s, who’s returned to NZ to look after her father who has dementia. In the background lurks the mystery of a young woman who disappeared twenty-five years earlier, setting off to hike an area she knew well, but never returning.

This is more intriguing than edge-of-your-seat suspenseful. Leah’s disappearance casts a shadow over their small town and but also over Emily’s relationship with her father as she unearths secrets hidden for over two decades.

four-stars

Book review: The Cane by Maryrose Cuskelly

Saturday, February 19, 2022 Permalink

The Cane by Maryrose Cuskelly was an unexpected delight. Not because I didn’t think it would offer up a great mystery… which it did. Indeed it’s wonderfully atmospheric. Rural noir at its most noir-ish.

What enchanted me the most was the nostalgia this book brought with it. The blurb mentions the 1970s but I assumed it was going to be set in the present with some reflections on the past, when in fact… all of it is set in the 1970s and – as someone born at the end of the 1960s so in my formative years over the next decade or so – this brought back soooo many memories and Cuskelly effortlessly took me back to my childhood again and again.

four-stars

Book review: Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

Tuesday, December 21, 2021 Permalink

I used to love Jodi Picoult’s books. Some felt a bit obvious or preachy, or perhaps overly spiritual but they were full of emotion yet subtly poignant. However… after some time they became a bit sameish and it felt like I was reading the same story, with different players and themes in a different setting.

Having said that I very much appreciated some of the themes she’s tackled in a nuanced way recently, such as racism in Small Great Things and women’s reproductive rights in A Spark of Light. I felt like her last book, The Book of Two Ways, was a bit of a departure and I’m afraid I put it aside, the detail of Egyptian history and language being too much for me.

Her latest, Wish You Were Here, is a difficult read to describe. You think it’s going to be one thing. But then it’s not. And for a while I really liked where it was heading. But then there’s a change of direction again. It was obviously an important book to her however and Picoult has written a note in the back describing why she felt impassioned to write it.

four-stars

Book review: Kill Your Brother by Jack Heath

Tuesday, November 30, 2021 Permalink

I was a bit nervous going into Kill Your Brother by Jack Heath as we’re told the premise: it’s a bit of a kill or be killed kinda scenario and I had flashbacks to Eeny Meeny by MJ Arlidge, a novel in which couples or pairs are captured and have to do just that.

But Heath goes further here. Thankfully it isn’t just a gladiator-style fight to the death, but far more complex – both in terms of our characters and the depth of their backstories and personalities as well as the events unfolding in the present.

four-stars

Book review: The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly

Tuesday, November 9, 2021 Permalink

I love Michael Connelly’s Detective Renee Ballard series, even more so in the recent novels in which he’s paired her with his stalwart Harry Bosch.

Ballard’s a bit of a lone wolf in LAPD and normally works alone, so – despite Bosch’s murky reputation with his former colleagues – I like the collaborative ‘smarts’ and insight we see when the pair join forces… not to mention the mutual respect and camaraderie.

four-half-stars

Book review: Treasure & Dirt by Chris Hammer

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 Permalink

I’ve very much enjoyed all three books in the Martin Scarsden series by Chris Hammer. I’m constantly surprised how easily the former journalist can transition from reporting cold hard facts to articulating the beauty of the landscape or settings of his books. It’s about his ability to string together words I realise. Something hard to explain or define, but when it’s done well… you know it.

His latest book, Treasure & Dirt, doesn’t feature Scarsden but it’s kinda Scarsden-adjacent as it features police officers we’ve met in that series.

four-stars

Book review: Just Murdered by Katherine Kovacic

Tuesday, August 3, 2021 Permalink

I’ve written a number of times here about my love for Miss Phryne Fisher – 1920s icon, lady detective and adventuress. I wasn’t aware of the delightful character who’s (now) featured in over twenty Kerry Greenwood books before discovering her almost a decade ago via the ABCTV show, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

It meant I was excited by the 2019 small screen arrival of Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, featuring Phryne’s niece Peregrine.

four-stars