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.
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.
Let me just start by saying, when I grow up I want to be 12 year old Tippy Chan. Or at least occupy her world along with her pragmatic mother Helen, her eccentric Uncle Pike and his mostly over-the-top partner (and Tippy’s honorary sissy) Devon.
It’s so easy to get lost in the world RWR McDonald creates, that it seems very real. I feel sad at the thought of leaving them behind each time I turn the last page. Although – in reality – it feels as if it’s I’m the one being left behind.
I apologise in advance for the superlatives but I do not know how else to adequately describe how much I loved this book. I’d requested it as it sounded interesting but had I been aware of the astounding beauty of Jacqueline Bublitz’s writing, and how compassionately and poignantly she unfurls Alice’s story I would have devoured it the moment it arrived.
I mentioned recently that books with dead narrators have become a little passé since Alice Sebold’s Lovely Bones was published in 2002. We’re no longer shocked or horrified or even that uncomfortable to be in the head of the recently deceased. Here however Bublitz manages to bring something new via the voice of a teenage girl we meet and then lose far too early. She allows us to spend time with Alice before ripping her out of her world – and though we’re left with the sense of anger, frustration and sadness that everything has been taken from her as she’s on the cusp of happiness – we’re also comforted by her continued presence.
Somehow I missed Emily Maguire’s popular and critically acclaimed An Isolated Incident so I was excited to receive her latest novel, Love Objects, for review. I realised as soon as I started reading that I wasn’t familiar with her writing. Her sentences are long, almost verbose*. And perhaps because of this, her prose is lyrical and quite lovely.
Very weirdly it was the second book I’d read about a hoarder in a couple of weeks. I’m not sure if the focus on minimalism has shone the light on its polar opposite or whether hoarder reality TV shows have inspired authors.
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.
I blame our lack of daylight saving but I’ve been waking early which was my excuse for starting Jack Heath’s latest release Hideout at 5am in the bath accompanied by diet coke (my caffeine of choice) and brownies (the… ahem, breakfast of champions).
As is my habit, before starting a new book in a series I re-read my review of its predecessor. And in my review of the second in the Timothy Blake series, Hunter, I commented that we were left with a cliff-hanger. Annoyingly I don’t include spoilers in my posts which meant I had to get out of the bath and get my copy of Hunter off the shelf to re-read the ending. (Surely risking my neck on wet slippery tiles.)
I didn’t receive Honeybee by Craig Silvey for review but had only seen positive comments about it so leapt at the chance when a friend suggested I borrow her copy.
On contemplating this book I was very much reminded of a comment I made after reading Favel Parrett’s When The Night Comes – about people coming into our lives when we most need them. Here, for Sam it’s ostensibly Vic. But through Vic it’s also nurse by day and drag queen by night Peter / Fella Bitzgerald and Vic’s neighbour, young Aggie.
Because of Hammer’s own background he’s effortlessly able to instil a realism in his lead, investigative journalist Martin Scarsden. It reveals itself in everything from the way Scarsden has strange memorabilia from warzones around his old apartment, to the way he’s able to find information from sources at the drop of a hat, to the instinctive hunt when he’s on a case.