Book review: Snake Island by Ben Hobson

Thursday, August 29, 2019 Permalink

I was on a bit of a reading hiatus when Snake Island by Ben Hobson was published. I wasn’t exactly sure it was the sort of book I’d enjoy… not specifically being crime fiction or a psychological thriller. However, upon reading, it reminded me a bit of Trent Dalton’s excellent Boy Swallows Universe, though traverses less time and the events probably more tragic and futile.

I’ve read a lot of books set in small Australian towns and am very much looking forward to a session I’m attending at BAD Crime Writer’s Festival in Sydney called Country Noir because there’s something about stories set in rural and regional Australia that effortlessly reflect darkness or foreboding (am thinking of Emily O’Grady, Sofie Laguna and Jane Harper, for example). Generally there’s also a sense of community though here readers are left with a sense of some of the characters living in isolation and despair.

Continue Reading…

four-stars

Book review: Where The Dead Go by Sarah Bailey

Monday, August 5, 2019 Permalink

I’ve really been enjoying Sarah Bailey’s crime fiction series featuring Gemma Woodstock. The first novel, The Dark Lake was set in Gemma’s rural hometown of Smithson. The second (which I enjoyed more), Into The Night leapt forward a few years and was set in Melbourne.

And in this latest novel Gemma is on leave when she takes a case in Fairhaven, near Byron Bay. It’s another small Australian town but one characterised by beaches, tourists and caravan parks – offering up a quintessential Aussie coastal town, that’s a little different.

Continue Reading…

four-stars

Book review: Six Minutes by Petronella McGovern

Monday, July 1, 2019 Permalink

This book came as a bit of a surprise. I’d had an advance copy for a while but put it aside for closer to the publication date when the final version arrived and I read some publicity around it.

In some ways you’d think the whole ‘missing child’ thing had been done to death. Indeed the blurb refers to The Cry and I know I’ve read quite a lot of books about disappearing children, but this felt different. The parents were less obvious suspects, though certainly had their secrets, and there was other stuff going on behind the scenes, involving both the parents and those who last saw the missing girl.

Continue Reading…

four-stars

Book review: The Nancys by RWR McDonald

Monday, June 3, 2019 Permalink

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I adore books written from the point of view of a child narrator. I mean, it doesn’t always work… the author has to nail their all-knowing childish innocence and their voice has to be authentic, but when that happens; it can be amazing.

Which is the case with this new release, The Nancys by RWR McDonald, set on New Zealand’s south island.

Continue Reading…

four-stars

Book review: Life Before by Carmel Reilly

Saturday, May 4, 2019 Permalink

This was one of those “I have no idea what I’m about to read” type books. I mean I’d read the backcover blurb and it sounded like something I’d enjoy but wasn’t quite sure what direction the book itself would take. Would it be creepy? Would there be some horrible family secret involving the main character’s desperately evil brother? Or, is there some other reason the pair are estranged: did the SHE perhaps do something; and is riddled with guilt as a result?

And I have to admit I don’t mind going into a book without knowing where I’ll be led.

Continue Reading…

three-half-stars

Book review: Hunter by Jack Heath

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 Permalink

Canberra-based author Jack Heath released Hangman last year – his first adult novel. I enjoyed it and commented at the time on lead character Timothy Blake’s status as an anti-hero… as we learn there about his less-than-palatable predilections. (Which I still won’t mention here as they come as quite a shock in the first novel and there may be newcomers reading this….)

But he describes himself thus…

A bad guy who does bad things for bad reasons. I’m not religious, but the word damned seems to cover it. p 26

Continue Reading…

four-stars

Book review: The Orchardist’s Daughter by Karen Viggers

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 Permalink

This book by Australian author Karen Viggers took me out of my comfort zone a little as it’s a departure from my usual crime fiction / suspense genre. Having said that I do read quite a bit of general fiction nowadays but usually shy away from books showcasing all-things-fauna and flora, knowing that my mind skims detail and descriptions that normal people would find enticingly beautiful.

But of course I had no need to worry. It actually irks me that I am increasingly wrong about books and my reading taste. I’m not even judging them by the cover (as per the age-old adage) rather I get mislead by the blurb and / or title, so it’s a reminder that we need to nudge those boundaries some of us (ie. me) establish from time to time. 

Continue Reading…

four-stars

Book review: Flight Risk by Michael McGuire

Saturday, January 19, 2019 Permalink

I wasn’t sure about this book. I mentioned the fact on Instagram. Although I’m accustomed to reading about psychopaths and serial killers and the like there are certain things I don’t want floating around in my head. Like the possibility of a plane crash for example. Or being eaten by sharks.

After 9/11 and losing a couple of former work colleagues in plane crashes (when I worked for the Oz Government) I was one of those people who’d look around as I boarded a plane and wonder which one of us the TV movie would focus on… if the plane was to go down. You know… whose backstory would they share? (And I know I’m not alone in that weirdness by the way!)

I must admit there are (eventually) some scenes-I-won’t-forget-quickly, but thankfully Flight Risk doesn’t feed the paranoid tendencies too much.

Continue Reading…

three-half-stars

Book review: Dark Sacred Night by Micheal Connelly

Sunday, October 28, 2018 Permalink

I have been a relatively recent convert to Michael Connelly and his Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch series, but was excited to read The Late Show, the first in a new series featuring Detective Renee Ballard in 2017 (getting in on the ground floor kinda thing). I really liked her… she’s quirky – works nights and lives out of her van, sleeping on the beach in a tent during the day – and was left wanting more.

And she’s back in Connelly’s latest release but just when you think things can’t get any better (ie. the return of this new and fabulously interesting character) he damned well pairs her with Bosch in this outing. Oh. My. God. 

Continue Reading…

four-stars