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

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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four-stars

Book review: A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

Saturday, October 6, 2018 Permalink

Jodi Picoult is probably known best for some of her early work and I too was an early adopter, reading anything and everything she wrote in the early 2000s.

I drifted away for a while, but was impressed with her 2016 novel Small Great Things which centred around race and the related notions of privilege and guilt.

Her latest, A Spark of Light is set in a women’s centre, one of a few remaining clinics in Mississipi to offer a range of reproductive choices to women, including terminations.

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 Permalink

I read a comment on Goodreads about this book which went something like… “You know you’ve made it as an author when your name is larger than the title of the book on the cover.” They were speaking about Kate Morton of course, the English-dwelling Aussie and very popular author of a number of epic tomes.

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four-stars

Book review: We See The Stars by Kate Van Hooft

Saturday, August 11, 2018 Permalink

This is a really hard review to write. For most of this book I was blown away by Kate Van Hooft’s writing and her metaphorical and bewilderingly beautiful prose.

I was waiting for the climax – which I knew was coming from the backcover blurb – but it was very late in eventuating. And then the book finished. And I have no f*cking idea what happened.

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four-stars

Book review: Scrublands by Chris Hammer

Monday, July 30, 2018 Permalink

I’d had this book for a while before tucking into it Saturday evening in the bath. I wasn’t too sure it was for me, though I’m not sure why. Perhaps some antipathy towards what felt like ANOTHER book about small town or rural Australia? I’m not sure.

But… holy shit, this book blew me away! I was hooked from the get-go. The opening scene (prologue) is great. And kinda dire. The writing is excellent, the plot intriguing and the lead character, Martin is both enigmatic and very (very) real all at once. 

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four-half-stars

Book review: Bluebottle by Belinda Castles

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 Permalink

Although I’ve read quite a few books lately by Australian authors – most set in outback or rural Oz – there was something quintessentially Australian about this novel by Belinda Castles. I suspect the sense of place she offers via the beachside setting combined with the purposely lazy and languid language has something to do with that.

The novel perhaps didn’t (ultimately) quite get to where I would have liked, but – for a range of reasons – resonated strongly.

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three-half-stars