Consolation by Garry Disher was the first book I’d read by the respected and renowned Australian author. It was the third book in his Constable Paul Hirschhausen (Hirsch) series and had won the 2021 Ned Kelly award for Best Crime Fiction in 2021. Disher came highly recommended, as did Consolation. And though I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it. I suspect my expectations were a tad high and though really liked Hirsch, it featured one of my pet hates – having multiple plots that don’t mesh or otherwise merge conveniently (though not logically) at the end.
Tom Baragwanath is a New Zealand-born writer living in Paris. I mentioned recently (in my review of the anthology, Dark Deeds Down Under) I don’t read a lot of NZ authors so wonder if that’s why I was occasionally a little lost here with some terminology.
It’s often the case when I read French, Italian or Nordic crime fiction as I really (really) don’t understand their law enforcement hierarchy but here – weirdly (given our proximity to our good friends across the ditch) I found myself confused by phrases and colloquialisms.
This is the second in the series by Sarah Thornton featuring former lawyer Clementine Jones. We learned in the first outing Lapse, that Jones had been convicted of drink driving and a woman died as a result – although I did think there was perhaps more to that story. She spent a lot of time in the first novel keeping that secret, but it’s not the case here and her history seems to be more accessible.
Lapse was set in Katinga in rural Australia, but this opens with (the elegant) mention of tidal flats and the ocean. Here Jones is housesitting and Thornton certainly offers eloquent imagery of Australia’s coastline. The setting was of interest to me as it’s actually in my back yard… near the Great Sandy Straits, set in the tiny fictional town of Piama. (I assume it’s fictional as I’ve never heard of it.)
I’ve always regretted I didn’t read The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong*. It won’t surprise those who know how literarily illiterate I am that – because it came out late in the year – I actually assumed it was one of the Christmas-time sports books aimed at an easy gift for dads. 🙄
I’ve only heard amazing things about it so leapt at the chance to read Serong’s latest release. What I hadn’t realised about The Burning Island however, was that it is historical fiction (which isn’t a favourite of mine) and that it is actually the sequel to his earlier work Preservation.
It meant I probably didn’t appreciate the story on offer as much as I might otherwise have but I could certainly appreciate his beautiful prose and vivid descriptions of the islands of the Bass Strait and harsh coastline and living conditions of the time.
For some reason I don’t see new release listings for some publishers. Text Publishing is one, though one of my favourite books in the last few years was one of theirs – Toni Jordan’s The Fragments.
I’ve engaged with debut author Sarah Thornton on Twitter and hadn’t seen the first in this series featuring former corporate lawyer, Clementine Jones when it came out a couple of months ago. I’m glad to have caught up however. It takes us a while to learn why Clementine has left her previous life in Sydney (and I suspect Thornton will eke that out slowly) but when we meet her here she’s had an unlikely career change.
I fell in love with Toni Jordan’s Addition, published in 2008. The Fragments is Jordan’s fifth book. I missed it when it was released in Australia last year but managed to get an electronic copy and… let’s just say I was (again) smitten.