Dare I admit that I think this is my first Fleur McDonald book? (And on that note can we have a round of applause for my recent spate of courage – in terms of reading outside my genre. Or at least thinking I’m about to.)
I’ve mentioned many times that I avoid romance novels… particularly rural romance the like and I suspect the cover of other books by McDonald might have led me to believe I was about to swagger bow-legged down that path. But perhaps I never read the blurbs, as her latest most certainly sounds like my reading bread and butter.
by Fleur McDonald
Series: Detective Dave Burrows
Published by Allen & Unwin
on November 1st 2016
Source: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Fiona Forrest is devastated when her husband Charlie commits suicide after the accidental shooting of his mate, Eddie. Though Fiona decides to keep farming their successful property, rumours that she intends to sell keep circulating.
When Detective Dave Burrows arrives to sign off on the investigation into Eddie's death his suspicions are aroused by some strange anomalies at the scene. As Dave becomes increasingly convinced that something sinister is going on, Fiona finds herself dealing with a series of disasters on the farm...
As it happens, rather than being rural romance, Sapphire Falls is more reminiscent of the recent wonderful read – The Dry – by Jane Harper. Intrigue in the outback. Kinda.
The book kicks off with the event that changes Fiona’s life… along with her husband’s. And when Charlie takes his own life Fiona’s left to pick up the pieces and do everything she can to prevent losing their farm.
Interestingly Fiona meets Dave’s wife, Kim and the pair click, but Dave’s involvement in Fiona’s life is merely coincidental. It seems some young local police officers rushed the ‘investigation’ and Dave believes there are a lot of unanswered questions about the accidental shooting. And perhaps Charlie’s suicide.
As Dave digs deeper Fiona’s spidey senses tingle and she feels as if she and her property are under threat. Constant rumours that she’s planning to sell won’t abate and challenge after challenge pushes her to the edge.
We’re also privy to another case, under investigation by a young officer Dave’s attempting to mentor in Adelaide… one involving a series of rapes that have been escalating in violence.
And there are a few side-stories to keep us busy… though I’m not sure all were necessary: I must admit I wasn’t sure of McDonald’s need to put Kim and Dave through the wringer on this occasion; and didn’t fully understand the backstory involving Charlie and his parents. Others are of interest however, as Fiona’s high-maintenance mother indulges in some romance and Fiona’s best friend Jo seems to be struggling with something.
There’s a whisper for future romance for Fiona, but nothing too tangible and this romantic suspense leans very heavily on the latter. I liked Mc Donald’s character development and she gives us some strong female role models and not-too-stereotypical country blokes.
I also liked the contemporary feel McDonald offers up via Fiona’s relationship with her brother, and their Facebook conversations offered another sense of intimacy that many who don’t dabble in the online world don’t understand.
I enjoyed this book far more than I expected and realise I’ll now have to catch up on some of McDonald’s other work. Which really won’t help reduce my current to-be-read pile.
Sapphire Falls by Fleur McDonald will be published in Australia by Allen & Unwin on 26 October 2016.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.