Book review: The Deceptions by Suzanne Leal

Friday, April 3, 2020 Permalink

I read Suzanne Leal’s The Teacher’s Secret when it was released in 2016. I enjoyed the novel and was particularly interested in the way Leal considered society (in general) via the microcosm of a small town.

Her latest release ponders similar societal issues, though subtly. It’s one that unfolds in two timeframes, during World War II (and immediate aftermath) and the present. Well, 2010 which apparently is a decade ago though doesn’t feel like it.

The thing I like most about Leal’s work and this book in particular, is that she also challenges readers, taking us to dark places and forcing us to consider complex issues. She doesn’t spoon-feed us life lessons or shove ethical and political / societal / cultural dilemmas of today down our throats, but they’re evident nonetheless and impossible not to ponder – perhaps long after we finish reading.

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four-stars

Book review: Red Dirt Country by Fleur McDonald

Sunday, March 29, 2020 Permalink

I LOVE Fleur McDonald’s Dave Burrows series’. And yes, that apostrophe is meant to be there—I think—cos there are two of them. In case you’ve been living under a rock, McDonald is basically releasing books in two timeframes as if we’re in some weird Sliding Doors-like timewarp thingy.

In addition to an interrelated series set in the present, which features Burrows though he’s not always the headline act, McDonald takes us back in time a couple of decades (kicking off in the late 1990s) to Burrows’ early years as a cop.

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four-stars

Book review: Charlotte Pass by Lee Christine

Sunday, January 26, 2020 Permalink

Lee Christine has written several romantic suspense novels before venturing into crime fiction (which she does a great job at, I need to add), but because I’m new to Christine’s work and hadn’t heard of the setting of this novel, I kept thinking it was written by Charlotte Pass. So if I’ve slipped below and quoted Pass’s writing, I apologise in advance.

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four-stars

Book review: How to Play Dead by Jacqueline Ward

Thursday, December 19, 2019 Permalink

I read and enjoyed Jacqueline Ward’s The Perfect Ten last year. It was Ward’s debut novel and I notice, in my review, I talk about my enthusiasm to read whatever she would next publish.

Thankfully I’ve now had the opportunity to do that and both books are similarly themed – domestic noir. Men behaving badly, though (at the same time) not bastardising all men; and a reminder of the strength women can find when needed.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

Saturday, November 30, 2019 Permalink

I only requested this book for review recently, though it was released earlier this year. I’ve read two books by Peter Swanson and still remember the beguiling title of his debut… The Girl With a Clock for a Heart.

His novels are satisfyingly twisty with complex characters, usually with frailties and there’s often moral or ethical challenge at the heart of the book. His latest is no different.

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four-stars

Book review: Starting from Now by Fleur McDonald

Sunday, November 3, 2019 Permalink

I’m really enjoying this (interrelated) series by Fleur McDonald. It really doesn’t matter where you enter because each of the books works easily as a standalone. Detective Dave Burrows is the link between books, but each introduces new characters whose stories are central to the plot.

There’s usually a smidge of romance and a crime or two and they’re all set in rural or regional Australia. Given her own farming background, McDonald effortlessly conveys a real sense of the lives our characters lead and she always manages to reflect on topical issues. Here she touches on both new technology being introduced to farming communities as well as the inadvertent impact protestors can have on the animals / communities / subject matter they believe they’re protecting.

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four-stars

Book review: The Night Fire by Michael Connelly

Monday, October 21, 2019 Permalink

I was very excited when Michael Connelly started pairing long-time fan favourite Harry Bosch with newcomer Renee Ballard. It is interesting though as I think Ballard’s character is sufficiently strong and charismatic enough to carry a series on her own. Having said that the pair are perfect foils for each other. Partners but not partners. Officially, anyway. And I like there’s a recognition of what it is the other does well (or not) and a mutual respect continuing to grow between the pair.

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four-stars

Book review: Bruny by Heather Rose

Monday, October 7, 2019 Permalink

I’m fairly sure I should be ashamed of the fact that I only heard of Bruny Island recently so had some vague idea where it was. I’d been contemplating attending a writing festival in Tasmania in Huon Valley and discovered that (nearby) Bruny Island is a popular tourist destination.

So… I’d thankfully I had some idea of the context of the setting of this excellent new novel by Australian author Heather Rose which takes place in the not-too-distant future.

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four-stars