Book review: The Curfew by TM Logan

Thursday, May 19, 2022 Permalink

As a non-parent I got tired of books about parenting – warring parents and those judging others so have been trying to steer clear of them. The Curfew by TM Logan includes an element of that… relationships between parents and their kids and with other parents, but it’s more about parents trying to get to the bottom of a mystery involving their son… and forced to ponder the extent of that involvement.

So this appealed to mystery-loving me. Someone goes missing. It’s not who we initially think. Or even who we next think. And even then there’s a weird silence around the missing person. Teenaged friends with them at the time are strangely silent when it’s obvious they should be doing everything they can to help them be found. Unless of course they have some other ulterior motive. But how on earth do you get a group of teenagers to keep a secret without one of them caving…. ?

four-stars

Book review: Rising Dust by Fleur McDonald

Thursday, March 31, 2022 Permalink

Western Australian-based author Fleur McDonald includes a note at the start of this novel, commenting on how this series – featuring a young Detective Dave Burrows ultimately connects to her other (contemporary) series – featuring an older Dave. It’s meant all along those who’ve read both series know about the demise of Dave’s first marriage but McDonald expertly eked that storyline out… until now.

The events of the previous book in this series, Something to Hide, were fairly catastrophic and something from which there’s no going back. McDonald’s latest, features Dave in the aftermath of that, grappling with his future and potentially the loss of his family. Amidst some good old outback crime of course.

four-stars

Book review: Daughters of Eve by Nina D Campbell

Tuesday, March 29, 2022 Permalink

Daughters of Eve by Nina D Campbell opens with a bang and continues from there. I actually chuckled at the opening line and was hopeful the novel might continue in that droll cliché-ridden gumshoe style of voice (cos I miss Robert B Parker!).

It doesn’t but Campbell’s written the novel from the point of view of Detective Emilia Hart, who’s an engaging and likeable lead. She’s not perfect but not overly flawed so certainly relatable, and the perfect host for this debut outing.

four-stars

Book review: Remember Me by Charity Norman

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 Permalink

Remember Me by Charity Norman is the second novel I’ve read by the New Zealand author. It’s centred around Emily, a woman in her 40s, who’s returned to NZ to look after her father who has dementia. In the background lurks the mystery of a young woman who disappeared twenty-five years earlier, setting off to hike an area she knew well, but never returning.

This is more intriguing than edge-of-your-seat suspenseful. Leah’s disappearance casts a shadow over their small town and but also over Emily’s relationship with her father as she unearths secrets hidden for over two decades.

four-stars

Book review: Loveland by Robert Lukins

Wednesday, March 2, 2022 Permalink

Loveland is the first book I’ve read by Robert Lukins so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Something terribly literary or esoteric I suspect as I know he writes for a number of literary magazines and journals here in Australia.

As it happened I did not flounder about in a state of bewildered confusion. I absolutely adore/d Lukins’s writing. His ability to craft phrases and sentences in a way that they offer so much more than what’s on the page is extraordinary. And far from an unfathomable metaphor I was unable to unravel, Loveland is a very enjoyable novel. About real people and only on a couple of occasions and at the very end did it dip into something possibly beyond my very literal comprehension.

four-half-stars

Book review: The Cane by Maryrose Cuskelly

Saturday, February 19, 2022 Permalink

The Cane by Maryrose Cuskelly was an unexpected delight. Not because I didn’t think it would offer up a great mystery… which it did. Indeed it’s wonderfully atmospheric. Rural noir at its most noir-ish.

What enchanted me the most was the nostalgia this book brought with it. The blurb mentions the 1970s but I assumed it was going to be set in the present with some reflections on the past, when in fact… all of it is set in the 1970s and – as someone born at the end of the 1960s so in my formative years over the next decade or so – this brought back soooo many memories and Cuskelly effortlessly took me back to my childhood again and again.

four-stars

Book review: Dead Horse Gap by Lee Christine

Friday, February 4, 2022 Permalink

Dead Horse Gap by Lee Christine is the third book I’ve read by the New South Wales-based author. They’re part of a series but Christine’s able to fairly easily provide context so it’s not problematic if you come in partway through. Reading them as a series though, does allow you to know the characters a little better and gives readers a sense we’ve travelled on that journey (#sorrynotsorry) with them. It’s particularly true in the case of two newer police officers, Mitch and Nerida, who benefit from the guidance and experience of their boss DS Pierce Ryder.

The series is set in and around the Snowy Mountains and as it’s not an environment I’m at all familiar with, I love the ease with which Christine is able to place readers amidst the snow fields, reflecting the crisp clean icy weather and the difficult terrain.

four-stars

Book review: 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

Thursday, January 27, 2022 Permalink

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard is the first book I’ve read to centre around the Coronavirus. I mean, it’s not specifically about the virus but its plot turns upon the arrival of the virus in Ireland in 2020 and its resulting upheaval.

Of course many other novels have started to reference Covid in some way or another. Generally it’s a reflection on recent concerns or extra cautions required, but 56 Days is very much about the early days of the virus and I was surprised at how evocative this was. I quite enjoyed being reminded of our thoughts and feelings back then. When we knew so little.

Having said that this is also a murder mystery so… Covid really only provides the opportunity.

four-stars

Book review: Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

Tuesday, December 21, 2021 Permalink

I used to love Jodi Picoult’s books. Some felt a bit obvious or preachy, or perhaps overly spiritual but they were full of emotion yet subtly poignant. However… after some time they became a bit sameish and it felt like I was reading the same story, with different players and themes in a different setting.

Having said that I very much appreciated some of the themes she’s tackled in a nuanced way recently, such as racism in Small Great Things and women’s reproductive rights in A Spark of Light. I felt like her last book, The Book of Two Ways, was a bit of a departure and I’m afraid I put it aside, the detail of Egyptian history and language being too much for me.

Her latest, Wish You Were Here, is a difficult read to describe. You think it’s going to be one thing. But then it’s not. And for a while I really liked where it was heading. But then there’s a change of direction again. It was obviously an important book to her however and Picoult has written a note in the back describing why she felt impassioned to write it.

four-stars