Book review: Snake Island by Ben Hobson

Thursday, August 29, 2019 Permalink

I was on a bit of a reading hiatus when Snake Island by Ben Hobson was published. I wasn’t exactly sure it was the sort of book I’d enjoy… not specifically being crime fiction or a psychological thriller. However, upon reading, it reminded me a bit of Trent Dalton’s excellent Boy Swallows Universe, though traverses less time and the events probably more tragic and futile.

I’ve read a lot of books set in small Australian towns and am very much looking forward to a session I’m attending at BAD Crime Writer’s Festival in Sydney called Country Noir because there’s something about stories set in rural and regional Australia that effortlessly reflect darkness or foreboding (am thinking of Emily O’Grady, Sofie Laguna and Jane Harper, for example). Generally there’s also a sense of community though here readers are left with a sense of some of the characters living in isolation and despair.

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four-stars

Book review: The Dirty Dozen by Lynda La Plante

Monday, August 19, 2019 Permalink

It wasn’t until after I read this book (that) it occurred to me we can’t be that far from the Jane Tennison we eventually meet in the Prime Suspect series. Though I guess a decade is a lifetime in Jane’s world.

In the last book in this series Murder Mile, I commented that there seemed to be less sexist crap (misogynist bullshit I think I said) than in previous novels, but sadly her entry into the all-male Flying Squad, sees Jane yet again struggling with prejudice despite ‘integration’ seven years earlier.

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four-stars

Book review: Where The Dead Go by Sarah Bailey

Monday, August 5, 2019 Permalink

I’ve really been enjoying Sarah Bailey’s crime fiction series featuring Gemma Woodstock. The first novel, The Dark Lake was set in Gemma’s rural hometown of Smithson. The second (which I enjoyed more), Into The Night leapt forward a few years and was set in Melbourne.

And in this latest novel Gemma is on leave when she takes a case in Fairhaven, near Byron Bay. It’s another small Australian town but one characterised by beaches, tourists and caravan parks – offering up a quintessential Aussie coastal town, that’s a little different.

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four-stars

Book review: Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

Sunday, August 4, 2019 Permalink

I’ve long been a fan of Laura Lippman: her standalone novels as well as her (reporter-turned-PI) Tess Monaghan series.

In my review of Sunburn I note that Lippman is vague about the timing of plot elements so is able to keep we readers guessing. And here, in her latest standalone, she adopts the interesting approach of introducing a lot – like lots and lots – of narrators…. some of whom we meet but briefly. It could be confusing, but it actually works well. And is kinda clever.

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four-stars

Book review: Six Minutes by Petronella McGovern

Monday, July 1, 2019 Permalink

This book came as a bit of a surprise. I’d had an advance copy for a while but put it aside for closer to the publication date when the final version arrived and I read some publicity around it.

In some ways you’d think the whole ‘missing child’ thing had been done to death. Indeed the blurb refers to The Cry and I know I’ve read quite a lot of books about disappearing children, but this felt different. The parents were less obvious suspects, though certainly had their secrets, and there was other stuff going on behind the scenes, involving both the parents and those who last saw the missing girl.

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four-stars

Book review: The Nancys by RWR McDonald

Monday, June 3, 2019 Permalink

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I adore books written from the point of view of a child narrator. I mean, it doesn’t always work… the author has to nail their all-knowing childish innocence and their voice has to be authentic, but when that happens; it can be amazing.

Which is the case with this new release, The Nancys by RWR McDonald, set on New Zealand’s south island.

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four-stars

Book review: The Better Sister by Alafair Burke

Friday, May 24, 2019 Permalink

Every time I read one of her books I confess my love for Alafair Burke. I’m not as wedded to her series with Mary Higgins Clark as I am to her solo books, but she has offered up consistently good legal thrillers for years. Plus I like the way she interacts on social media. #seriously

I also like that her books often offer a taste of contemporary culture and politics – here through the #MeToo and #ThemToo movement as well as light (and deft) reference to the current US political and legislative environment.

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four-stars

Book review: Life Before by Carmel Reilly

Saturday, May 4, 2019 Permalink

This was one of those “I have no idea what I’m about to read” type books. I mean I’d read the backcover blurb and it sounded like something I’d enjoy but wasn’t quite sure what direction the book itself would take. Would it be creepy? Would there be some horrible family secret involving the main character’s desperately evil brother? Or, is there some other reason the pair are estranged: did the SHE perhaps do something; and is riddled with guilt as a result?

And I have to admit I don’t mind going into a book without knowing where I’ll be led.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Without a Doubt by Fleur McDonald

Friday, March 29, 2019 Permalink

My mother saw this book sitting on the bedside table a few weeks ago, “Oh a new Fleur McDonald!” she exclaimed. Her knowledge surprised me, though I don’t know why as she reads all of the books I receive and has the same level of interest. (My brother and I had to get our love of reading from somewhere!)

“It’s a young Dave Burrows one,” I told her. And she knew what I meant… we were stepping back in time… albeit to 1999, which seems like yesterday. But… apparently isn’t.

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four-stars