I’ve read a number of books by Peter Swanson however missed The Kind Worth Killing, which became the first in this series. It didn’t really matter but I’d probably recommend reading it first as I was missing a bit of context here and though this offers some spoilers, I’m keen to go back and read it because I very much liked Lily, who belatedly joins in the adventures here.
Headcase by Jack Heath is the fourth in the series featuring cannibalistic problem solver Timothy Blake. Annoyingly my review of this book’s predecessor, published in 2020, mentions it ending with a bit of a twist. Alas I shared no spoilers and as I was super keen to read this, I was too impatient to go back and skim Hideout to jog my memory.
It didn’t actually matter however. I’m assuming perhaps that the love of Blake’s life, FBI agent Reese Thistle found out about his flesh-eating predilections and the pair broke up, as here he’s pining for her while working with new partner Zara on a covert CIA operation in the US.
Clarke by Holly Throsby was inspired by the high-profile disappearance of a woman (Lynette Dawson) in Australia in the early 1980s. Although the book is centred around the police’s sudden search for the body in the yard of the house in which the fictional Ginny Lawson used to live with her husband, it’s the impact that search has on the house’s new resident and neighbours that makes this a powerful and (ultimately) somewhat poignant read.
I’ve enjoyed Michael Connelly’s pairing of stalwart Harry Bosch with Renee Ballard who we first met in The Late Show, a reference to the fact that Ballard worked nights. When this opens Bosch and Ballard haven’t spoken for some time and their relationship’s tense. I was worried I’d missed something and thought their previous outing (The Dark Hours) had ended amicably.
We pick up here a year later however, and quickly learn that plans for the pair to go into business together did not come to fruition and Ballard (instead) returned to the LAPD… leaving Bosch hanging.
Broad River Station by Fleur McDonald is the latest release in the interrelated series featuring Detective Dave Burrows who heads up Barker Police Station. McDonald tends to keep the focus on outback / farming related crimes and I like that about these books and her young Dave Burrows series. It very much sets them apart from other outback or rural (Oz) crime fiction. I know nothing about farms or rural life but thanks to her own knowledge and experience, McDonald manages to effortlessly engage readers in the unfolding plot – giving us enough detail that we understand the context (and receive a smidge of education at the same time) – but aren’t overwhelmed with superfluous complex information.
One thing Jodi Picoult does and does well is highlight often-fraught realities and force readers to consider their own uncomfortable opinions and assumptions. I’ve mentioned this as she’s written about racism and reproductive rights and (most recently) COVID. Here she tackles a few complex issues – including something I won’t mention as it’s a spoiler.
But we also spend time with a mother – who endured an abusive relationship until her son was 6 years of age – now forced to question whether her son is capable of the same violent behaviour as his father… either inherited DNA infecting his make-up or by witnessing (when young) his father’s actions.
The opening chapter of The Tilt by Chris Hammer is prefaced by a map and a family tree. Now, I know many people LOVE a good map but I’m spatially challenged so tend to avoid them at all costs. And the family tree had me worried that there were so many players we’d need help remembering who was who. But thankfully it’s not the case at all. Instead it gives us context and a reminder how complex lives can be in small communities.
Interestingly I also realised that you sometimes assume there can be no secrets in small towns of intertwined communities and families, but instead it can mean they’re often so well hidden or buried they’re left to fester for years.
I’m not shy in sharing my antipathy towards historical fiction. If I read a synopsis and the book is set before 1960(ish) I put it aside.* Worse still novels about events from centuries ago. Perhaps that’ll change at some point. I know my taste has changed over the past couple of decades so maybe I’ll become a reader of historical non-fiction or fantasy novels at some point. Or maybe not.
Although I love Agatha Christie I’ve avoided popular series by Kerry Greenwood and Sulari Gentill (and others) because I’ve assumed I’d feel the same about historical crime fiction. However, after seeing some glowing reviews of Kirsty Manning’s latest release The Paris Mystery, I thought I should dive on in… particularly because it’s the first in a series – testing the waters or something.
Wildflowers is the first book I’ve read by Peggy Frew and I’m torn. Frew’s certainly a talented and emotive writer but I wasn’t as enamoured as I could have been… or perhaps expected to be. I think it’s predominantly because the backcover blurb suggests that the three sisters travel to Far North Queensland to support the youngest to detox in the present. So when the book opens and we meet the middle sister, Nina, I assumed the trip (and main story arc of the book) was yet to come. But instead we discover the trip took place in the past. And that threw me a little. (Though) I’m not sure why.