I must make a confession… I have absolutely no interest in visiting America. None. Zip. So I’m probably not the ideal audience for The Roadmap of Loss by Liam Murphy which is ostensibly centred around a roadtrip around the US. Although… of course however, the book is about more than roadtripping – it’s about a young man coming to terms with the loss of his mother and (belatedly) the disappearance (and loss) of his father from his life two decades earlier.
I never read non-fiction, predominantly because I read to escape so I don’t actually want reality. I usually however also struggle with the structure of non-fiction books, even when events are running chronologically there’s overlap and most just don’t work (for me!).
I was keen to read The Schoolgirl Strangler by Katherine Kovacic however, because I like her writing and met her at an event in 2019. At the time she commented on coming across these cases when researching her first book, the Ned Kelly Award-nominated The Portrait of Molly Dean. So I figured I’d push myself out of my comfort zone to kick off 2021.
I met Melbourne author Katherine Kovacic at the BAD Sydney Crime Writers’ Festival in late 2019. Her first book, The Portrait of Molly Dean was a finalist for Australia’s premier crime-fiction award, The Ned Kelly Awards.
I’d heard of the book but as I’d assumed it was historical non-fiction I hadn’t read it (usually preferring to chew off my arm than read either historical fiction or non-fiction). But after meeting Kovacic and learning more about the book, I bought it and was enchanted.
I missed Resurrection Bay when it was released in 2015. Of course I’ve no excuse now (four years later) for not reading a copy of the much-lauded debut novel by Emma Viskic. And. I. Really. Must. Read. It.
I read her second And Fire Came Down, also featuring Caleb Zelic, but – though I loved Viskic’s writing – I didn’t get the hype over the main character (and therefore the series he was carrying).
Viskic’s new release Darkness for Light, the third in the series however is my favourite so far (noting of course I’ve not read the first!). I devoured this in a sitting and engaged with Caleb far more than I did in the previous book. I’m not entirely sure why that is… but here I really enjoyed the time I spent with him and now can’t wait for more.
It’s hard not to use the word atmospheric when writing about this book. It’s certainly that and continues the fine tradition I’ve experienced recently with Tasmanian crime fiction and small-town noir.
Set in Tasmania’s winter this – I assume to be the first in a new series – offers readers a sense of bleak and dismal foreboding – in a good way – well-suited to the book’s dark storyline and some long-hidden sinister secrets.