Book review: The Community by Christine Gregory

Sunday, July 14, 2024 Permalink

The Community by Christine Gregory was a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t sure what to expect but found I appreciated that it was set just a couple of hours from where I live, so I knew of places Gregory mentions, including a trip into the inner eastern suburbs of Brisbane where I used to live. I also liked journalist Lars Nilsson who prefers to keep to himself but is forced to be more involved with the local community when a dead body is found.

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four-stars

Book review: For Everything a Time by Mark McAvaney

Friday, May 10, 2024 Permalink

For Everything a Time by Mark McAvaney unfolds in the past (1990) and present (2003) and one of the things I loved most about this bittersweet novel is how many memories it brought back from both times.

It’s a story about family and friendship and I was reminded of those friendships we develop when young, in our formative years… sometimes merely out of circumstance or proximity but there’s something foundational about them that impacts the way we live the rest of our lives.

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four-stars

Book review: It Takes a Town by Aoife Clifford

Monday, April 1, 2024 Permalink

It Takes a Town by Aoife Clifford is the fourth book I’ve read by the Aussie author who I had the pleasure of meeting in person at a crime-writers festival in 2019. Her latest is a little slow to get started but ultimately offers up multiple twists and some perplexing moral dilemmas, but also (most importantly) poses a question that I reflected on in another review recently. Whether the actions of those involved actually made things worse or result in some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.  Not specifically resulting from the death of a local celebrity here, but rather the subsequent disappearance of a young woman and resulting fall-out.

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four-stars

Book review: The Mystery Writer by Sulari Gentill

Sunday, March 10, 2024 Permalink

The Mystery Writer by Sulari Gentill is a new standalone by the talented writer. I’ve not read her Rowland Sinclair series but love her ‘writerly’ standalones (After She Wrote Him and The Woman in the Library). I’m sure being immersed in the world of writing and publishing helps inspire Gentill as she certainly writes what she knows.

Because I adored her two other standalones my expectations were higher than they should have been and I was a bit disappointed with this book. I liked the first half or even the first two-thirds, but the way this book pans out really didn’t seem feasible and frustrated me a lot.

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three-half-stars

Book review: The Wiregrass by Adrian Hyland

Sunday, December 3, 2023 Permalink

The Wiregrass by Adrian Hyland is an atmospheric read as he’s able to imbue a real sense of its moody, storm-drenched setting. I don’t know Victoria (or the area) at all but – even though I’m not particularly visual – I could imagine its damp bleakness.

Of course, I hadn’t realised when I requested this that it’s the second in a series. It didn’t really matter however, and I enjoyed it so will now need to go and read the first to learn more about somewhat-maverick cop, Jesse Redpath.

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four-stars

Book review: The Half Brother by Christine Keighery

Friday, April 21, 2023 Permalink

The Half Brother by Christine Keighery is a bit like a car crash. Not in the sense it’s bad. More in the sense that you can see what’s coming but are powerless to stop it. Keighery puts us in the heads of sisters Hannah and Stef – dissimilar but close when we first meet them – and their half-brother Alex… who we learn from the outset has quite a dastardly agenda which means Keighery is able to create a sense of menace that oscillates throughout the novel.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Dark Mode by Ashley Kalagian Blunt

Saturday, March 4, 2023 Permalink

For reasons unknown I initially thought Dark Mode by Ashley Kalagian Blunt fell into the ‘horror’ genre but then I read the publicity blurb and realised it was right down (or do I mean up?) my reading alley…. a thriller featuring a series of murders, inspired by a real-life serial killer! I must admit Ultimo Press has really hit the ground running. Though just over two years old TWO of my favourite three books last were published by the newish kid on the block, and this book by Kalagian Blunt is another stellar offering.

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four-half-stars

Book review: Salt and Skin by Eliza Henry-Jones

Thursday, August 4, 2022 Permalink

I’ve only read one of Eliza Henry-Jones’s previous novels, Ache, and I loved it. It was beautifully written. Her latest Salt and Skin is no different. Her way with words is exquisite. Her prose stunningly eloquent. I already know I’ll have trouble writing this review, uncertain I can do her talent justice.

I must confess this book delved into a realm in which I’m less enamoured, as I usually avoid books featuring the mystical or mythical – selkies, witches, faeries, magic and the like. Of course I realise that in the past (and in the present) people are often labelled or written-off just because they’re different. Because they’re unique. Or special. The unknown is something that frightens many.

I’m not entirely sure why I’m reticent to delve into the whimsical. I suspect I’m too logic loving and pragmatic. So while I am very sure there are things in this world that cannot be explained, I also don’t necessarily want to divert my already-overthinking-mind to them. If that makes sense.

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Family String by Denise Picton

Tuesday, May 31, 2022 Permalink

I LOVE books written from a child’s point-of-view. It can be hard for writers to nail the voice without it sounding contrived, but if it’s done well it offers an opportunity for a story to be delivered without much of the nuance we usually get from a narrator who – whether they mean to or not – adds a layer of subjectivity.

Some of my favourite books are those ‘told’ by children, such as Lost & Found by Brooke Davis, Allegra in Three Parts by Suzanne Daniel, The Eye of the Sheep by Sofie Laguna, The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady,  Room by Emma Donahue, as well as everything I’ve read by Favel Parrett. And (not-so-coincidentally) I notice the media release for this references the two books first on my list.

The events of The Family String by Denise Picton are relayed to us by not-always adorable though desperately likeable, 12 year old Dorcas.

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five-stars