‘On an icy 5-degree September morning in Orange, New South Wales, four people unknowingly set off a chain of events that would lead to three deaths and a major homicide investigation….’ is the alluring opening paragraph of The Fall Between by Darcy Tindale and it sets the tone for this debut crime fiction novel, which will hopefully become the first in a new series. It goes on to reference the domino effect and what comes next is a reminder that life can be treacherous and being in the wrong place at the wrong time can have dire repercussions.
The Fall Between
by Darcy Tindale
Published by Bantam Australia
Source: Penguin Random House Australia
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
Detective Rebecca Giles has just finished interviewing aging petty crim Sticky Pete over a spate of break-and-enters when a disturbing new report comes in. Twelve-year-old Kayleen Ellis has vanished from her home in Muswellbrook in the Upper Hunter Valley.
Hours later, Giles is a local hero, having apparently solved Kayleen’s case and the spate of jewellery thefts.
Yet the hangover from her celebrations has barely kicked in when the body of young jillaroo Ava Emmerson is discovered in gruesome circumstances on a nearby farm.
Giles is convinced the link between all three cases lies in the town’s tragic history, perhaps even in her own mother’s mysterious drowning thirty years ago.
In a place where nothing much changes, suddenly a great deal is happening - and Giles’s life and career are now on the line.
The opening chapter ends with the description of a dead body, one Tindale describes as lying in wait for Giles to discover it. Her prose are very visceral. Clear. Powerful.
I’ve read a few books lately that have been more plot-driven than character driven, but this is very much the latter. Most of what we learn about Giles however, is through her actions and investigation, so it’s a great balance. We get some backstory relating to the death of her mother and her former-cop father, which – in addition to other strong support characters – makes me wonder if there’ll be more in this series.
The way in which Tindale links the cases here ensures they’re feasible. Rather than a spate of serious crimes, they intersect – tragically – resulting from greed and bad luck rather than true evil. Which probably reflects real-life policing. I appreciated that several of the perpetrators aren’t master criminals and did dumb stuff like leave fingerprints or number plates on cars they were trying to destroy. And in some ways the fate of some of the characters felt bittersweet… doing something stupid but without malice or motive.
This is a great debut novel and I’m hoping we get more from Tindall.
The Fall Between by Darcy Tindale was published in Australia by Penguin (Bantam) and is now available.
I received a copy from the publisher for review purposes.