Book review: Broad River Station by Fleur McDonald

Tuesday, November 1, 2022 Permalink

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.┬áIt 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.

four-stars

Book review: East of Alice by Annie Seaton

Sunday, October 30, 2022 Permalink

East of Alice by Annie Seaton is the first book I’ve read by the Australian author, not realising she wrote thrillers and crime fiction (thinking she wrote rural romance). And I enjoyed this a lot. Particularly the quintessentially Australian setting. Though it’s a long time since I’ve been to Alice Springs, the organisation I work for has an office there and several projects outside of the town and – having been to the West Kimberley in West Australia this year a couple of times – I could imagine some of the landscape Seaton very vividly describes here.

three-half-stars

Book review: Day’s End by Garry Disher

Friday, October 28, 2022 Permalink

Consolation by Garry Disher was the first book I’d read by the respected and renowned Australian author. It was the third book in his Constable Paul Hirschhausen (Hirsch) series and had won the 2021 Ned Kelly award for Best Crime Fiction in 2021. Disher came highly recommended, as did Consolation. And though I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it. I suspect my expectations were a tad high and though really liked Hirsch, it featured one of my pet hates – having multiple plots that don’t mesh or otherwise merge conveniently (though not logically) at the end.

Nevertheless, I very happily dug into Day’s End, the fourth in the series and enjoyed it more than its predecessor.

four-stars

Life lately: October 2022 – Holiday dreaming

Thursday, October 27, 2022 Permalink

Monday was not only the 11th anniversary of my father’s passing but it was also ten years since I made my seachange. Ten years!!!

I feel as if most of my life has been spent in my state’s capital city, Brisbane, with some time in FNQ, Canberra and overseas. But in reality, I’d moved back to Brisbane from overseas in early 2002 so I’d only been there ten years. That time around anyway.*

Book review: The Resemblance by Lauren Nossett

Monday, October 24, 2022 Permalink

The Resemblance is a debut novel by former professor Lauren Nossett and she certainly writes what she knows as this is set on a University campus and delves into the culture of fraternities as well as the camaraderie that goes along with those in their late teens or early twenties thrown together – often by chance… and privilege.

I enjoyed most of the novel but felt a little let-down by the end. I think it’s possible to guess what is going to happen but I expected a bit more of a twist, hoping Nossett would take the book in a different direction. It was, I think, a lost opportunity to add another layer without convoluting the why and whodunnit.

three-half-stars

The opposite of vain?

Sunday, October 23, 2022 Permalink

I horrified many people by chopping my hair off the other night. I’ve been growing [it] for 3-4 years and only had a few trims over that time. It was getting unmanageable though. Initially I’d planned to book in for an appointment to get a few inches cut off… but then I saw a photo of myself (taken while I was in Melbourne a few weeks ago) and my hair looked terrible. Lank and lifeless.

I tried to make an appointment with my hairdresser but couldn’t get in for about three weeks. Of course rather than book that I left it and pondered. I’d feel too guilty to cheat on my hairdresser but IF I did it myself then… that’s hardly cheating is it?

Book review: Long Shadows by David Baldacci

Thursday, October 20, 2022 Permalink

I say it every time I review one of the books in this series by David Baldacci, but I love Amos Decker. Possibly not as much as I did when we first met him and I suspect that’s because his superpower (hyperthymesia) seems to be diminishing, or at least less obvious, along with his anti-social quirks. That’s not to say we’re getting a diluted ‘Memory Man’ now, but perhaps a more realistic one, more fallible and more reliant on his detecting skills than his perfect-recall.

four-stars

Book review: Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan

Sunday, October 16, 2022 Permalink

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.

four-stars

Grieving the loss of a life you imagined. The death of a story

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 Permalink

I was scrolling away on Instagram this past week (as you do) and came across a snippet of an interview with Australian singer/songwriter Missy Higgins on ABCTV. Now – I HATE (hate hate) watching / listening to reels or videos or similar but can kinda bear something short if I can read the dialogue instead of having to listen.

And the title ABC had given the piece really hit home.

Grieving the loss of a life you imagined.