Book review: The Way from Here by Jane Cockram

Saturday, April 16, 2022 Permalink

The Way from Here by Jane Cockram divided some of my friends. I have one who loved it and one who didn’t really enjoy it at all. Sadly I’m probably closer to the latter. It dragged a little for me. I suspect the fact that the early stages of the plot were a bit all over the place, were supposed to reflect the state of mind of 19 year old Susie… pursuing one guy, then another when that didn’t work.

But it felt a bit scattergun. I wondered if Cockram was a ‘panster’ (writing by the seat of her pants) and letting the book take her where it wanted – unsure what story she wanted to tell or what sort of book it was to be. Things become clearer and the pace picks up, but not really without becoming overly-complex at the same time.

two-half-stars

Book review: Twelve Secrets by Robert Gold

Friday, April 15, 2022 Permalink

Twelve Secrets by Robert Gold took me by surprise. I’d planned on allocating just a short time in the bath to read, but ended up dining on biscuits and chips because I remained in there (topping up with warm water once or twice) until I was finished.

Interestingly (or not) this is the third of fourth book I’ve read this year featuring crimes committed by juveniles…. later released and given new identities. I’m not sure if it’s suddenly topical or perhaps it’s just a sign that increased access to technology and information means that it is harder to keep things secret in the 21st century.

four-stars

Prevaricating

Thursday, April 14, 2022 Permalink

I’d basically decided two weeks ago that I would indeed go to England in late July to attend the Old Peculier Crime Writers Festival. I decided it was a no-brainer. “Life’s short!” I told myself as I contemplated the idea of a 2-3 week holiday to look forward to. I sent an email to the organisers to book an accommodation package for the festival.

And then I checked some Covid-related insurance information. Read some fine-print. It seems not everything is covered and I pondered the likelihood of something unforeseen happening before then, or while I’m away.

Book review: No Hard Feelings by Genevieve Novak

Thursday, April 14, 2022 Permalink

No Hard Feelings by Genevieve Novak reminded me very much of another book I read recently – Love and Other Puzzles by Kimberley Allsopp. (And I note that Allsopp has provided a cover quote for this book.)

I particularly enjoyed that both weren’t about exceptionally talented women… you know, the kind authors sometimes assume women aspire to be. But nor were they about completely dysfunctional or unreliable narrators. In fact, both lead characters are somewhere in between. And perhaps that makes them more relatable. They don’t have their shit together despite having reached adulthood. Instead they’re wading through the waters of life trying to reach the solid ground society seems to expect of them.

four-stars

Book review: The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan

Sunday, April 10, 2022 Permalink

The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan is a standalone – a departure from the Irish-born Australia-dwelling’s Cormac Reilly series that I’ve enjoyed over the past four-ish years. I’ve read many good things about [The Murder Rule] over recent months and I can only agree as McTiernan manages to offer readers a likeable (though agenda-laden) lead, intriguing plot and several twists and turns to keep us guessing.

four-stars

Book review: Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins

Thursday, April 7, 2022 Permalink

Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins is the fourth book I’ve read by the English author and she certainly does domestic noir brilliantly. I was fooled here for much of the novel and quite surprised by the direction it takes. I note in my review of When I Was Ten I commented on her adding in a few twists when we assumed we had all of the answers and she does the same thing here. It takes a clever writer to keep secrets from her readers when her narrators are seemingly telling us everything we need to know.

four-stars

Book review: Dream Town by David Baldacci

Monday, April 4, 2022 Permalink

Dream Town by David Baldacci is the third in the Aloysius Archer series featuring former soldier, turned inmate, turned private investigator. A couple of years (in book-land, one year in real life) have passed since we last met Archer in A Gambling Man and he’s obviously been honing his detecting skills under stalwart and old-school PI Willie Dash.

We (along with Archer) are reunited with wannabe starlet Liberty Callahan here – though she’s more of a sounding board (and object of desire) than involved in Archer’s case.

four-stars

Book review: Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Saturday, April 2, 2022 Permalink

In naming his third novel Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone, I think Benjamin Stevenson might have been attempting to rival Adrian McKinty’s Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly. When it comes to book title length I mean!

I’ve very much enjoyed Stevenson’s previous novels, Greenlight and Either Side of Midnight. They both featured a crime documentary-maker and were set in TV land. The lengthily named Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone is a departure, but almost certainly my favourite (of his) to date and I can’t imagine it not being one of my favourite books of the year. And that’s all because of its telling.

four-half-stars

Book review: Rising Dust by Fleur McDonald

Thursday, March 31, 2022 Permalink

Western Australian-based author Fleur McDonald includes a note at the start of this novel, commenting on how this series – featuring a young Detective Dave Burrows ultimately connects to her other (contemporary) series – featuring an older Dave. It’s meant all along those who’ve read both series know about the demise of Dave’s first marriage but McDonald expertly eked that storyline out… until now.

The events of the previous book in this series, Something to Hide, were fairly catastrophic and something from which there’s no going back. McDonald’s latest, features Dave in the aftermath of that, grappling with his future and potentially the loss of his family. Amidst some good old outback crime of course.

four-stars