Post Script: Pop Goes The Weasel – M J Arlidge

Action packed and more than a hint of feminism exposed here.

Pop Goes the Weasel

M J. Arlidge

Penguin Books (UK)


ISBN: 9781405914956



DI Helen Grace returns in Pop Goes the Weasel, the electrifying new thriller from M. J. Arlidge.


The body of a middle-aged man is discovered in Southampton’s red-light district – horrifically mutilated, with his heart removed.


Hours later – and barely cold – the heart arrives with his wife and children by courier.


A pattern emerges when another male victim is found dead and eviscerated, his heart delivered soon afterwards.


The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse; revenge against the men who lead sordid double lives visiting prostitutes. For Grace, only one thing is certain: there’s a vicious serial-killer at large who must be halted at all costs . . .


Following Eeny Meeny, Pop Goes the Weasel is the furiously paced, unputdownable second novel in the DI Helen Grace series from M. J. Arlidge. Fans of Mo Hayder and James Patterson will be clamouring for more.

M J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last fifteen years, specialising in high end drama production. In the last five years Arlidge has produced a number of prime-time crime serials for ITV, including Torn, The Little House and most recently Undeniable, broadcast in spring 2014. Currently writing for Silent Witness, Arlidge is also piloting original crime series for both UK and US networks. Debut thriller Eeny Meeny, which introduces Detective Inspector Helen Grace, has sold to publishers around the world.



My View:


This is the second book in the DI Helen Grace series – the first book Eeny Meeny was unique in its premise and the psychological dramas it presented and I loved it. You must read Eeny Meeny to get a full understanding of the characters and what has lead them to the point where the new book starts.


This second book is a little different in that the lead characters are more developed (perhaps we are more invested in them after reading the first book) I liked seeing more of a personal side to Helen Grace and seeing how her relationship with her team (including a few characters from Eeny Meeny) develop and evolve during this latest crime spree. Her ongoing battle with the manipulating journalist and her new supervisor add another dimension to the plot.



What hasn’t changed in this second book is the intensity of the crimes, the violence and the fear. The pace is ripping, the pages turn of their own accord but there is a little more depth hidden amongst the gore. We, the reader get a bigger picture of the life of the villain and how the murders affect the living. Domestic violence, family violence, power over women be they wives, mothers or prostitutes is put under the microscope. Whilst the violence and actions of the perpetrator are not excused they are at least understood.

Book Launch – Thicker Than Water – Richard Rossiter

Tonight I was part of the privileged crowd at the Margaret River Bookshop gathered to help local author Richard Rossiter celebrate the publication of his novella that is sited in the region – Thicker Than Water.  There is something quite magical about sitting in an audience and hearing an author speak about his work, his creation; you get an entirely new perspective on the writer and the story he is presenting. This night was particularly special for me because ten or so years ago Richard was one of my lecturers at Edith Cowan University where I completed my undergraduate degree.  How honoured to be part of the group celebrating his work.

If ever you get an opportunity to participate in a book launch – please do, these events are relaxed and happy occasions, where you are privy to the thoughts, motives and passion of the writer,  an experience that can enhance your response to the particular book and provides valuable support and feedback to the author.

Good luck with your book Richard.

Richard Rossiter

Post Script: Thicker Than Water – Richard Rossiter


A feminist’s perspective: echoes of forbidden love and family violence rebound in this narrative.


Thicker Than Water

Richard Rossiter

University of Western Australia Press

ISBN: 9781742586052



After years of living in England, Marie returns to the family home in southwest Australia, to a father whose destructive impulses have been curbed by a stroke and to a mother whose passivity Marie never understood. Behind her is Edy and the deep love they shared before he left, suddenly and without explanation. Even further back still is Marie’s memory of her father and his fraught relationships with his mother, brother, and stepfather. Yet, when Edy follows Marie back to Australia, her father’s shocking revelation brings hidden things to the surface. Thicker Than Water is quintessential Richard Rossiter fiction: an intense, poetic, family drama, as well as a psychological tragedy.


 My View:

This is a small book that punches well above it weight. If you are expecting a light easy going read you are mistaken for this is a story of deep sadness and intense emotions that shares more than a hint of feminist awareness in its discussion of love, attraction and domestic violence. Domestic/ family violence does not necessitate the act of physical violence; power over, control, are just as violating and debilitating as physical violence as the relationships between Kenneth and his wife, Helena and Kenneth and his children demonstrates. This relationship only just starts to tip in the favour of Helena when Kenneth’s power is reduced by a debilitating stroke. For a short while at least Kenneth needs her help. And that of his daughter. I wonder why Marie bothered – he has treated her and her brother appallingly. Is it a sense of duty? Kenneth’s arrogance and brutality are unforgivable – throwing both his children out of the family home because they choose to exert free will and then to insist Maire have a birthday party at home only to cancel it on the day of the party; how sadistic. Just a few examples of Kenneth’s true nature. I did not like this character.


Through the narrative we are aware that there are family secrets and as each one is slowly revealed we think we know where this story is heading, what the big reveal will be. But you will be wrong and you will shocked and you will be outraged. This is not how you wanted this story to end. It is not fair. And it is painful. And the ending begs the question – what would you do in these circumstances?



The Margaret River Bookshop is launching this novella tonight – will you be there?

Coming Soon…

Here are the next books I intend to read in the near future but where to start? Have you read any of these? Any favourites here? What do you recommend I read first out of this growing pile, I know there are more books on the way in the mail 🙂  And for something a little different, in the next few months I will  be reviewing some interesting looking cook books and hoping to whet your appetites with pictures of  home made meals, juices and treats.

Books books and more books

Books books and more books.


Important News For US Fans of Monica McInerney

Binge Reads
Monica McInerney “HELLO FROM THE GILLESPIES” Sweepstakes
We’re giving U.S. readers a chance to experience one of Australia’s most beloved novelists! Ten lucky winners will win two copies each of Monica McInerny’s extraordinary novel HELLO FROM THE GILLESPIES. (One copy for you, and one to share with a friend. Because reading with friends is always more fun!) Contest closes Wednesday, October 29th at 11:59PM Eastern Time. Good luck!
U.S. residents only. Must be 13 years of age or older.

Post Script: Hello From The Gillespies – Monica McInerney

Hello from the Gillespies

Monica McInerney

Penguin Books Australia

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9781921901812



For more than thirty years, Angela Gillespie has sent friends and family around the world an end-of-year letter titled ‘Hello from the Gillespies’. It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself – she tells the truth . . .


The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband seems to be having a mid-life crisis. Her grown-up twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.


Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when Angela is taken from them in a most unexpected manner, the Gillespies pull together – and pull themselves together – in wonderfully surprising ways . . .


From the bestselling author of The House of Memories comes a funny and heartfelt novel about miscommunication and mayhem in a family like no other.



My View:

Contemporary issues enveloped in a cloak of love.


This is such a surprising read – glance quickly over it and you will discover a family story with characters that you identify with or have met along your way in life but this novel is so much more than the individuals in it; it is a story about the struggles of modern day Australians whether they live in regional or city communities, for all the issues here affect us all in one way or another.


Aside from a family that is as functional as any I or you may know, with adult children returning to the family home, midlife crisis’s, relationship issues, communication break downs, career crisis’s and the various stresses of modern life we meet a family that is also dealing with a tough life on the land; drought, potential mining on agricultural land, depression, isolation, to name a few issues, throw plenty of challenges into this mix. But it is not a depressing story – it is a heartfelt story peppered with humour and a touch of romance or two and hope – it is about life.


But more than these issues this is a story of a family and a mother who has recently discovered she has lost her own sense of self; she has been swallowed up by the social and physical environment she lives in and by her role as mother. For me this is the pivotal part of the narrative. Monica McInerney shines a subtle light on issues that mature aged women face today; life can stagnate, women especially become caught up in supporting all those around us leaving little energy or time for themselves. The joy of life can be missing.


You can read this novel lightly and enjoy a palatable tale of rural life and crazy exploits. You can read it on the train or plane or by the beach. You will enjoy the sense of fun and the satisfying conclusion. You can choose to look deeper, at the issues it presents and you can think and learn and maybe decide to talk, really talk and listen; to your mother or sister or good friend or your husband or partner and really get to understand some of what they are thinking.


A great read.



Post Script: The Whispers A Hollows Short Story – Lisa Unger

The Whispers

A Hollows Short Story

Lisa Unger

Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books

Pocket Star

ISBN: 9781476797786



Eloise Montgomery discovers her amazing gift in the wake of tragedy in this first of three captivating e-novellas from award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger.


It’s a day like any other for Eloise Montgomery—until tragedy strikes. While she is recovering from a horrible accident that takes the lives of her husband and oldest daughter, and as she works to help her younger daughter move forward, Eloise experiences her first psychic vision. Though she struggles to understand her newfound gifts, Eloise finds a way use them to save lost women and girls—for whom her help may be the only way out…


From an author whose “gripping narrative and evocative, muscular prose” (Associated Press) have won her critical acclaim comes The Whispers: a story that delves deep into the human psyche and the mind of one unforgettable heroine.


My View:

This was a great introduction to what is the first is a series of three short stories that centres on a character, Eloise, who also appears in a few of Ms Unger’s books. I like her “gift” and the mystery part of the narrative and am hoping that this narrative does evolve into a full sized book at some point as I love the premise.

Post Script: The Golden Boys – Sonya Hartnett

Evil lurks under the surface.

Golden Boys

The Golden Boys

Sonya Hartnett

Penguin Australia

Hamish Hamilton

ISBN: 9781926428611




Sonya Hartnett’s third novel for adults is perfectly formed and utterly compelling, an unflinching and disquieting work from one of Australia’s finest writers.


Colt Jenson and his younger brother Bastian live in a world of shiny, new things – skateboards, slot cars, train sets and even the latest BMX. Their affluent father, Rex, has made sure that they’ll be the envy of the new, working-class suburb they’ve moved to.

But underneath the surface of the perfect family, is there something unsettling about the Jensons? To the local kids, Rex becomes a kind of hero, but Colt senses there’s something in his father that could destroy their fragile new lives.


My View:

A book that slowly draws you into its grasp into a time of childhood innocence, of BMX bikes and playing in the local storm water drain, of BBQ’s with the neighbours… a time when kids could be adventurers and start to develop their own identity and work out their place in the world. However all is not quite what it seems, the story told through the eyes of the children in the two families that are spotlighted in this narrative are wise for their age but have not yet learnt how to deal with their wisdom. We watch them struggle to cope with realisations that their family is not quite like everyone else’s and that feelings of love and hate are not mutually exclusive within the family unit.


The story opens with a display of parental teasing and Colt clearly sees the action for what it really is – a display of power over, her reflects; “There’s always some small cruelty, an unpleasant little hoop to be crawled through before what’s good may begin; here is the gift, but first you must guess its colour.” And so even at this early point in the novel Hartnett foreshadows the power plays that will form the crux of this story, power over and manipulation form the structure this narrative is welded to.


This is a finely drawn picture of life in the 70’s in Australian suburbia that does not skimp on domestic detail and family dysfunction. Issues that are “family secrets” are explored and laid bare. I think one of the reasons I felt drawn to this story aside from the poignant characterisations was the ability this narrative had to take me back to my own childhood, I too was a teenager in the 70’s and found life not always that easy. I could empathise with the main characters. I could relate to these times.



This is a disquieting read. The conclusion is confronting.

Afternoon Tea Anyone?

This week my daughter has been requesting that I make some dessert or muffins, her favourite being Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins. There are many versions of this recipe around, my version of the linked recipe replaces Macadamia oil for the butter and frozen raspberries as fresh are not readily available. I haven’t done ay real baking or cooking for months and months (due to being on holiday in the caravan and making mostly “one pot” type meals). I had forgotten how much I enjoy cooking. The house was filed with incredible aromas (and the muffins didn’t taste too bad either). What is your favourite afternoon tea sweet treat?