Review: Two Girls Down – Louisa Luna

Two Girls Down
Alice Vega #1
Louisa Luna
Text Publishing
ISBN: 9781925773644

Description:
Jamie Brandt was not a bad mother. Later she would tell that to anyone who would listen: police, reporters, lawyers, her parents, her boyfriend, her dealer, the new bartender with the knuckle tattoos at Schultz’s, the investigator from California and her partner, and her own reflection in the bathroom mirror, right before cracking her forehead on the sink’s edge and passing out from the cocktail of pain, grief, and fear.

When two sisters disappear from a parking lot while their mother is in Kmart, the devastated family hires bounty hunter Alice Vega to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched too thin by budget cuts and the growing meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help, and she will not be denied.

With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.

 

My View:
What an explosive, mind blowing read! I loved every minute of this read, the first few pages introduced us to characters that have become my new favourite protagonists. Within the first paragraphs the author captured so many emotions; fear, dread, anticipation and… hope, I could not put the book down.

Louisa Luna is a new to me author – I am so glad I discovered her and this series. This is a book that captured my attention, had me cheering the protagonists on whilst simultaneously dreading the turn of the page and discovering the next complex, difficult and dangerous scenario, had me holding my breath as Alice charged head on into the conflict desperate in her attempt to save the innocent victims …what a read!

This book is easily a contender for my best crime fiction read of 2020 and I cannot wait for The Janes (Alice Vega #2) to be released.

Review: The Good Turn – Dervla McTiernan

The Good Turn
Cormac Reilly #3
Dervla McTiernan
HarperCollins Australia
ISBN: 9781460756799

Description:
The unputdownable new novel from the bestselling author of The Ruin and The Scholar. Police corruption, an investigation that ends in tragedy and the mystery of a little girl’s silence – three unconnected events that will prove to be linked by one small town.

While Detective Cormac Reilly faces enemies at work and trouble in his personal life, Garda Peter Fisher is relocated out of Galway with the threat of prosecution hanging over his head. But even that is not as terrible as having to work for his overbearing father, the local copper for the pretty seaside town of Roundstone.

For some, like Anna and her young daughter Tilly, Roundstone is a refuge from trauma. But even this village on the edge of the sea isn’t far enough to escape from the shadows of evil men.

 

My View:
Faultless, brilliant, tense, complex…this book lives up to all the hype!

This, the third book in the Cormac Reilly series, is an outstanding, read in one sitting type of read!

I don’t know what else I can add to this review that you wouldn’t have already seen/read/heard somewhere else before. This is intricate story of corruption, of love and of vice and fortitude.

This book has definitely secured a place on my “Best reads of 2020” list. Do yourself a favour and immerse yourself in this series, you won’t regret it.

Review: Devestation Road – Joanna Baker

Devastation Road: (Beechworth Trilogy #1)
Joanna Baker
Soren Press
ISBN: 9781925786026

Description:
“An outstanding first novel” The Age

“Intelligent and sensitive.” Sisters in Crime

Winner of the Sisters in Crime Davitt Award

They should have seen who killed Debbie. The clues were in front of them the whole time. But sometimes the biggest mystery lies in the hearts of those closest to you.

Yackandandah, Victoria. A small and close-knit town where everyone knows their neighbour. Life here is dull, and safe. But eight years ago, out along Station Road, things started catching fire. Then a girl was killed, and someone got smart with the name.

Now it’s happening again. There’s a fire. Matt Tingle and Chess Febey find a friend, drowned in a pond.

Chess isn’t Matt’s friend. She’s one of those people you get stuck with – well meaning, total liability. But she knows how to answer questions, and there are plenty of those: Why are Tara and Wando afraid? What is the meaning of the amber necklace? How can a car be blue and white at the same time?

Before they can find the truth, Matt and Chess have to put themselves in danger, they have to look deep into themselves, and they have to reveal things about the past …

Other people’s secrets …
… and the truth about what happened all those years ago, on Devastation Road.

My View:
This New Year has brought forth a swag of excellent crime fiction/mystery, suspense reads and this read belongs in that swag!

What I Loved:
√  Interesting well-developed characters and settings.

  Great plotting and outcomes I didn’t expect.

   A build of tension and drama.

   Exciting introduction

Left me wanting more!!

Review: The Dilemma – B A Paris

The Dilemma
B A Paris
HQ
ISBN: 9780008287047

Description:
It’s Livia’s fortieth birthday and tonight she’s having a party, a party she’s been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie.

But Livia has a secret, a secret she’s been keeping from Adam, her husband, until the party is over. Because how can she tell him that although she loves Marnie, she’s glad their daughter won’t be there to celebrate with her?

Adam is determined everything will be just right for Livia and the party is going to be perfect… until he learns something that will leave him facing an unbearable decision.

My View:
I don’t know why but I was expecting this read to be edgy, perhaps more suspenseful, more of a crime fiction type read. Why? I don’t know, it certainly surprised me – in a good kind of way. What I got was a very nuanced discussion about families, relationships, what ifs and lots of moral dilemmas.

The characters are credible, relatable and interesting. The scenarios will make you think. This read is full of emotions and ultimately, is heartbreaking. I like how the author pushes on and allows the characters to work through some of the most painful experiences that any one could face.

A great read.

Review: Nine Elms – Robert Bryndza

Nine Elms
Robert Bryndza
Hachette Australia
Sphere
ISBN: 9780751572711

Description:
Robert Bryndza is ready to take the world by bestselling storm again with the introduction of Kate Marshall, a woman with a dark secret and a powerful sense of justice.

Sixteen years ago, Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and driven, with a talent for getting into the minds of criminals, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her instinct and ability to immerse herself in violent worlds couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

Now, years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

My View:
The read started with a sensational attention-grabbing introduction – chapter five is pulse raising. However after that point I struggled to suspend my disbelief – I questioned the resources that this ex police officer turned investigator seemed conjure up, her ability to walk into a crime scene virtually unchallenged, to view an autopsy, to have confidential information handed over to her so readily…it just didn’t feel right. The criminals in this also seemed to be able to defy reason, their escapades – and that’s what there were, ramped up “adventures” of the killing kind were just a little over the top.

And I really did not want to discover the protagonist was just another ex-cop with a drinking problem – albeit one attending the Program (but I didn’t want to hear about that either).

However, I can see why many might like the thrills and blood letting in this, at times, tense read. I can also see the potential for this series to develop into a more substantial and believable read (or one where I can at least leave my disbelief at the door way before I enter the book). I really am at odds with myself trying to decide if I liked this read or not…almost but not quite…

Review: Long Bright River – Liz Moore

Long Bright River
Liz Moore
Penguin Random House Australia
Hutchinson London
ISBN:9781786331632

Description:
KENSINGTON AVE, PHILADELPHIA:

THE FIRST PLACE YOU GO FOR DRUGS OR SEX.
THE LAST PLACE YOU WANT TO LOOK FOR YOUR SISTER.

Mickey Fitzpatrick has been patrolling the 24th District for years. She knows most of the working women by name. She knows what desperation looks like and what people will do when they need a fix. She’s become used to finding overdose victims: their numbers are growing every year. But every time she sees someone sprawled out, slumped over, cold to the touch, she has to pray it’s not her sister, Kacey.

When the bodies of murdered sex workers start turning up on the Ave, the Chief of Police is keen to bury the news. They’re not the kind of victims that generate a whole lot of press anyway. But Mickey is obsessed, dangerously so, with finding the perpetrator – before Kacey becomes the next victim.
_____________________________________
‘A remarkable, profoundly moving novel about the ties that bind and the irrevocable wounds of childhood. It’s also a riveting mystery, perfectly paced. I loved every page of it.’ DENNIS LEHANE

My View:
I predict awards, awards, awards for this book! This is an amazing read, this is what you discover when literary fiction collides with crime fiction – a full on, unstoppable narrative that is poignant, simultaneously heartbreaking yet uplifting, engaging; writing that is brilliantly constructed, complex not complicated, AND then there is the slow building tension of the unsolved crimes that escalates into a teeth clenching, heart racing conclusion. What a read!

I have been reviewing books/blogging my reviews since 2013 and I cannot think of any other read that comes close to this. This book is already in my “best of 2020 reads”, possibly my BEST read, ever.

I think you should read this book.