Some Very Personal Insights – Fleur McDonald

Recently I read the new release from author Fleur McDonald – Red Dirt Country (review to follow soon) – if you haven’t had the pleasure of reading this author before you are in for a real treat. This series is The Voice in Australian Outback Crime Fiction; wonderful characters, settings to transport you to “other” worlds, crimes to be solved, all peppered with a subtle insights of the society her characters live in.

 

Fleur writes with authenticity. After reading this, her third book in the Detective Dave Burrows series I was motivated to look up Fleur’s website https://www.fleurmcdonald.com/  to learn a little more about her motivation for her writing. Her bio states: “Fleur McDonald has lived and worked on farms for much of her life. After growing up in the small town of Orroroo in South Australia, she became a jillaroo before spending twenty years farming 8000 acres, east of Esperance, WA. Fleur likes to write about strong women overcoming adversity, drawing inspiration from her own experiences in rural Australia… Fleur McDonald is a highly sought after guest speaker. Fleur not only is available to present on the topic of writing, but also across areas she is most passionate about. This includes country life, autism, domestic violence and her non for profit organisation “Breaking the Silence” which tailors Domestic Violence services across Australia.”

I reached out to Fleur and asked her about her interest in Domestic Violence ( a theme that recurs in her novels – sometimes subtly, sometimes loudly).

I was surprised by the honesty of Fleur’s response. Speaking up, speaking out is, in my opinion, essential to breaking the silence of Domestic Violence.  Please listen to Fleur’s response and check out her website.

https://www.fleurmcdonald.com/tag/domestic-violence/

Fleur’s Response:

My involvement in domestic violence came from having lived experience. I understand the fear, shame and self-hatred that comes from living in a house where this occurs. As I understand what it does to the children who are under the same roof.

Domestic and Family violence is very different in country areas, which is something I wanted to highlight, along with the fact that all DFV isn’t physical. There are many parts (emotional, financial, mental and so on) which leave bruises on your soul, rather than your body. That’s where Breaking the Silence got its name.

Breaking the Silence is a not for Profit organisation and website which acts as a directory of all DFV services involved in your town. At the moment, we are only in Esperance and Albany, but by June 2020 we will have another eight towns in Western Australia. By October 2020, we will be offering counselling services either online or by phone.

I started this organisation with my own money and later, as I wanted to expand into other towns, lobbied the federal Government for funding. Minister Hunt saw the benefit in Breaking the Silence and gave an grant which will enable us to get all of Western Australia online and start the counselling services. We intend to branch out into other states in during this time.

The current COVIS-19 crisis will see a rise in DFV rates, there can be no doubt. I wish we were further down the track with the counselling services, than we are, but we are working as quickly as we can to get these services up and running.

 

Thank you Fleur. 

 

Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline – Western Australia
The Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline is a state wide 24 hour service. This service provides support and counselling for women experiencing family and domestic violence. This includes phone counselling, information and advice, referral to local advocacy and support services, liaison with police if necessary and support in escaping situations of family and domestic violence. The service can refer women to safe accommodation if required. A telephone based interpreting service is available if required.
Telephone (08) 9223 1188   Free call 1800 007 339
In an emergency – if someone is in immediate danger – call the police on 000 now.

Review: Fifty Fifty – Steve Cavanagh

Fifty Fifty
Steve Cavanagh
Orion Books
Hachette Australia
ISBN: 9781409185857
RRP $32.99

 

Description:
Two sisters on trial for murder. Both accuse each other.

Who do YOU believe?

Alexandra Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body, and needs the police right away. She believes her sister killed him, and that she is still in the house with a knife.

Sofia Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body and needs the police right away. She believes her sister, Alexandra did it, and that she is still in the house, locked in the bathroom.

Both women are to go on trial at the same time. A joint trial in front of one jury.

But one of these women is lying. One of them is a murderer. Sitting in a jail cell, about to go on trial with her sister for murder, you might think that this is the last place she expected to be.

You’d be wrong.

My View:
This read left me gobsmacked! What a perfect read.

This is Steve Cavanagh at his very best – and his best is GREAT! This was an unbelievably good read: it will astound you, confuse you and mesmerise you. This read will have you on the edge of your chair, holding your breath, jaws locked as you try and decipher the dual stories of pain and tragedy that end in revenge and bloodshed- so much blood.

Sharp, clever and tension packed. This really was a thrilling read. And no, I didn’t guess/work out who the killer was. I doubt you will either.

Review: None the Wiser- Rachel Amphlett

None the Wiser
Detective Mark Turpin #1
Rachel Amphlett
Saxon Publishing
ISBN: 9781913498191

Description:
What if some secrets were never meant to stay buried?

When a parish priest is brutally murdered in cold blood, a rural community is left in shock – and fear.

New to the Vale of the White Horse, Detective Sergeant Mark Turpin discovers the murder bears the hallmark of a vicious killer who shows no remorse for his victim, and leaves no trace behind.

After a second priest is killed, his broken body bearing similar ritualistic abuse, the police are confronted by a horrifying truth – there is a serial killer at large with a disturbing vendetta.

As fear grips the once tranquil countryside, Mark and his team race to uncover a tangle of dark secrets and lies before the killer strikes again.

In doing so, Mark finds out that the truth is more twisted than he could ever have imagined…

None the Wiser is the first book in a new murder mystery series from USA Today bestselling author Rachel Amphlett.

‘Fast paced with vivid characterisation and clever twists – this is another winner’
– Adrian McKinty, The Chain

‘A terrific start to a new series’
– Jo Spain, With Our Blessing and The Confession

My View:
I have read a few of Rachel’s previous books – all have been outstanding and this introduction to her new series does not disappoint!

Fast paced with a gruesome and complexing murder, this read will have you considering, pondering and debating the who and why of what at first seems a senseless murder. The “why” really is the key to unravelling this read but if you are anything like me, you will not be able to join the dots; red herrings, twists and more deaths, the plotting is exquisite!

Adding to the engaging and complexing narrative is a cast of very personable protagonists – Rachel Amphlett has succeeded in creating another very “followable” lead investigator in Detective Sergeant Mark Turpin, who is supported by a great cast, including Detective Jan West – together this couple make for great reading and I look forward to reading the next in this series.

Rachel Amphlett never disappoints!

Review: The Janes – Louisa Luna

The Janes
An Alice Vega Novel
Text Publishing
ISBN:
9781922268495
RRP $29.99

Description:
The electric follow-up to Louisa Luna’s acclaimed thriller Two Girls Down, featuring private investigators Alice Vega and Max Caplan.

On the outskirts of San Diego, the bodies of two young women are discovered. They have no names, no IDs, and no family looking for them. Fearing the possibility of a human trafficking ring, the police and FBI reach out to Alice Vega, a private investigator known for finding the missing, for help in finding out who the Janes were–and finding the others who are missing.
Alice Vega is a powerful woman whose determination is matched only by her intellect, and, along with her partner Cap, she will stop at nothing to find the Janes before it is too late.
Louisa Luna is writing new classics of crime fiction, and her partnership of Vega and Cap is rightfully joining the pantheon of the most memorable in crime fiction.

My View:
I absolutely loved Two Girls Down, the first booking the Alice Vega series and then I read The Janes! What a fabulous sequel, another to add to my “Best of 2020 Crime Fiction Reads” list. Suspend your disbelief before you board this bone rattling, earth shaking, mind blowing, action packed read, destination, SATISFACTION GUARANTEED.

In the Alice Vega titles, Louisa Luna has created a memorable, heroic, female protagonist, Alice Vega – Vega is everything (and more) than the average, male, crime fiction good guy. I love this element of Luna’s work – her hero plays by the same rules as her villains – she is tough, smart, assertive with an aggressive bent. She is not held back by the rules that apply to law enforcement officers, she does as she needs to get results. Fast thinking and fast acting, she is compelled to help those who need her the most and she is not averse to breaking an arm, leg, nose or any other body part to achieve her end result.

Her counterpart is the likable and knowledgeable ex detective Max Caplan aka Cap. He is older, thoughtful, calm, and determined. Vega and Caplan are the perfect team – both compassionate and resolute in their endeavours to solve the most heinous crimes.

Luna has crafted a well written crime fiction narrative to subtly discuss contemporary social and political issues; human trafficking, forced prostitution, drug trafficking and the detention of “illegal immigrants”, corruption…to name a few. Luna tackles all the hard issues, deftly weaving them into this action-packed mystery.

If you are looking for your next exciting, page turning, stay up all night, read, look no further than this thrilling new series, the duo of Vega and Cap will keep you entertained until the very last word.

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.