Review: The Promised Land – Barry Maitland

the promised land

The Promised Land

Barry Maitland

Allen and Unwin

ISBN: 9781760632670

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

Brock and Kolla return in an enthralling new mystery from a master of the genre.

 

Newly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Kathy Kolla investigates a series of brutal murders on Hampstead Heath. Under intense pressure to find answers, she arrests the unlikely figure of John Pettigrew, a failing London publisher who lives alone on the edge of the Heath.

 

Pettigrew’s lawyer calls on recently retired David Brock for advice, and soon, unable to resist the pull of investigation, the old colleagues, Brock and Kolla, are at loggerheads.

 

At the heart of the gripping mystery of the Hampstead murders lies a manuscript of an unknown novel by one of the greatest literary figures of the twentieth century. Brock believes that its story will unlock the puzzle, but how?

 

 

My View:

This is my very first Brock and Kolla read but not my first Barry Maitland, what a versatile, talented writer!

 

A little bit about Barry Maitland for those who have not yet had the pleasure of reading any of his novels.

 

About the Author   http://www.barrymaitland.com/on-life-and-writing/biography/

 

My family came from Paisley, an industrial city near Glasgow in Scotland, where I was born. When I was young we moved to London, where I went to a school with an English teacher who inspired me about literature. But I wanted to be an architect, which I studied at Cambridge University. After a period in practice I studied urban design at the University of Sheffield, where I also taught.

 

In 1984 I was offered the position of head of the architecture school at the University of Newcastle in Australia, and moved there with my family. Six years later Newcastle was struck by an earthquake, and Margaret, my wife, was almost killed when the house fell in. It was a dramatic and chaotic time, and as a reaction to what was going on around us I began to think about the plot of a murder mystery, The Marx Sisters. This was published in 1994, and became the first of a series of twelve Brock and Kolla novels published over the next 20 years, together with one stand-alone mystery thriller Bright Air, set in Australia.

 

In 2000 I retired from the University of Newcastle in order to write full time, and my latest project is a full-blooded Australian set of novels, the Belltree Trilogy. I live and write in a small town in the Hunter Valley, an attractive wine-growing and agricultural area in New South Wales on the Pacific Coast of Australia, which coexists with one of the largest coal ports in the world, in the harbour of Newcastle, which is where the second Belltree novel is set.”

 

 

As I started reading this, the 13th booking he Brock and Kolla series (and yes it can be read as an excellent standalone) I wondered how this author could have such realistic landscapes both in this series set in London and the Belltree series set in Australia. (I have read the first in the Belltree series, and it too is a wonderful, exciting read.) Now I have read Barry’s brief author bio the landscapes now make sense.

 

Regardless of which landscape Barry Maitland’s novels are set in you find realistic settings, characters that are humble, intelligent and fearless and plots that are complex and well executed.

 

I really love discovering a new to me series that has a back catalogue of many.  I love immersing myself in such an existing series, reading 1 – 12 of the Brock and Kolla will be such a fabulous way to really get to know the writer and his characters and settings

 

The Promised Land is a captivating read!  I am hooked. I want more!

 

Best Mystery or Thriller of 2018

This is another category that has so many worthy contenders, if your book did not make it on this list it is because I had to draw the line somewhere or perhaps you featured on another of my lists- sometimes categories overlap.

In no particular order:

Kingdom of the Blind – Louise Penny

Kingdom of the Blind

Liar’s Candle – August Thomas


Liar's Candle by August Thomas cover art

Let Me Lie – Clare Mackintosh

Let me Lie

The Portrait of Molly Dean – Katherine Kovacic

The Portrait of Molly Dea

Take Me In  – Sabine Durrant

Take Me In

Anatomy of a Scandal – Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal

All In – Lily Gardner

All In

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opps…I Missed Posting This One

How did I forget to post this review? My apologies Clare; Clare Macintosh is another author that I take every opportunity to read, her writing is engaging, the plots twisty and unexpected. “Let me Lie” is my latest read.

If you haven’t read any of Clare’s books before I highly recommend them all.

Let me Lie

I Let You Go

i-see-you

 

Review: The Stranger Diaries – Elly Griffiths

The Stranger Diaries

The Stranger Diaries

Elly Griffiths

Hachette Australia

Quercus

ISBN: 9781786487407

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?

 

A gripping contemporary Gothic thriller from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries: Wilkie Collins and MR James meet Gone Girl and Disclaimer.

 

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

 

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…

 

 

My View:

Why is it when I read this my brain keeps shouting Agatha Christie? Is it because of the emphasis on great writing skills rather than gratuitous violence? Is it because like Christie, Elly Griffiths sprinkles little gems of hidden clues throughout the narrative yet at the end you still don’t know who did it? (Well I didn’t J )  Intelligently and succinctly written, I am again reminded of “Golden Age” type mysteries.

 

This is a great read that will keep you guessing to the very end – once you know the ending, maybe like me, you will look back and discover the clues that are gently hidden in plain sight. I hope you enjoy working out this puzzle – I did.

 

 

 

Review: The Slipping Place – Joanna Baker

The Slipping Place

The Slipping Place

Joanna Baker

Ventura Press

ISBN: 9781925384581

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

A stunningly compulsive, darkly suspenseful Australian crime novel that asks how far we would go to protect someone we love.

 

Veronica Cruickshank’s youngest child Roland is her idealistic one – a fighter of lost causes, and the one that always needs protecting, particularly from himself.

 

So when she hears he is back in Hobart helping an old school friend, Treen McShane, Veronica tries to track him down – but all she finds are second hand reports, whispers of horrific abuse, stories of a small child being hurt.

 

Then Roland sends Veronica a text message, asking her to go to the Slipping Place, high on Mount Wellington, a picnic spot known only to their family. Here she discovers Treen’s frozen body.

 

Knowing Roland will be suspected of leaving Treen to die, Veronica resolves to find out what really happened. But as long-buried truths slowly surface, she uncovers a secret that brings the violence closer to home than she could have ever imagined…

 

 

My View:

An evocative read that conjures up the illusion of mania, psychosis and paranoia in a disturbing manner that will compel you to keep reading. I willingly followed Baker as she skilfully leads me away from the actual killer and entangles me in a web of deceit and half-truths.

 

The scene that describes the staircase incident is lyrical and gothic – images of floating fabric, the hysteria…no spoilers but this is a very visual scene.

 

A haunting read centering on the many facets, meanings of “family”.

 

PS – love the cover art.

 

 

 

Review: Take Me In – Sabine Durrant

Take Me In

Take Me In

Sabine Durrant

Hachette Australia

Mulholland Books

Hodder

ISBN: 9781473608368

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

The sensational new thriller from the author of the Richard & Judy bestseller Lie With Me.

 

‘Need a reminder of what makes thrillers great? Read this.’ Emerald Street

 

Tessa and Marcus went on holiday to save their marriage.

Instead they nearly lost their son.

 

In that fatal moment of inattention a stranger stepped in. And now Dave Jepsom is in their lives.

 

They owe him – they know that – but he seems to want everything. He’s on the streets they walk down. He’s at the office where they work. He’s knocking at their front door…

 

And he’s exposing secrets they would do anything to hide.

 

If they could just go back. Not make that one terrible mistake.

 

But it’s never how it starts that matters. It’s always how it ends.

 

 

My View:

I am a big fan of this author. She never fails to surprise me, to lead me completely and easily away from the essence of truth in the narrative, I am always amazed and sometimes petrified by the end of the story.

 

You will read this in two sittings: there is so much tension, so much anticipation of the worst to come that you will walk away and let the knots unravel in your stomach before you pick this book up again and finish reading. A powerful read.

Review: The Sunday Girl – Pip Drysdale

The Sunday Girl

The Sunday Girl

Pip Drysdale

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925685824

 

Description:

The Girl on the Train meets Before I Go to Sleep with a dash of Bridget Jones in this chilling tale of love gone horribly wrong …

 

Some love affairs change you forever. Someone comes into your orbit and swivels you on your axis, like the wind working on a rooftop weather vane. And when they leave, as the wind always does, you are different; you have a new direction. And it’s not always north.

 

Any woman who’s ever been involved with a bad, bad man and been dumped will understand what it feels like to be broken, broken-hearted and bent on revenge. Taylor Bishop is hurt, angry and wants to destroy Angus Hollingsworth in the way he destroyed her: Insidiously. Irreparably. Like a puzzle, he’d slowly dissembled … stolen a couple of pieces from, and then discarded, knowing that nobody would ever be able to put it back together ever again. So Taylor consulted The Art of War and made a plan. Then she took the next step – one that would change her life forever.

 

Then things get really out of control – and The Sunday Girl becomes impossible to put down.

 

 

My View:

“You always know where your heart belongs when it gets to Sunday and there is only one person in the whole world you want to curl up with on the sofa.” P.59

 

This is a read in one sitting, forget what’s happening in the outside world as you urge the protagonist to safety. Secretly you smile as her plan begins to form – who hasn’t harboured a little grudge against an ex before? You empathise, you become a silent player in this game of cat and mouse. And then…

 

Well you will just have to read this yourself to find out.

 

 

Domestic noir at its pulse racing best!  This is my perfect read. More please!