Welcome Jack Heath to My Blog

Listen as this exciting new talent in crime fiction/thriller writing introduces his Timothy Blake series.

Jack Heath lives in Canberra and is the bestselling author of more than 25 acclaimed fiction titles for middle-grade and YA readers. His books include the real-time series 300, 400 and 500 Minutes of Danger, the choose-your-own-ending Countdown to Danger books (Scholastic), a collaboration with international illusionist Cosentino, and YA novels such as The Fail Safe and The Cut Out, a multi-award-nominated espionage thriller. His books have sold more than 200,000 copies worldwide and been translated into several languages. First published as a teenager, in the course of his research Jack has trained with firearms, performed street magic, visited morgues and prisons, travelled through eleven countries and read only books by women for a year. jackheath.com.au ”  https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/fiction/crime-mystery/Hunter-Jack-Heath-9781760527082

 

PS -Thanks Jack for appearing on my blog. I cant wait to start reading the book – your enthusiasm is infectious. And on a different note-  love the art work in the background.

 

PPS:

follow @jackheathwriter on social media

free ebook at jackheath.com.au

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!

 

My Picks for Best Crime Fiction Reads of 2018

What a fantastic year it has been for readers of all genres. I cannot believe how many 5 star reads I have have had the pleasure to review. Let me start this arduous task of reducing my list to a reasonable number by listing my pick of  the best crime fiction reads of 2018. I hope some of these make it onto your shelves.

 

In no particular order:

The Sunday Girl – Pip Drysdale

The Sunday Girl

All the Hidden Truths – Claire Askew

All The Hidden Truths

Second Sight – Aoife Clifford

Second Site Aoife Clifford

GreenLight – Benjamin Stevenson 

Greenlight

Scrublands  – Chris Hammer

Scrublands by Chris Hammer

The CraftsMan – Sharon Bolton

The Craftsman

Man at The Window – Robert Jeffreys 

Retribution – Richard Anderson

I, Witness – Niki Mackay

I Witness

Since We Fell – Denis Lehane

Since we Fell

The Wanted – Robert Crais

The Wanted

Guest Review: The Wrong Callahan – Karly Lane

The Wrong Callahan

The Wrong Callahan
Karly Lane
Allen & Unwin AU
ISBN: 9781760632656

Description:
It had been two long years since Lincoln Callahan had found himself in front of the gates to Stringybark Creek. He was in the army then – a lifetime ago. Linc had always been the unsettled Callahan, looking for danger, the one who couldn’t wait to leave the family farm.
This time he was back for his little sister, Hadley’s, wedding. From far and wide, the Callahan relatives were streaming toward Stringybark Creek.
Linc’s little brother, Griffin, was the steady son, the one who stayed at home, the one who did the right things. And now, the one who had feelings for city-girl, Cash Sullivan.
For Cash, the offer to manage her best friend’s luxury beauty spa tucked away in the country had come at the right time. She knew she needed to make smarter choices in her life, starting with the men she dated, and an enforced break in the country seemed the right way to consider her options.
When Linc sets eyes on Cash at a family dinner, their swift attraction floors him. But Cash is his brother’s girlfriend…what was he thinking?
As Linc, Griff and Cash form an uneasy triangle, each of them have personal demons to face before they can open their hearts.

Brenda’s Review:
It was the first time in two years since Linc Callahan had returned home to Stringybark Creek – he’d since left the army after his final tour of Afghanistan and the business he and two mates had started was doing well. But the peace he knew he would find at home with his mother Lavinia and father Bob, plus his siblings was something he was looking forward to. Christmas was only a few weeks away, then it would be his sister, Hadley’s wedding. Much would be happening, hence his earlier arrival.
Cash Sullivan had arrived to take over the operation of her best friend, Savannah’s health and wellness centre, while she and her husband were travelling. It included such treatments as massages and spas, and she would be helping prepare bridesmaids and bride for the upcoming wedding. Linc’s younger brother, Griff was on Cash’s radar – he was a gentle man and seemed shy. But she liked him. That was until she caught sight of Linc across the room at a Callahan family dinner. Sparks flew – but Cash was determined to stay right away from him. Apart from anything else, she couldn’t cause trouble between the brothers…

The Wrong Callahan is the first in a new series by Aussie author Karly Lane and is set in the rural countryside not far from Griffith in NSW. A familiar setting for me, and I could easily visualize the farm and the surrounding bushland. The Callahan family, especially Lavinia and Bob, were delightful; while there is mystery surrounding a couple of the others. An enjoyable rural romance which I have no trouble recommending. 4 stars.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Review – A Month of Sundays – Liz Byrski

A Month of Sundays Liz Byrski cover art

 

A Month of Sundays

Liz Byrski

Pan Macmillan AU

ISBN: 9781743534946

Description:

For over ten years, Ros, Adele, Judy and Simone have been in an online book club, but they have never met face to face. Until now…

Determined to enjoy her imminent retirement, Adele invites her fellow bibliophiles to help her house-sit in the Blue Mountains. It’s a tantalising opportunity to spend a month walking in the fresh air, napping by the fire and, of course, reading and talking about books.

But these aren’t just any books: each member has been asked to choose a book which will teach the others more about her. And with each woman facing a crossroads in her life, it turns out there’s a lot for them to learn, not just about their fellow book-clubbers, but also about themselves.

Liz Byrski has written a beautiful novel about the joy and comfort reading a good book can bring to us all.

 

Brenda’s Review:

The four women; Ros from Sydney, Adele from Adelaide, Judy from Mandurah near Perth, and Simone from Tasmania have had their weekly book club meetings via Skype, always online, never having met one another. The group had been larger but had dwindled over the years; the four were friends but in saying that, hardly knew one another. When a friend of Adele’s asked her to house-sit in the Blue Mountains – take some friends if she wanted – Adele immediately thought of the book club ladies. Her trepidation at sending the email to them all was unwarranted, as all three gave a resoundingly positive yes!

Each member was to choose a book that had meaning to them; to bring four copies and when it was that person’s turn, hand out the copy leaving a week to read it. Then come Sunday, it was discussion time. As the days moved forward, in among the brisk walks in the sunshine; the sharing of the beauty of the area; and of course, the joy of having Ros’ dog Clooney to fuss over – everyone realized that these women in their sixties and seventies, had a past which had affected their current lives, and themselves. They were at the stage of needing to learn why they were as they were, and whether it was possible to let the past remain in the past – to make peace with it.

Would those very special books, chosen with love by the four book club women, help in defining them? And would four women, previously unknown to each other, other than an online presence, manage to get on for four weeks in the same house?

A Month of Sundays by Aussie author Liz Byrski is an exceptional, emotional and brilliant read! I can’t fault the writing, the story, the fabulous women – and of course being about books, I’m going to look up each and every book they read for their book club get together each Sunday (and I won’t say what they are here as it’ll spoil the element of surprise for a new reader). I want to be taught yoga by Simone – I identified so much with Adele – I felt a deep empathy for Ros; and loved Clooney – and wanted to give Judy a big hug. Such an excellent read – Ms Byrski doesn’t disappoint. Highly recommended – 5 stars.

With thanks to Pan Macmillan AU for my uncorrected proof ARC to read and review.

Guest Review: Fool’s Gold – Fleur McDonald

Fools Gold

Fool’s Gold

Fleur McDonald

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760293963

Description:

‘To Dave, the posting to Barrabine was exactly what he’d wanted – it was a town on the edge, the wild west. There would be excitement, mystery and intrigue here. Everything a detective looked for.’

Detective Dave Burrows’ first posting to the far West goldfields town of Barrabine holds everything he’s looking for but Melinda, his wife of two weeks, is devastated at leaving behind her family, friends and career. More comfortable in heels than RM Williams, Melinda walked away from her much-loved job in the city as a paediatric nurse to follow Dave into the bush.

Dave settles in easily to the plain-speaking toughness of his new town, determined to do well, knowing that Barrabine could be his stepping stone into the elite Stock Squad. But will his marriage last the distance?

As Dave investigates reports of mysterious late-night trespassing, a missing person, and guns being drawn on strangers, a local prospector phones in with horrific news that could hold the key to everything…

Fleur McDonald’s bestselling rural storytelling makes Fool’s Gold, the first book in the Detective Dave Burrows series, a compelling and exciting beginning.

 

Brenda’s Review:

Only two weeks since their wedding and Detective Dave Burrows arrived with his wife Melinda in the small outback goldfields town of Barrabine in Western Australia. The dust and sparse landscape looked inviting to him, but Melinda was a city girl. She’d resigned her position as a paediatric nurse at a Perth hospital and Dave hoped she could get another at the local hospital. He hoped she would settle in and make friends before too long.

Dave enjoyed the camaraderie with his partner, Spencer and the other members of the force at the small station – he was to find the friendliness of the locals was normal; apart from those who wanted to avoid the cops. But the local prospectors were a crusty lot, and gradually Dave met them all. It was the day one of those miners called the station to report something suspicious that found Dave investigating a far more sinister occurrence than the normal small crimes of Barrabine.

Would Dave discover the answers to the strange events happening in the area? There were secrets, he knew that, but uncovering them might be more difficult than he realised.

Fool’s Gold by Aussie author Fleur McDonald is another excellent romantic suspense novel which I loved. And with this being the 1st in the Detective Dave Burrows series, it is set in 1997 as it tells his story, taking the popular detective back to his beginnings. I first met him in Sapphire Falls and then again in Suddenly One Summer. I’m loving going back to when he started in the force as he gets involved in the intense and gritty crimes of a small community, and very much looking forward to the second in the series. Highly recommended.

A 5 star recommendation.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin AU for my ARC to read and review.