Post Script: No Place Like Home – Caroline Overington

Quietly spoken… a powerful voice.

No Place Like Home

Caroline Overington


Random House Australia

ISBN: 9781742758015


From bestselling author and award-winning journalist Caroline Overington comes another thought-provoking and heart-rending story, that reaches from the heart of Bondi to a small village in Tanzania.

Shortly after 9.30 in the morning, a young man walks into Surf City, Bondi’s newest shopping complex. He’s wearing a dark grey hoodie – and a bomb around his neck.

Just a few minutes later he is locked in a shop on the upper floor. And trapped with him are four innocent bystanders.

For police chaplain Paul Doherty, called to the scene by Senior Sergeant Boehm, it’s a story that will end as tragically as it began. For this is clearly no ordinary siege. The boy, known as Ali Khan, seems as frightened as his hostages and has yet to utter a single word.

The seconds tick by for the five in the shop: Mitchell, the talented schoolboy; Mouse, the shop assistant; Kimmi, the nail-bar technician; and Roger Callaghan, the real estate agent whose reason for being in Bondi that day is far from innocent.

And of course there’s Ali Khan. Is he the embodiment of evil, as the villagers in his Tanzanian birthplace believe? Or just an innocent boy, betrayed at every turn, who just wants a place to call home?

My View:

A very seductive novel –Paul Doherty, the police chaplain, is the narrator, his voice is very calm, reassuring, gentle and non threatening or judgmental. The police chaplain is a great listener- this is how he describes himself ,and he lets the characters of this novel quietly have a conversation they think is just with him; personal, intimate, all revealing and he is a supportive listener; he actively listens and we the audience through reading this book become a silent party to this conversation. I love this device – it is simple and makes the narrative easy to follow and play out in your mind and you feel comfortable listening to uncomfortable things: of refugee camp horror tales, of detention centres crisis, of small minded mean hearted people living small mean lives, of infidelity, and greed and sometimes you hear the voices of hope and love.

Slowly and deliberately you are reeled into this story …then POW you are knocked off your feet with the twist and reveal; the death your expecting, the death that seemed an obvious outcome didn’t quite work out the way you were lead to believe it would happen and then there is the twist…so sad.

This is a gently written, powerful book that will affect your emotions and will leave you thinking about the bigger issues. 

Post Script: Burned – Persephone Nicholas



Persephone Nicholas

Random House

ISBN: 9780857981240

One tragic event connects four lives in this haunting story of loss, love and renewal. Burned is the winner of the National Seniors Literary Prize 2013.

Noah Daniels is an innocent young boy who treasures the telescope his father bought him and who daydreams of one day travelling through space …

His mother Kate nurses bittersweet memories of her marriage to Richard and deeply regrets moving the family from Sydney to England …

Malcolm Martin is still paralysed with grief twenty years after the death of his son. Home for him now is a park bench by the canal …

And then there’s Matthew Hooper – a classmate of Noah’s – who has come to suspect his older brother, Tom, has a dangerous obsession with fire…

Four people, from opposites sides of the world, are about to be brought together by one horrifying event that will burn them forever.

My View:

This novel provides an interesting and thought provoking discussion on a number of issues – including a major contemporary issue, bullying. Bullying and the effect this has on all those involved, be it that the one doing the bullying, the bullied, those in the immediate vicinity (family, friends, colleagues) and those on the periphery; communities as a whole including school teachers, police officers etc. It is a big issue with huge ramifications for all those scorched by this touch and this book admirably demonstrates the extent of the influence one person can make to the lives of so many.

This is a story that delves into many issues; death is paid particularly attention; death of a child, death of a parent, and death of a love affair, death of a relationship.  Death impacts on those in the immediate vicinity and those in the surrounding in many and varied ways. Some cope and move forward, for some lives are negatively impacted and forever changed.

But this is not an altogether negative book; it is a book of hope (for some but not all) and ultimately a book of new beginnings. I particularly enjoyed the sections of the book that dealt with Kate and her affinity with the ocean. They are some beautifully evocative descriptions of the ease she felt with and the restorative nature of the ocean.

Post Script: The Vale Girl – Nelika McDonald

The Vale Girl, Nelika  McDonald

The Vale Girl

Nelika McDonald


Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd

ISBN: 9781742612423



“I had seen every last secret laid bare in my own house, every briefcase in Banville gaping open.

But I had missed one.”

Fifteen-year-old Sarah Vale has disappeared from the small town of Banville.

Resident copper Sergeant Henson attempts to find the missing girl but the locals dismiss his investigations. What would you expect with a mother like hers anyway?

No one cares except teenager Tommy Johns – for Sarah Vale takes a straight line t his heart.

A delicate and layered exploration of secrets and lies, forgotten children and absent parents, and the long shadows of the past.

An extraordinary debut from a talented new writer.


My View:

A solid debut performance by author Nelika McDonald. I really enjoyed this fast paced contemporary novel that features astute character development and brilliant observational qualities depicting small town middle class Australia in the 1980’s. As Edmund Burke is reputed to have said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”, and this theme is very evident and relevant in this narrative. Neighbours and community members ignore ongoing domestic violence, bullying is prevalent in the behaviours of children and adults alike and rumour and innuendo prescribe how individuals are perceived and treated. Thankfully we have several heroes in this book who do not sit idly by and let the past totally dictate the future.

This is a multi-layered sensitive narrative that is an introspective analysis of contemporary attitudes largely still relevant today; of family histories and values, of secrets and lies, of children exchanging roles with the adults in their lives, a story  that discusses the meaning of love and family and a wonderful coming of age narrative. This narrative is so many things but most of all it is an impressive, engaging debut novel.

Post Script: Sinister Intent – Karen M Davis

Sinister Intent, Karen M. Davis

Sinister Intent

Karen M Davis

Simon & Schuster Australia

A CBS Company

ISBN: 9781922052520

For eight years Lexie Rogers has been a uniform cop in Sydney’s red light district, Kings Cross. Having survived a violent knife attack, she’s witnessed far more than most cops her age. Now she’s back at work as the newest member of the Bondi Junction detectives’ office and ready to start again.

One of her first jobs is to execute a search warrant at a bikie clubhouse, one of the two local gangs in the eastern suburbs. What she uncovers begins a chilling investigation into a vicious world where loyalty is deadly and unwavering and can’t be bought . . . Or can it?

Lexie forms an unlikely alliance with one of the bikies, who’s realised his family’s in danger. But what neither of them knows is that Lexie is the one who’s in too deep. She knows too much. – See more at:


My View:

For the lovers of the police procedural.

An outstanding debut novel and a wonderful police procedural with enduring and empathetic characters, what more could you ask for? Karen M Davis has managed to capture the essence of a great crime read; a great narrative, a surprising ending, plenty of drama and suspense, an authentic voice and settings that are realistic. I really enjoyed this read and liked the main characters; the camaraderie and rapport  between the police officers at the station felt natural, the good guys had their flaws but this just added to their credibility and the bad guys were where you least hoped to find them, hidden in plain sight.

A most enjoyable read that I hope if the first of many from this author. I look forward to Ms Davis’s next offering with anticipation. 

Post Script: Blood Secret – Jaye Ford


Blood Secret

Jaye Ford

Random House Australia Pty Ltd

Bantam Australia

ISBN: 9781742756776



From a master of suspense and author of the bestselling Beyond Fear, Blood Secret is a teasingly crafted, nail-biting thriller that’s impossible to put down. Nothing ever happens in Haven Bay, which is why Rennie Carter a woman who has been on the run for most of her life stayed there longer than she should. However, that illusion of security is broken one night when Max Tully, the man she loves and the reason she stayed, vanishes without trace. Rennie, though, is the only person who believes Max is in danger. The police are looking in the wrong places, and Max’s friends and his business partner keep hinting at another, darker side to him. But Rennie Carter understands about double lives after all, that’s not even her real name. And she has a secret too, a big, relentless and violent one that she’s terrified has found her again and the man she loves.

My View:

I found this a very engaging and satisfying thriller. I was hooked by the action in the first few pages – Ford creates tension by using a situation many of us are familiar with – road rage; we can place ourselves in this picture, the tension is real. What a great hook!

This novel is fast paced, action packed and nothing is as it appears on the surface.  The characters are likable, earnest, hardworking and real – this is a community that appears perfect, secure and benign to those looking from outside in.  All it takes is one rotten apple and the life blood of community, trust, starts to clot and decay in a spectacular fashion.  Everyone has secrets they do not wish to share.

I liked that the main character Rennie Carter is a strong, self reliant woman with many hidden talents – some she would prefer to remain hidden – along with her gun!  Rennie knows her own mind and takes responsibility for her own actions and safety and is compelled to find her missing partner regardless of what the community or the police may be presuming.

This narrative accelerates down a twisting path of lies and assumptions, greed determines the journey and we do not find the truth until the very end.

A fantastic, absorbing and fast paced read. This book is best enjoyed in one sitting – but you won’t really have a conscious choice in that once you begin reading you will be hooked and compelled to read until you reach the very last page!

Post Script: Too Close to Home – Georgia Blain

Too Close To Home, Georgia Blain

Too Close to Home

Georgia Blain

Vintage Books

Random House



Shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferiss Award. Too Close To Home takes us right inside who we really are.

How tenuous the links are that build a life.

Freya writes uncomfortable domestic dramas. Her friends work in theatre and film, show in galleries, talk politics and are trying new ways of having children with friends. These are the people who are slowly gentrifying the next ring of inner-city suburbs while praising their diversity.

As the stultifying heat of summer descends, Shane, an Aboriginal man, moves up the road. He was once close to Matt, Freya’s partner, and he not only brings with him a different approach to life, he also has news of a boy who might be Matt’s son. Despite wanting to embrace all that Shane represents and the possibility of another child in their life, Freya and Matt stumble, failing each other and their beliefs.

My View:

The first few chapters did not inspire me to read much further –I don’t know why, they just did not engage me but I forged on and soon found myself totally engrossed in this narrative. It is a gently told story of relationships, of how the individual person can be political and of modern day suburban Australia, and I am pleased I read this book. It did make me think, it made me a little sad; the revealing of personal prejudices, personal stories which for me asked one important question – how do you describe and define family?

Although written a few years ago the political references and conundrums haven’t changed, they are still relevant today; including but not limited to climate change, refugees, Indigenous rights, unemployment, cost of housing, youth mental health concerns…  Australian politics still remains a two person race and not one of any real choice. Where is the leadership? Blain’s writing is mostly subtle as she gently prods our conscience and asks us to think about prejudices and family, mostly she is subtle; sometime she out and out shouts her political concerns to anyone who will hear.  Are we listening? I was, her concerns held real meaning to me.

The big question that I feel was raised in this book was about caring for others, (p.223 Matt to Freya) “But am I only allowed to help if there is a genetic link – is my care and compassion limited to that? You and your friends sit around complaining about how little is done for others and you never look at yourselves. All I can do is make a decision about the way I think I should behave in the circumstances – and I want to help.”

Isn’t that all anyone can do/should do? These few sentences condense the issues of the book and of society today, issues that are very close to home.

Post Script: Burial Rites – Hannah Kent

Burial Rites

A Novel

Hannah Kent


Little, Brown and Company

ISBN: 9780316243919



A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.

Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

My View:

Hannah Kent has written a moving and powerful debut historical book of fiction which is loosely based on the true story of the last woman executed in Iceland in 1829. Before we begin this book we all know how it will end. There are no surprises here. What is remarkable is the way that Kent tells this story: it is simply stated, it is well researched, it sets scene and place perfectly – Iceland in the 1800’s is a disparate place for the poor and those in servitude as compared to those who are of the Church or the wealthy, times are even harder for women without  means, and as Agnes came to find, even harder for those who have been judged wanting or judged for trying to rise beyond their place in society.

Kent has written a brilliant feminist work – her words are subtle yet her message is clear; Agnes was punished because she could read, because she had a mind of her own, because she wanted to be the master of her own destiny, because she dared to try and break free of the traditions that held her in poverty and dependence.

Kent writes with a powerfully emotive voice; her power is in her quietness, in her subdued style that perfectly describes the isolation and bleakness of the landscape that reflects the bleakness in Agnes’s heart.  This is a style that allows the reader to form their own opinions about the justification of this end of life sentence.  I sit here having just finished reading the last few pages of this novel trying hard to swallow the tears that want to pour from my eyes. I weep for Agnes, for the unfairness of her world, for her lack of power, for her death.