Best True Crime Read of 2016

I didn’t have to think twice when I was deciding which book deserves this accolade. I think this is a book that all people should read –  yes it might make you feel a little uncomfortable at times, yes it is sometimes brutal and it is hard to believe that this sort of thing is happening in modern Australia ( and this issue not endemic  to Australia – it is world wide.)


This narrative is exceptionally well written. It is emotional, it is challenging, it is heartbreaking and it shares shocking life altering truths.  Thank you to all the brave women and families who shared their painful intimate stories. Thanks you to Megan Norris for revealing these stories with candour and without sensationalism .  Education is the key. Awareness is needed.


The most moving book I have read in such a long time:


Megan Norris

Look What You Made Me Do, Fathers Who Kill

Megan Norris



Post Script: Tell The Truth Shame The Devil – Melina Marchetta

This is one book that you can believe all the hype about it!


Tell the Truth Shame the Devil

Melina Marchetta


Penguin Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780670079100



Chief Inspector Bish Ortley of the London Met, divorced and still grieving the death of his son, has been drowning his anger in Scotch. Something has to give, and he’s no sooner suspended from the force than a busload of British students is subject to a deadly bomb attack across the Channel. Bish’s daughter is one of those on board.


Also on the bus is Violette LeBrac. Raised in Australia, Violette has a troubled background. Thirteen years ago her grandfather bombed a London supermarket, killing dozens of people. Her mother, Noor, is serving a life sentence in connection with the incident. But before Violette’s part in the French tragedy can be established, she disappears.


Bish, who was involved in Noor LeBrac’s arrest, is now compelled to question everything that happened back then. And the more he delves into the lives of the family he helped put away, the more he realises that truth wears many colours.



My View:

This is one book that you can believe all the hype about it!

Deftly created empathetic characters; a strong female cast, women supporting women, family – in all shapes and sizes is a major element in this mystery. Complex – so many contemporary issues are addressed in this novel yet it is not verbose or pretentious or patronising. Heart felt scenarios – I dare you not to have a tear in your eye as you encounter the last few pages of the book – not tears of sadness but of relief, thankfulness, gratitude…tears for the potential you can visualise.


Don’t mistake my commendations as a sign this is a “chick lit” style book – it isn’t! This is an incredibly well written contemporary mystery/thriller with such well-developed characters you feel like you know them! Redemption, forgiveness, hope…its all here. I can’t praise this read highly enough. Add this to your book buying list now!








Post Script: Under The Harrow – Flynn Berry


Under the Harrow

Flynn Berry

Hachette Australia

W & N


ISBN: 9781474605274



When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel’s familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder.


Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can’t return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can’t trust them to find her sister’s killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora’s fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.


A riveting psychological thriller and a haunting exploration of the fierce love between two sisters, the distortions of grief, and the terrifying power of the past, Under the Harrow marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.



My View:

Intense, compelling reading- I loved it.


What a masterfully written novel- the reader will finds themselves drawn to the page, compelled to read on and on; thankfully this is a quick read, only 219 pages or else I would have been up all night finishing this.  I love the unreliable narrator, this is one of my favourite dramatic devices guarantee to keep you guessing right until the end. I loved the immediate sense of real danger, the hook wasn’t subtle – more like a blow from a sledge hammer – living you dizzy with anticipation (beware animal lovers of the couple of sentences that are heartbreakingly cruel and sad). Thankfully the details are not as graphic as they could have been but again this is a device that really makes the entire scene harrowing and disturbing – and as an effect, sets the tone for the rest of the book.


The relationship between the sisters – told in retrospect, provides a few more clues and red herrings and was realistic and engaging. The ending will surprise you.


I loved this read! Another to add to the best of 2016 reading list. Another author to watch out for – hard to believe this was a debut for this author.




Post Script: A Great Reckoning, A Chief Inspector Gamache Thriller – Louise Penny


A Great Reckoning

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #12

Louise Penny

Hachette Australia


ISBN: 9780751552706



The next novel in Louise Penny’s #1 New York Times bestselling series featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.


When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes.


Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places even he is afraid to go. But must.


And there he finds four young cadets in the Sûreté academy, and a dead professor. And, with the body, a copy of the old, odd map.


Everywhere Gamache turns, he sees Amelia Choquet, one of the cadets. Tattooed and pierced. Guarded and angry. Amelia is more likely to be found on the other side of a police line-up. And yet she is in the academy. A protégée of the murdered professor.


The focus of the investigation soon turns to Gamache himself and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, and his possible involvement in the crime. The frantic search for answers takes the investigators back to Three Pines and a stained glass window with its own horrific secrets.


For both Amelia Choquet and Armand Gamache, the time has come for a great reckoning.


#1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny pulls back the layers to reveal a brilliant and emotionally powerful truth in her latest spellbinding novel.



My View:

Outstanding!  *loud cheer* Perfect character driven crime thriller!!!


I cannot believe that I have not read any of this series before now – fantastic does not go anywhere near describing how great this book was! Despite this being the 12th book in the series I had no problems keeping up with events and characters – the author does a superb job in informing the reader of past happenings without devoting chapters to this, it is very well written and I would love to read the rest of this series now.


This book – and I assume the rest of the series are similar in style– are fantastic character driven police procedurals. Aside from the protagonist, who is a wonderful, mature age, calm and intelligent man – yes you can hear a little fan love here, I know just a paper character – but a girl can dreamJ, the minor character Ruth (and her duck) left a favourable lasting impression. What a wonderful eccentric, honest, blunt and observant character she is; such fun!


So if you love well written character driven police procedurals set in exotic (for me) locations and a narrative that is full of surprises, this series is for you! This title will definitely be added to my “Best of 2016 Reads” list.



Post Script: The Dry – Jane Harper

The Dry

The Dry

Jane Harper

Macmillan Australia

ISBN: 9781743548059



Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well…


When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.


And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds start bleeding into fresh ones. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret… A secret Falk thought long-buried… A secret which Luke’s death starts to bring to the surface…


My View:

If you are a lover of crime fiction then you should read this book. If you are a lover of Australian crime fiction you must read this book!


This book is atmospheric, brooding with the tension of the lies, suspicion, bullying and threats that are whispered and shared amongst the inhabitants of this small community.  There is a constant doubt regarding the good character of Aaron Falk that keeps the atmosphere intense – reliable or unreliable…the reader is never quite sure about this narrator, new information revealed tips this see saw precariously from side to side.


Read this book quickly – before the movie of the book is made and screened.  The narrative is so rich and visual I can fully understand why this story has already been optioned by a major movie production company.  The directors will have plenty to work with – small town attitudes and characters (am sure we have all met or known some of the types of people portrayed here), a  community on edge – drought and financial difficulties strain relationships, a local murder pushes people closer to the edge  of an abyss they cannot return from.  Add a few plot twists and turns and an empathetic yet slightly unreliable protagonist and have a cracker of a read and the basis for an excellent film.


This book is already high on my list of best reads of 2016.

Post Script:Like I Can Love – Kim Lock

Like I Can Love

Like I Can Love

Kim Lock

Pan Macmillan Australia

ISBN: 9781743538630



On a hot January afternoon, Fairlie Winter receives a phone call. Her best friend has just taken her own life.


Jenna Rudolph, 26 years old, has left behind a devoted husband, an adorable young son and a stunning vineyard. But Fairlie knows she should have seen this coming.


Yet Fairlie doesn’t know what Jenna’s husband Ark is hiding, nor does she know what Jenna’s mother Evelyn did to drive mother and daughter apart all those years ago.


Until Fairlie opens her mail and finds a letter. In Jenna’s handwriting. Along with a key.


Driven to search for answers, Fairlie uncovers a horrifying past, a desperate mother, and a devastating secret kept by those she loves the most.


Heartbreaking and terrifying, Like I Can Love explores love in all its forms – from the most fragile to the most dangerous – and the unthinkable things we do in its name.




My View:

One of the hardest things to do is to review a book you really love without spoilers!  I loved this book!!!


This is a book that will pierce no rip out your heart. It is a book that will have you air pumping shouting YES YES YES I GET IT!   I sincerely hope you do to because that is what we need – more people to understand this issue. (No spoilers here).


So maybe I had better try and articulate my feelings about this book – for it is a book about feelings – and whilst the title may allude to a rosy happy ever after love story – this isn’t. Yet this is a story about love, about relationships; about best friends for ever love, about mothers and daughters, men and women, husbands and wives and soul mates, and children and other stuff that will remain nameless until you to have read the book.


It is also a story of manipulation, intimidation, greed and control and…love.  The psychological suspense is palpable.  The opening begins with Fairlie’s ordinary day imploding after receiving a call to advise her that her best friend has just committed suicide.  What a great opening hook – now we want to know the how, where and why. The why is oh so important!  And slowly a three dimensional picture is revealed.


This is domestic noir at its very best. This book stands proudly next to my favourite book Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. It is not as violent as Elizabeth Haynes’s book but it is as credible, and as compulsive a read and as shocking a read as Into the Darkest Corner.  I don’t think I can give a book any higher praise.


Read this and have your eyes opened. Read this and understand. Read this and be consumed by the emotions that you cannot hold back. Just read it!


PS I can predict an award or two in the future for this book and writer.