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.

Review: Hush Hush – James Patterson and Candice Fox

Hush Hush

Detective Harriet Blue #4

James Patterson and Candice Fox

 ISBN: 9780143793021

 

Description:

The blistering new novel in James Patterson’s #1 bestselling series set in Australia.

Harriet Blue used to be a detective. Now she’s inmate 3329.

Prison is a dangerous place for a former cop – as Harriet is learning on a daily basis.

So, following a fight for her life and a prison-wide lockdown, the last person she wants to see is Deputy Police Commissioner Joe Woods. The man who put her inside.

But Woods is not there to gloat. His daughter Tonya and her two-year-old child have gone missing.

He’s ready to offer Harriet a deal: find his family to buy her freedom …

 

My View:

Perhaps because we now are now very familiar with the characters and situations /ongoing narrative in this series, perhaps because of the somewhat optimistic resolution of this book, perhaps because we get a glimpse of the gentler more compassionate side of most of the protagonists here, their secrets/past revealed, I declare this the best read in the series.

 

Hang your suspension of belief on the hat stand as you enter and don’t forget to pick it up as you leave, this read is fast paced, full of personal revelations and gives us a little hope that Harriet Blue’s life might be changing for the better. Optimism is the theme in this read and we readers cling to this tangible thread fiercely.  Don’t get me wrong – this read still has the hallmark themes of corruption, violence, revenge and fear characteristic of the series but the subtle personal revelations raise this book above the others in the series.

 

Is this the last in the series? It did feel like that to me but who knows?

 

 

 

Post Script: Too Easy – J.M.Green

#TooEasy

Too Easy

J M Green

Scribe

ISBN: 9781925322026

 

Description:

Wisecracking social worker Stella Hardy returns, and this time she’s battling outlaw bikie gangs, corrupt cops, and a powerful hunger for pani puri.

 

On a stormy Halloween night, Stella gets a call from her best friend, Detective Phuong Nguyen. Phuong has a problem. Or rather her lover, Bruce Copeland, does.

 

Copeland has been implicated in a police-corruption scandal, and the only person who can help prove his innocence has disappeared. The missing man is Isaac Mortimer, a drug dealer associated with the notorious motorcycle gang The Corpse Flowers. Reluctantly, Stella offers to help track him down — and it isn’t long before she is way in over her head: evading bikies, drinking tea with drug dealers, and, worst of all, hanging out in the Macca’s carpark with a bunch of smart-alec teenagers.

 

Then, when Stella discovers that local street kids are being groomed for some sinister purpose — and that a psychopath with bust face tattooed across his knuckles is pursuing her — she realises she has her work cut out for her.

 

Sounds easy? Too easy.

 

 

My View:

What an outstanding read! This is my favourite Australian work of crime fiction this year – the dark humour, the flawed, complex, relatable characters are a joy to read, the Australian landscapes – political, physical and social are so relevant and the narrative is compulsive reading – EXCELLENT!!!

 

Stella is the social conscience of contemporary Australians. This is astute and wickedly funny writing, deliciously enthralling. Five stars does not do this book justice!

 

 

 “I pulled over to use the GPS on my phone trying to figure out where I’d gone wrong. If only I could do the same with my life.”

 

Darkness and I split the bills, had a roster for the dishes. It seemed to work. I didn’t pretend to be a good person.”

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: The Late Show – Michael Connelly

The Late Show

The Late Show

Michael Connelly

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760630782

 

Description:

A pulse-pounding thriller, introducing a driven, young detective trying to prove herself in the LAPD.

 

Los Angeles can be a dangerous city – never more so than in the dead of night.

 

Renee Ballard works the night shift at the LAPD in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

 

But one night she catches two cases she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night.

 

As the cases entwine, they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job – no matter what the department throws at her.

 

 

My View:

Michael Connelly can do no wrong! This is a brilliant introduction to a new protagonist Renee Ballard and I look forward to reading many more in this series.  I don’t know how Michael Connelly does this – producing consistently great writing, producing wonderfully detailed police procedurals that reveal themselves like a film in your mind’s eye.

 

Renee Ballard’s narrative – of harassment, bullying and battling the “boys club” is credible and one experienced by many many women in all walks of life. However Ballard will not be defeated – she remains strong, forthright and dedicated to her work. It is no surprise that Ballard is heading for a show down with a particular suspect – that is a given, but when it happens – BOOM! I was totally taken by surprise. Perfect tactics Michael Connelly.  Loved this read.

 

Post Script: Fatal Mistake – Karen M Davis

Fatal Mistake

Fatal Mistake

Lexie Rogers #3

Karen M. Davis

Simon& Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925368321

 

Description:

Detective Lexie Rogers is tough, smart and at the top of her game. She’s seen it all, from bikies, blood and betrayal to drugs, deviants and deception … and the violent knife attack that almost killed her as a young cop on the beat.

 

Lexie’s sent on the job of a lifetime — to go deep undercover, as beautiful Lara Wild, a drug distributor, to expose a huge dealing ring among Sydney’s most treacherous criminals. What she discovers is that being undercover is the safest place to be, especially when you’re a cop with target on your head, but one false move means she’ll die. And creeping from the shadows is the darkness of her past, something she can never outrun.

 

Lexie knows she can’t trust anyone — but the trouble is, she’s not even sure if she can trust herself.

 

 

My View:

Karen M Davis writes with authenticity that only an ex police officer and undercover agent could! “Karen Davis was a New South Wales police officer for twenty years. Starting her career on the streets of Newtown, she then moved on to work as a detective and undercover operative in a variety of sections, all of which specialised in the investigation of organised crime.” https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7082717.Karen_M_Davis

 

Instalment three in the Lexie Rogers series is exciting, fast paced and so so readable! The settings are vivid – I can picture the nightclubs, the bouncers, the crooks and Lexie and her dyed hair and coloured contacts. The main characters are familiar and feel like old friends and I enjoyed the thread that wove police corruption into the mix – and what a mix – there is so much happening in the novel.

 

This is a read in one sitting kind of book. Book out your diary and sit back and enjoy – there are some lovely plot resolutions in this instalment. I wonder what’s next for Lexie?

 

 

Post Script: Good Money – J M Green

What a wonderful discovery  – JM Green I cant wait for your next book!

Cover Good Money J M Green

Good Money

J M Green

Scribe

ISBN: 9781925106923

Description:

Introducing Stella Hardy, a wisecracking social worker with a thirst for social justice, good laksa, and alcohol.

Stella’s phone rings. A young African boy, the son of one of her clients, has been murdered in a dingy back alley. Stella, in her forties and running low on empathy, heads into the night to comfort the grieving mother. But when she gets there, she makes a discovery that has the potential to uncover something terrible from her past — something she thought she’d gotten away with.

Then Stella’s neighbour Tania mysteriously vanishes. When Stella learns that Tania is the heir to a billion-dollar mining empire, Stella realises her glamorous young friend might have had more up her sleeve than just a perfectly toned arm. Who is behind her disappearance?

Enlisting the help of her friend, Senior Constable Phuong Nguyen, Stella’s investigation draws her further and further into a dark world of drug dealers, sociopaths, and killers, such as the enigmatic Mr Funsail, whose name makes even hardened criminals run for cover.

One thing is clear: Stella needs to find answers fast — before the people she’s looking for find her instead.

Set in the bustling, multicultural innerwest of Melbourne, Good Money reveals a daring and exciting new voice in Australian crime fiction.

 

 

My View:

What a wonderful discovery – JM Green I can’t wait for your next book!

 

What a fantastic new voice in Australian crime fiction! I loved every word written on these pages – the self-deprecating and often dark humour that is characteristically Australian, the colloquial language, and the locations – recognisable city scapes – multicultural Australia

(But really could be almost anywhere these days), the honesty and the friendships and of course, the great engaging narrative.

 

This is crime fiction at its most human level – a narrative that clearly shows the effect of acts of crime on the victims, families of the victims, the cops and the social workers. Corruption, drug use, gangs, prejudice, structural misogyny…all are highlighted in this work – but please don’t misunderstand me – this book is a joy to read (aside from the murders which are naturally, sad), the characters are so natural, the language, discussions, conversations so fresh and real, the relationships credible; everyday lives exposed but this is not an “ordinary” life, nor an “ordinary” narrative, at times it is fun, at times sad, bleak and grim and even romantic, occasionally optimistic and always with a thread of tension that pulls the narrative together tautly.

 

I really loved the protagonist, Stella Hardy and can’t wait to hear more of her adventures.