Review: The Torrent – Dinuka McKenzie

The Torrent

Dinuka McKenzie

Harper Collins Australia

ISBN: 9781460760192

RRP $32.99

Description:

A loving husband lost to devastating summer floods. A teenage girl injured during a robbery. Two seemingly unconnected cases that will push a detective to the brink.


An atmospheric, compelling new voice in Australian crime fiction.


In Northern New South Wales, heavily pregnant and a week away from maternity leave, Detective Sergeant Kate Miles is exhausted and counting down the days. But a violent hold-up at a local fast-food restaurant with unsettling connections to her own past, means that her final days will be anything but straightforward.

When a second case is dumped on her lap, the closed case of man drowned in recent summer floods, what begins as a simple informal review quickly grows into something more complicated. Kate can either write the report that’s expected of her or investigate the case the way she wants to.

As secrets and betrayals pile up, and the needs of her own family intervene, how far is Kate prepared to push to discover the truth? 

My View:

Dinuka McKenzie is the 2020 winner of the Banjo Prize for fiction. This debut work introduces us to the main characters, the locations, the culture, and nuances of daily life for the protagonist and her family. This is a very “human” look at policing in regional areas, of women’s lives ( it was pertinent that I read this around the marking of International Women’s Day) for I believe this is also a feminist novel. If I was still in uni I would say this could easily be a required read – looking at the intersection of gender, culture and power in Australia but I am not, I have my degree, so I will just say this; this is a book that has worked hard to get the reader to “know” the characters and the landscape of this book of crime fiction. Once we have fully immersed ourselves in this “space”, the pace picks up and the intrigue deepens. What once once a slow burn hisses and spits, the temperature hot hot hot!

A very satisfying read, a very human perspective of life , of crimes committed and their consequences, of looking deeper at situations, of what if’s and what now? I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. I do love a character lead book of crime fiction.

Review: Blind Date – Brenda Chapman

Blind Date

Hunter and Tate #1

Brenda Chapman

Kindle

ASIN: B09PNWW5GK

Description:

Nobody’s safe when a killer has you in their sights.

True crime podcaster Ella Tate is shaken to her core by the horrific assault and murder of Josie Wheatly, a teacher she has never met … because not only had Josie moved into Ella’s vacated apartment three months earlier, but her Facebook photos reveal a striking resemblance between the two women.

Within days, two people close to Ella are harmed, and she fears that she’s become the target of twisted revenge from her crime-reporting days. Reluctantly teaming up with her neighbour Tony, a hairdresser who loves the finer things in life, and Liam Hunter, the persistent detective assigned to the cases, Ella struggles to stay one step ahead before she becomes the target of the final kill.

My View:

It is no secret that I have been a long time fan of Brenda Chapman’s,  The Stonechild and Rouleau police procedurals. After I finished the last in that series, I did wonder what we might expect next from this accomplished author, I was so pleased to discover Blind Date.,

In Blind Date Chapman has created another very followable partnership of crime investigators- Ella – true crime pod caster/journalist and Hunter, cop. I like this this team. We learn a lot about Ella in this read, her past, her family, her trauma, her resilience. Hunter’s role in this book, whilst important, was not the focus and I am sure that in the next book in the series we will get to know Hunter a lot better.

Character lead crime fiction is one of my favourite genres and if its one you love you will not go wrong picking up a copy of this just released book. I cant wait to read more about Ella Tate and Liam Hunter

Review: Wild Dogs – Michael Trant

Wild Dogs

Michael Trant

Bantam Australia

ISBN:9781761046773

RRP $32.99

Description:

Wild Dogs is a page-turning action thriller set in the WA outback, introducing Australia’s answer to Jack Reacher

‘Tough, fast and hard – my kind of book.’ -Lee Child

In the drought-ridden rangelands of Western Australia, Gabe Ahern makes his living trapping wild dogs for local station owners.

Still coming to terms with his wife’s death – and the part he played in it – the old bushman leads a solitary life. Until one morning, when he rescues a young Afghan man, Amin, from certain execution.

Now, with a gang of people smugglers on his tail and the lives of Amin’s family on the line, Gabe is drawn into a ruthless game of cat and mouse. His main opponent is Chase Fowler, a kangaroo hunter with bush skills as wily and sharp as his own.

As the old dogger and roo-shooter go head to head, Gabe will need all his cunning to come out of this alive…


Wild Dogs is a just-one-more-chapter thriller that kept me up long after lights out.’ -Jack Heath 

My View:

Firstly I would like to disagree with the statement” ….introducing Australia’s answer to Jack Reacher“. This book is so much more interesting, complex, taut, gutsy, and raw; so much better than any Jack Reacher (apologies Lee Child, nothing personal).

WOW!!! That about sums up my reaction to this book. Read it, I think you will agree with me. 🙂

#FridayFreebie – Exit .45 Ben Sanders

Today is my first give away for 2022 nd I am very excited to be able to offer the opportunity ( Thanks to the author and Allen & Unwin Aust) a copy of the tension packed read Exit .45

**Open to Australian residents only. In the comments list another great read by this author, easy as that 🙂 Entries close Thursday 27th January. The winner will be notified by email.**

Review: Exit .45 – Ben Sanders

Exit .45

Ben Sanders

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781761065590

RRP 29.99

Description:

Marshall Grade returns in an action-packed thrillride through the New York underworld.

When a former NYPD colleague is shot dead in front of him, private investigator Marshall Grade discovers there’s far more to the killing than meets the eye.

Ray Vialoux is in trouble. Big trouble. And he needs Marshall Grade’s help.

Reluctantly, Grade agrees to meet. Over dinner in a Brooklyn restaurant, he learns that his former NYPD colleague owes money – a lot of money – to the wrong people. But the conversation is cut short by gunfire, and suddenly Ray is lying dead on the restaurant floor.

As Marshall investigates the circumstances leading up to the murder, tracking down the drug dealers, bag men, bent cops and mob players within Ray’s orbit, it becomes clear there’s far more to the killing than a gambling debt. Just who is responsible for Vialoux’s death . . . and why? What secrets are his family hiding? And can Marshall find the answers before his own history marks him as the prime suspect?

‘It’s easy to see what the fuss is about. Sanders’ prose is sharper than a switchblade . . . It’s like Raymond Chandler, Lee Child and Elmore Leonard rolled into one.’ – Sydney Morning Herald on American Blood

My View:

If you are a fan of crime fiction, if you love a great procedural, if you turn over the last page and sigh and mutter “oh…”under your breath in disappointment that you have reached the end of an excellent, engaging, tension packed read, then this book is for you 🙂

5 stars. Encore.

Review: Still – Matt Nable

Still

Matt Nable

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733644740

RRP $32.99

Description:

STILL is an evocative, confronting and page-turning thriller from a brilliant Australian writer. If you loved THE DRY and SCRUBLANDS, you will love STILL.

Darwin, Summer, 1963.

The humidity sat heavy and thick over the town as Senior Constable Ned Potter looked down at a body that had been dragged from the shallow marshland. He didn’t need a coroner to tell him this was a bad death. He didn’t know then that this was only the first. Or that he was about to risk everything looking for answers.

Late one night, Charlotte Clark drove the long way home, thinking about how stuck she felt, a 23-year-old housewife, married to a cowboy who wasn’t who she thought he was. The days ahead felt suffocating, living in a town where she was supposed to keep herself nice and wait for her husband to get home from the pub. Charlotte stopped the car, stepped out to breathe in the night air and looked out over the water to the tangled mangroves. She never heard a sound before the hand was around her mouth.

Both Charlotte and Ned are about to learn that the world they live in is full of secrets and that it takes courage to fight for what is right. But there are people who will do anything to protect themselves and sometimes courage is not enough to keep you safe.

My View:

The hype did not mislead, this is a brilliant read! Powerfully written; emotive, evocative, filmic, tragic, an expose of historical violence and racism in a remote town, intriguing with more than a few dead bodies (and some nearly so).

This book is a time capsule of the 60’s in regional Australia; the idea of women’s rights, women as directors of their own destiny, is just starting to surface, witness the Stolen Generation policy in action, the fear it generated, the family disruptions, as we are taken back to the not to distant past, a past that can be confronting and challenging.

Women’s rights, racism, violence, corruption, revenge and the isolation of distance intersect and interact in often heart-breaking scenarios, yet there is hope. There is an amazing read. Be prepared to be transported to another time and another place. Be prepared for nail biting tension… and crocodiles.

I will most certainly be looking for more reads by this author.

P S Love the cover art.

Guest Review: Left You Dead – Peter James

Description:

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace investigates the case of a missing woman in Brighton in the seventeenth novel in Peter James’s bestselling series.

Is this Roy Grace’s most challenging case yet? A mystery that is leaving him totally confounded for the first time in his career.

Most Sundays, Niall and Eden Paternoster like to go for a drive and visit country houses. She likes to look at them, he likes to dream that one day . . .

However, most weeks they also end up bickering about something or other. This particular Sunday he wants to get back to catch the start of the French Grand Prix but she insists they stop somewhere to buy cat litter. Reluctantly, he pulls into the car park of a large supermarket and waits while she dashes in.

He waits. And waits. But Eden doesn’t come back out, she’s gone. When he gets home she’s not there either, and none of their friends or family have heard from her.

A few days later Niall is arrested on suspicion of her murder despite vigorously protesting his innocence. But as Roy Grace is called in to investigate the disappearance of Eden Paternoster, it soon transpires that nothing is as it seems . . .

Dr Pam Lynch’s View:

Left You Dead is book #17 in Peter James’s Roy Grace series, and I must admit I feel slightly conflicted after reading it.

I enjoyed it, I love Peter James’s writing and the entire series and yes, I’ll be waiting for #18. The series has developed over time to be as much about the main character as it is about the crime. We’ve followed Roy Grace through his ups and downs in the force, but we’ve also grown to know him as a man away from the job. Without giving too many spoilers away for those who may still be reading through the early novels, Roy has had his fair share of personal dramas.

Left You Dead is equal parts about the crime and about continuing Roy Grace’s story, and you can’t help but feel empathy towards him as he deals with a huge personal issue.

The crime itself is almost a minor storyline. And I’m afraid I do have issues with it. I picked up on one of the twists very early on and I’m still not sure if the reader was meant to pick up on it or if my detection skills are improving. The final twist was unexpected though. 

Peter James’s books are some of the most accurate police procedurals on the market and this one is no different. At times though I did get the feeling he was going a bit far with the procedural details in this book, sometimes to the detriment of moving the story along. 

All in all, a great read and yes, I would recommend it.

Review: The Chase – Candice Fox

The Chase

Candice Fox

Bantam

Penguin Books Australia

ISBN: 9781760896799

RRP $32.99

Description:

When more than 600 of the world’s most violent human beings pour out from Pronghorn Correctional Facility into the Nevada Desert, the biggest manhunt in US history begins.

But for John Kradle, this is his one chance to prove his innocence, five years after the murder of his wife and child.

He just needs to stay one step ahead of the teams of law enforcement officers he knows will be chasing the escapees down.

Death Row Supervisor turned fugitive-hunter Celine Osbourne is single-minded in her mission to catch Kradle. She has very personal reasons for hating him – and she knows exactly where he’s heading …

My View:

Over the past few weeks, I have read 3 books that I am prepared to say are the best reads of 2021. Each are in different categories, each is memorable, remarkable, enjoyable, well written and coincidentally written by an Australian author. Each is an immersive read – you will not want to put these 3 books down; you will not want the stories to end.

This is the second book.

Don’t pick this book up and expect to read a few chapters and then go to bed…uh uh. This book won’t let you rest until you have finished reading. It is fast paced, character driven (oh how I loved the two protagonists), engaging, enticing, enthralling, exciting and I absolutely loved reading this engaging book.

I believe this to be Candice Fox’s best work to date. How is she going to surpass this one? I can’t wait to find out.

PS I do believe the movie rights to this book will be snapped up soon (if not already).   

I do have one bone to pick with Candice though, since I finished reading this, I have not been able to pick up another crime/thriller read and they are my favourite genre.  I have a serious book hangover 😊

Check out what other book reviewers have thought of this read – I think you will find they all agree with me.

Review: The Paris Affair – Pip Drysdale

The Paris Affair

Pip Drysdale

Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781760854331

RRP $32.99

 

Description:

She thinks love can kill you. It turns out she might be right.

Meet Harper Brown…

Occupation: Arts journalist

Dream job: Hard-hitting news reporter

Location: Paris

Loves: True crime podcasts, art galleries, coffee, whiskey

Does not love: fake people, toxic positivity, being told how to live her life by smug workmates who have no life (that’s you, Stan), her narcissistic ex

Favourite book: 1984

Favourite artist: Noah X. Sometimes.

Favourite painting: Klimt’s Schubert at the Piano

Special skills: breaking out of car boots, picking locks and escaping relationships.

Superpower: She can lose any guy in three minutes flat. Ask her how.

Secret: She’s hot on the trail of a murderer – and the scoop of a lifetime.

 

That’s if the killer doesn’t catch her first.

 

My View:

I loved this sassy, modern, exciting, captivating mystery. Set in Paris, this read makes you feels like you are in the city, at the art gallery, in the office, walking along the streets…the settings are brilliant. And the characters are just as well written. Visit the office and recognise some of the character traits Drysdale has instilled in Harper’s colleagues, you will recognise them.  Examine the friendships, the relationships are credible and some familiar.

Flawed yet resilient and strong, the protagonist Harper Brown is gutsy and likeable in a sometimes cringeworthy way. But you will like her. And a bonus – she has a great knowledge of art (or if not, she certainly talks the talk) 😊. And Noah X is …worth reading about.

The murders/mystery elements will keep you guessing.  There are so many well-placed red herrings you will not guess who did.

 

A great read.