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.

 

#FridayFeebie – A Murder at Malabar Hill – Sujata Massey

A Murder at Malabar Hill

Sujata Massey

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 97817601529406

This book has won so many *awards!  For your chance to win a copy – I have five to give away, simply tell me ( in the comments) Perveens Mistery’s occupation.   ** Open to Australian residents only, winners drawn randomly on 1/2/020)**

 

*Winner and Top Pick of the 2019 American Library Association Reading List for Mystery
*Winner of the 2019 Mary Higgins Clark Award
*Winner of the 2019 Lefty Award for Best Historical Novel
*Winner of the the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel
*Finalist for the 2019 Shamus Award
*Finalist for the 2019 Harper Lee Legal Fiction Prize

‘Marvelously plotted, richly detailed . . . This is a first-rate performance inaugurating a most promising series.’ The Washington Post

‘Perveen Mistry has all the pluck you want in a sleuthing lawyer, as well as a not-so-surprising – but decidedly welcome – proclivity for poking her nose into the business of others. The pages do indeed fly.’ The Globe and Mail

Introducing Miss Perveen Mistry, the star of an outstanding new crime series. This courageous, likeable and determined young lawyer-turned-sleuth will appeal to readers of Phryne Fisher and Precious Ramotswe in a stunning combination of crime and mystery set in 1920s Bombay.

Armed with a legal education from Oxford, Perveen Mistry has joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India.

Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr Omar Farid, a wealthy mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What future will they have?

Perveen is suspicious, especially since one of the widows has signed her form with an X-could she even read the document? The Farid widows live in strict seclusion, never leaving the women’s quarters or speaking to any men. With her own tragic history close to her heart, Perveen worries that the women are vulnerable to injustice.

As Perveen comes closer to the truth, tensions escalate to murder, the widows fall under suspicion and Perveen must figure out what’s really happening on Malabar Hill.

‘ . . . a splendid first instalment in what promises to be a memorable series.’ The Wall Street Journal 

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

In The Mail This Week 30th October 2016

in-the-mail-3010016

Some great reads received in the mail this week -The Barry Maitland’s Slaughter Park is a win from Text Publishers- thank you very much – I am a big fan of the Harry Belltree series.  What would you read next? One of these or is their something else that demands to be read next? What’s on the top of your TBR today?

Post Script: Camille – Pierre Lemaitre

Cover Page Camille - Pierre Lemaitre

Camille

Pierre Lemaitre

Quercus Books

MacLehose Press

ISBN: 9780857052766

 

Description:

Anne Forestier finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time when she blunders into a raid on a jewellers on the Champs-Élysées. Shot three times, beaten almost beyond recognition, she is lucky to survive, but her ordeal has only just begun.

Lying helpless in her hospital bed, with her assailant still at large, Anne is in grave danger. Just one thing stands in her favour – a partner who will break all the rules to protect the woman he loves: Commandant Camille Verhœven.

For Verhœven it’s a case of history repeating. He cannot lose Anne as he lost his wife Irène. But his serious breach of protocol – leading a case in which he is intimately involved – leaves him out on a limb, unable to confide in even his most trusted lieutenants.

And this time he is facing an adversary whose greatest strength appears to be Verhœven’s own matchless powers of intuition.

 

My View:

The third book in the Verhœven Trilogy – and what a masterpiece this is I have almost forgiven Lemaitre for the bloodthirsty nature of the first book in the series (which you may recall I read the first book after #2 Alex, not before). This book has a few savage moments but the wonderful narrative full of twists, turns and manipulations saves the book from a focus purely on brutality. Commandant Verhoeven is brilliant in this episode – we are touched and sadden by his situation, we understand his decisions, his re –actions, his dilemmas, we are worried about history repeating itself. Verhoeven is a very empathetic character and we are indeed disappointed at how the final chapters play out for him; Verhoeven is more than this. He deserves better.

 

But fear not Verhoeven fans I have determined that there is already a 4th book in this series – Rosy and John released in French last year. We await the English translation with anticipation.

 

 

 

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher.

Coming Soon….

I will soon be reading and reviewing Hummer Boy B  by Ruth Dugdall – this is the third novel by this author that I will  have read – I am a keen follower of her work, she writes powerful, insightful crime fiction narratives informed by her  work as a probation officer in prisons for serious offenders.   This is guaranteed to be a thought provoking read. I cant wait to start it.  The book is due for release in April 2015 by Legend Press – pre order now.

Hummer Boy B

Description:

A child is killed after falling from the Humber Bridge. Despite fleeing the scene, two young brothers are found guilty and sent to prison. Upon their release they are granted one privilege only, their anonymity. Probation officer Cate Austin is responsible for Humber Boy B’s reintegration into society. But the general public’s anger is steadily growing, and those around her are wondering if the secret of his identity is one he actually deserves to keep. Cate’s loyalty is challenged when she begins to discover the truth of the crime. She must ask herself if a child is capable of premeditated murder. Or is there a greater evil at play?