Post Script: Ghost Girls – Cath Ferla

“Ghost Girls richly evokes the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of Sydney’s Chinatown, and imagines dark exploitative demands behind closed suburban doors.”

Ghost Girls

Ghost Girls

Cath Ferla

Echo Publishing

ISBN: 9781760401177

 

Description:

‘Get on with things. That was how Wendy had met her death. She’d been hiding something and no one had noticed. Everyone had been too busy getting on with things. Sophie knew this pattern like a favourite tune. Move on, get on. Make a ghost.’

 

Winter in Sydney. The city is brimming with foreign students. Sophie Sandilands takes a job teaching at an English language school. When one of her students leaps to her death it becomes clear that lurking within the psyche of this community is a deep sense of despair and alienation. When it is revealed that the dead woman on the pavement has stolen another’s identity, Sophie is drawn into the mystery.

 

Unable to resist the investigative instincts that run in her blood, Sophie finds herself unravelling a sinister operation that is trawling the foreign student market for its victims. But as Sophie works on tracking down the criminals it becomes evident that someone has knowledge of her and the disappearances in her own past. Will Sophie solve the mystery before she too becomes a ghost?

 

Ghost Girls richly evokes the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of Sydney’s Chinatown, and imagines dark exploitative demands behind closed suburban doors.

 

 

My View:

Ghost Girls richly evokes the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of Sydney’s Chinatown, and imagines dark exploitative demands behind closed suburban doors – AGREE!

 

This was a fantastic read –dark, edgy, evocative, sparsely but succinctly worded, the edges softened with the sharing of rituals – personal, habitual, cultural.

 

The settings – so realistic; I don’t recall reading food and culture as such an essential ingredient for setting the scene in a work of crime fiction before now – what a wonderful device to transport the reader into the middle of this bustling narrative. I could visualise the back street traders, the back streets chaos filled, rubbish trailing out of kitchen waste dumpsters…people massing, the smells, the colours, the food, the people – in China and China Town in Sydney New South Wales- remarkably well written settings!

 

Cath Ferla’s writing speaks of many issues – alienation, prejudice, family expectations, guilt, exploitation and being “the other”, and importantly, draws out attention to the issues surrounding the making and distribution of pornography – pornography hurts all women and children; by the way it shape its consumers attitudes to women, to the way society sees the victims of the trade; pornography violates not only the participants but society in general. I am glad the author made this crime real, made this a personal crime – not something that “happens to the faceless few”, that can be discounted and “reasoned” away from our thoughts, generously Cath Ferla allows the antihero, Justin Lay, to somewhat redeem himself when he has an epiphany and realises that the women/girls in the material he is watching could be someone’s daughter, could be his daughter, are real people.

 

Food, culture, morality, exploitation, crime, a few red herrings, some very diabolical situations and a great female protagonist that you want to know more about- this book has it all! This book packs a heavy punch! A great 5 star debut!

 

Post Script: Please Don’t Leave Me Here – Tania Chandler

Please Dont Leave Me Here Tania Chandler Cover

Please Don’t Leave Me Here

Tania Chandler

Scribe

ISBN: 9781925106770

 

Description:

A riveting psychological thriller.

 

Kurt Cobain stands at the top of the stairs, wearing the brown sweater. ‘Please don’t leave me,’ she yells up at him. But it’s too late; he’s turning away as the tram slows for the stop out on the street.

 

Then she’s lying on the road. Car tyres are going past, slowly. Somebody is screaming. A siren howls.

 

Sweet voices of little children are singing ‘Morningtown Ride’.

 

Is Brigitte a loving wife and mother, or a cold-blooded killer?

 

Nobody knows why she was in the east of the city so early on the morning she was left for dead by a hit-and-run driver. It was the Friday before Christmas 1994 — the same day police discovered the body of a man beaten to death in her apartment.

 

Fourteen years later, Brigitte is married to the detective who investigated the murder, which she claims to have lost her memory of in the car accident. They have young twins, and seem to be a happy family. Until the reopening of the cold case.

 

Please Don’t Leave Me Here is about loss, love and lies. It is about pain, fear, and memory. And, above all, it is about letting go.

 

 

My View:

This has to be the scariest book cover I have come across in quite some time…that smoke blurred image that distorts the facial features of this photo, for some reason I find this very spooky- thankfully the book is not scary , it is …intriguing and very sad.

 

This is a narrative of many mysteries, survival, and memory and how low self-esteem can really shape a person’s life choices and boy has Brigitte mad some very poor choices… as we reach the conclusion of this book we catch a glimmer of hope that Brigitte is perhaps about to make a good decision – the past being acknowledged as the past and maybe accepting/owning her own feelings and a truth revealed.

 

Tania Chandler takes an addictive personality, low self-esteem, poor parenting and loss of memory and creates a very credible personality that is Brigitte. At each turn of the page you can understand why poor decision are made and empathise with the protagonist who is exploited and manipulated by even those who care for her. This is a grim, realistic story that ends with just a trace of optimism – or is that me looking for a positive outcome? Who knows…?

 

Tania Chandler has mastered the art of writing the unreliable narrator in this book.