Post Script: The Student – Iain Ryan

It must be the great writing!  

The Student

The Student

Iain Ryan

Bonnier Publishing Australia

Echo

ISBN: 9781760406370

 

Description:

Do bad people look like good people, like friends and brothers and boyfriends and students, until they have their hands around your throat?

 

Gatton, Queensland. 1994. Nate is a student, dealing weed on the side. A girl called Maya Kibby is dead. No one knows who killed her. Nate needs to refresh his supply, but Jesse, his friend and dealer, is missing. Nate is high. He is alone. Being hunted for the suitcase he’s found and haunted by its contents. And as things turn from bad to worse, Nate uncovers far more than he bargained for.

 

The Student is high-paced, hardboiled regional noir: fresh, gritty, unnerving, with a stark and lonely beauty.

 

‘A terrific neo-noir from an exciting new voice in Australian crime fiction’ – Adrian McKinty

 

‘The Student takes the campus novel and mines within it a dark seam of violence, deception and suspense in prose that burns with a fierce propulsion’ – David Whish-Wilson

 

 

Description:

It must be the great writing!  

 

My expectations of this book were not met. I did not like any of the characters – not one. I did not like the settings or the behaviours;   so much impulsive, self-gratifying, drug fuelled behaviour – and when I say drug fuelled, read that as over the top liberal drug use (and I do hope this is not a realistic portraying of University life in the 1990’s) and did I say drug use and then there was the sex scenes and the violence – sometimes simultaneously … this is a very dark, gritty narrative and not for me, and I usually love dark and gritty. Yet contrarily there was something about this writing that kept me turning pages!

 

Am I in the wrong demographic for reading this – maybe, probably? Yet I still turned the pages – it was a compulsive and compelling read. Hats off to the author for such engaging writing. This is irresistible dark prose.

 

 

 

The Student

Post Script: Dead End Fix , A Justice Novel – T E Woods

Dead End Fix

Dead End Fix

A Justice Novel ( #6)

T E Woods

Random House Publishing Group – Alibi

Alibi

ISBN:  9780425284551

 

Description:

Fear and violence come home to roost in this exhilarating Justice thriller featuring The Fixer—a roller-coaster ride for readers of Lisa Gardner, Karin Slaughter, and Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter novels.

 

I’ll bring Hadley home. Whatever it takes. Whatever it costs. Whoever has to die.

 

There’s a gang war unfolding on the streets of Seattle. A young boy has been killed in a drive-by shooting, and the ensuing chaos threatens to engulf the city. Normally, chief of detectives Mort Grant would be dealing with the fallout—but right now, his mind is elsewhere. . . .

 

In one gut-wrenching phone call, Mort’s worst fears are realized. His granddaughter Hadley has been kidnapped, and the culprit is his own flesh and blood: Allie, his daughter and Hadley’s aunt. Now, desperate for any sign of the missing six-year-old girl, Mort turns once again to the relentless vigilante called The Fixer for help.

 

After rising to the top of one of the largest criminal enterprises in the world, Allie Grant has turned her focus back on her family. But since they’ve rebuffed all her attempts at contact, she’s punishing them the only way she knows how. With an endless stream of cash and connections that span the globe, Allie makes a formidable target. But The Fixer boasts the deadliest weapon of all: her razor-sharp mind.

 

 

 

My View:

This novel, part 6 in the Justice/Mort Grant series and is another solid read from this talented author. I enjoyed the psychological battles and the solving of a major plot line in this episode by using psychology alone – this is what “the Fixer” does best – uses her mind. This is the element that I loved in the earlier books.

And now reflecting on the practice of psychology as I write my review I have realised the significance of the gang storyline (whilst interesting to read I was at a loss as to how this melded with The Fixer’s plot line) now I get it – it is about the power plays and psychology at work behind the behaviour of gangs – a tenuous link but a link there is.  Gang wars, drug lords/wars, one police division working in another’s territory… the psychology that binds and divides is interesting.

 

A solid read; one major story line ends – I have to wonder where this series is now heading…surprise me Dr Woods.  (A little bird has told me Dr Woods is developing a new series set in Madison, Wisconsin, now that should be interesting.)

 

Post Script: The Falling Detective – Christoffer Carlsson

The Falling Detective

The Falling Detective

The Leo Junker Series #2

Christoffer Carlsson

Translated by Michael Gallagher

Scribe

ISBN: 9781925321210

 

Description:

The second instalment in the internationally bestselling Leo Junker series.

 

Leo Junker is back in the snake pit — aka the homicide unit — after a murder case where he was the intended victim. Still abusing prescription drugs and battling his inner demons, he’s doing his best to appear fit for duty.

 

Then a sociologist named Thomas Heber is found murdered. The only clues the police have to work with are Heber’s cryptic research notes, which indicate that someone else’s life is also under threat. But who?

 

Leo is put on the Heber case with his former nemesis Gabriel Birck, but when the case is abruptly reassigned to the Swedish Security Service, he realises this is no ordinary street mugging. Soon he finds himself entangled in a clash between a racist gang and their rivals, and enters a war that’s being waged on the streets, in the public eye, and in the shadows.

 

 

 

My View:

Clues like these…mean nothing in isolation, without the story that ties them all together. They are like road signs without symbols or letters. (p.39)

 

An interesting modern police procedural with relevant contemporary references to global social and political issues.  It is also a domestic  story about friendship, trust and betrayal and demonstrates just how easy it is for people to be manipulated by fear – of being exposed (for behaviours they do not wish made public or to be made accountable for) fear of rejection, of not belonging, of not living up to others expectations.

 

Carlsson offers many astute observations of life and society throughout the book, this one particular observation resonated with me: (of Michael and Christian p. 100) They were fifteen, and both believed that they understood everything. In fact they understood nothing.  

 

Sociology and crime make for an interesting read, however I feel that as I missed reading the first book in this series I missed the connections between characters and didn’t have the background to understand some of the complicated relationships – I wanted to know what had happened to Leo, why he was taking medication, why he was hallucinating, showing obvious other signs of PTS (I knew it was to do with an incident relating to a shooting but little else). Whilst Carlsson provides some background information in this episode there is not enough for the new reader to be able to pick up the intricacies or nuances of relationships.  I really wanted to know more about Leo and Grim, about Leo and Birck, about Leo and Sam.  Regardless of my lack of history of some of the characters, this was still is an interesting look at some social political groups and situations that could easily become reality.

 

**The series will shortly be developed into a three season TV drama by StellNova Film.

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Badlands – CJ Box

Cover Badlands

Badlands

CJ Box

Harper Collins Publishers Australia

Head of Zeus

ISBN: 9781781852859

 

Description:

Can one woman tame the last frontier?

Grimstad, North Dakota. A place people used to be from – but were never headed to – has struck oil. As pipelines snake across the prairie, oil flows out and men and money flow in. And with them, comes crime. North Dakota’s new oil capital has a serious law and order problem and newly qualified detective Cassie Dewell has just been appointed its deputy sheriff.

Twelve-year-old Kyle Westergaard is one of Grimstad’s paperboys. Kyle has been written off as the ‘slow’ kid, but he has dreams deeper than anyone can imagine – he wants to get out of town, take care of his alcoholic mother, and give them a better life. While delivering newspapers, he witnesses a car accident and now has money and a lot of white powder in his possession.

 

With the temperature dropping to 30 degress below and a gang war heating up, Cassie fears she might be in over her head. The key to it all will come in the most unlikely form: an undersized boy on a bike who keeps showing up where he doesn’t belong.

 

My View:

Let me start by stating I am a huge CJ Box fan – his Joe Pickett series is fantastic and I have read several of his standalones and one frightfully disturbing book I found so intense I could not read more than the first few chapters, (In Three Weeks to Say Goodbye, so powerful was the presence of bullying in this book I could not read it – my loss), so to say I like CJ Box’s work is an understatement.

 

What do I love about his writing? Everything – his writing flows across the page, his command of realistic dialogue and his ability to paint the setting and locations of his books is amazing. The characters become old friends – as you read on you adopt the main characters as your own friends – people you know, trust and admire. The narrative – always interesting; contemporary environmental issues take the main stage with intrigue and murder/mystery.

 

And Badlands has all those great characteristics and then some; an impressive, strong, female protagonist, situations that are diabolical with the most evil of villains who treat people as if mere carcasses, to be chopped and mutilated at their whim and the added factor of suspected corruption in the police force makes the tension palpable. The young boy Kyle adds an innocence and vulnerability to the mix.

 

Another great read from CJ Box!