Review: Silver – Chris Hammer

Silver

(Martin Scarsden #2)

Chris Hammer

Allen & Unwin Australia

ISBN: 9781760632991

RRP $32.99

 

Description:

For half a lifetime, journalist Martin Scarsden has run from his past. But now there is no escaping. He’d vowed never to return to his hometown, Port Silver, and its traumatic memories. But now his new partner, Mandy Blonde, has inherited an old house in the seaside town and Martin knows their chance of a new life together won’t come again. Martin arrives to find his best friend from school days brutally murdered, and Mandy the chief suspect. With the police curiously reluctant to pursue other suspects, Martin goes searching for the killer. And finds the past waiting for him.

 

He’s making little progress when a terrible new crime starts to reveal the truth. The media descend on Port Silver, attracted by a story that has it all: sex, drugs, celebrity and religion. Once again, Martin finds himself in the front line of reporting. Yet the demands of deadlines and his desire to clear Mandy are not enough: the past is ever present.

 

An enthralling and propulsive thriller from the acclaimed and bestselling author of Scrublands.

 

My View:

This is a read that takes us deeper into the life of our protagonist and subsequently of the town, Silver, where he grew up. The town has a very dominant position in this read – sparking discussion re developments, the survival of small towns in difficult economic times, about the environment, about progress, about corruption, pollution, sustainability …it’s almost as if  Chris Hammer is talking about the Margaret River region, (Western Australia’s equivalent to Bryon Bay I believe) 🙂

 

And then there is the mystery, a murder or two or three… (No spoilers here) and the relationship issues. And a delightful infant that symbolises hope and growth in both the personal and community.

 

I can’t wait to see what the third book in this trilogy reveals.

 

Catch up with Chris Hammer here: WOW he is busy! 

ERINA
Meet Chris Hammer: Author Talk, Q&A and Book Signing
Wednesday 9th of October
6 pm for 6.30 pm start – 8 pm
Erina Library
Shop KM 006, Terrigal Drive NSW 2250
Presented in conjunction with Book Face Erina
RSVP here

ADELAIDE
In Conversation with Chris Hammer
Friday 11th of October
6.30 pm – 7.30 pm
Burnside Library
401 Greenhill Rd, Adelaide SA 5065
Presented in conjunction with Shakespeare’s Book & Coffee Shop
RSVP here

MELBOURNE
Meet & Greet Chris Hammer
Monday 14th of October
Infuse Camberwell
6.30 pm – 8 pm
2 Burke Avenue, Camberwell VIC 3123
Presented in conjunction with Dymocks Camberwell
RSVP here

MELBOURNE
Chris Hammer in conversation with Tim Byrne
Tuesday 15th of October
6.45 pm – 7 pm
Avenue Bookstore
127 Dundas Place, Albert Park VIC 3206
RSVP here

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Books at Bars with Chris Hammer
Wednesday 16th of October
6 pm for 6.20 pm
The Lookout
148 The Esplanade, Scarborough WA 6019
Presented in conjunction with Dymocks Joondalup
RSVP here

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Author Talk, Q&A and Book Signing with Chris Hammer
Thursday 17th of October
6 pm for 6.30 pm
Barefoot Books Busselton
Shop 21-23 Fig Tree Lane, Busselton WA 6280
RSVP by calling (08) 9751 3905

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Chris Hammer In Conversation
Friday 18th of October
6.15 pm for 6.30 pm
Beaufort St Books
567 Beaufort St, Mount Lawley WA 6050
RSVP here

QUEENSLAND
Author Talk, Q&A and Book Signing with Chris Hammer
Sunday 20th of October
9.30 am – 11.30 am
Avid Reader
193 Boundary St, West End QLD 4101
RSVP by calling (07) 3846 3422

QUEENSLAND
Mini Event Stock Signing
Sunday 20th of October
1 pm
Dymocks Brisbane
177 Albert St, Brisbane City QLD 4000
RSVP by calling (07) 3007 2800

QUEENSLAND
Chris Hammer in conversation with Ben Hobson
Monday 21st of October
6.30 pm
Riverbend Books
193 Oxford St, Bulimba QLD 4171
RSVP here

SYDNEY
Author Talk, Q&A and Book Signing
Monday 28th of October
6.30 pm – 7.30 pm
Manly Library
1 Market Place, Manly NSW 2095
Presented in conjunction with Harry Hartog Bondi Junction
RSVP here

SYDNEY
Author Event at Penrith City Library
Tuesday 29th of October
6.30 pm – 7.30 pm
Penrith City Library
601 High St, Penrith NSW 2750
Presented in conjunction with Dymocks Penrith
RSVP here

SYDNEY
Chris Hammer in conversation with Scott Whitmont
Wednesday 30th of October
12.30 pm
Chatswood Library
Lower Ground, The Concourse
409 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood NSW 2067
RSVP here

SYDNEY
An Evening with Chris Hammer
Thursday 31st of October
6.30 pm – 7.30 pm
Castle Hill Library
Pennant St & Castle St, Castle Hill NSW 2154
Presented in conjunction with Dymocks Rouse Hill
RSVP here

TATHRA
Chris Hammer in conversation with Gabbie Stroud
Saturday 2nd of November
4.30 pm
Tathra Hotel
8-12 Bega St, Tathra NSW 2550
Presented in conjunction with Candelo Books
RSVP by calling (02) 6494 1101

CANBERRA
Chris Hammer in conversation with Michael Connelly
Monday 4th of November
6 pm – 8 pm
National Library of Australia
Theatre, Lower Ground 1, Parkes Place Canberra ACT 2600
RSVP here

COFFS HARBOUR
In conversation with Chris Hammer
Wednesday 6th of November
5.30 pm for 6 pm
Harry Bailey Memorial Library
Cnr Coff and Duke St, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
Presented in conjunction with The Book Warehouse
RSVP by calling (02) 6648 4900

BYRON BAY
Chris Hammer in conversation with Matthew Condon
Thursday 7th of November
6 pm
The Book Room at Byron
27 Fletcher St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
RSVP by calling (02) 6685 8183

ELTHAM
Chris Hammer in conversation with Kate Mildenhall
Monday 11th of November
6.30 pm – 8 pm
Earthbound Bolton
5/266 Bolton St, Eltham VIC 3095
Eltham Bookshop
Ticket price includes a copy of the book or a $30 gift voucher,
a glass of wine and refreshments
RSVP by calling (03) 9439 8700

ALBURY
Author Event with Chris Hammer
(wine and finger food provided)
Wednesday 13th of November
5.30 pm – 7 pm
Public House Albury
491 Dean St, Albury NSW 2640
RSVP by calling (02) 6041 1805

ORANGE
Library After Hours: In Conversation with Chris Hammer
Wednesday 20th of November 2019
7 pm – 9 pm
Orange City Library
Central West Libraries
147 Byng St, Orange NSW 2800
RSVP here

YOUNG
In Conversation with Chris Hammer
Thursday 21st of November
6.15 pm for 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Young Library, Hilltops
31 Lynch St, Young NSW 2594
RSVP here

BOOROWA
In Conversation with Chris Hammer
Friday 22nd of November
10.30 am – 12 pm noon
Boorowa Library, Hilltops
Corner of Market and Pudman Street, Boorowa NSW 2586
RSVP here

KIAMA
Dinner with Kiama Library
Saturday 23rd of November
6.30 pm
The Sebel Kiama Harbourside
31 Shoalhaven St, Kiama NSW 2533
RSVP by calling (02) 4230 7500

 

Review: Wearing Paper Dresses – Anne Brinsden

WEARING PAPER DRESSES

Anne Brinsden

Pan Macmillan Australia

https://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781760784850/

RRP $32.99

Description:

You can talk about living in the Mallee. And you can talk about a Mallee tree. And you can talk about the Mallee itself: a land and a place full of red sand and short stubby trees. Silent skies. The undulating scorch of summer plains. Quiet, on the surface of things.

 

But Elise wasn’t from the Mallee, and she knew nothing of its ways.

 

Discover the world of a small homestead perched on the sunburnt farmland of northern Victoria. Meet Elise, whose urbane 1950s glamour is rudely transplanted to the pragmatic red soil of the Mallee when her husband returns to work the family farm. But you cannot uproot a plant and expect it to thrive. And so it is with Elise. Her meringues don’t impress the shearers, the locals scoff at her Paris fashions, her husband works all day in the back paddock, and the drought kills everything but the geraniums she despises.

 

As their mother withdraws more and more into herself, her spirited, tearaway daughters, Marjorie and Ruby, wild as weeds, are left to raise themselves as best they can. Until tragedy strikes, and Marjorie flees to the city determined to leave her family behind. And there she stays, leading a very different life, until the boy she loves draws her back to the land she can’t forget…

 

‘In the same vein as Rosalie Ham, Brinsden weaves a compelling story of country Australia with all its stigma, controversy and beauty.’ Fleur McDonald

 

AUTHOR INFORMATION

As far back as Anne can remember she has loved stories. Mostly, she would read them. But if there were no stories to read, she would make up her own. She lives in the western suburbs of Melbourne now with a couple of nice humans, an unbalanced but mostly nice cat and a family of magpies. But she lived all of her childhood in the Mallee in northern Victoria before heading for the city and a career as a teacher. She received the 2017 Albury Write Around the Murray short story competition, judged and presented by Bruce Pascoe; and was highly commended in the 2018 Williamstown Literary Festival short story competition. Wearing Paper Dresses is her first novel. Find out more at: http://www.annebrinsden.com

 

My View:

This is by far one of the stand out reads of 2019 and deservedly will find a place on my “Best of 2019 “reads.

 

This book evokes country Australia, small town, impoverished, drought struck Australia. It is all hard angles and tough decisions. It is mesmerising. It is relatable. It is real.  It is mental health issues in an accessible relatable format. It is life. It is love. It is family.

 

Read it. You MUST.

 

PS

Check out my #FridayFreebie post this week for a chance to win this amazing book.

 

Review: The Inn – James Patterson and Candice Fox

The Inn

James Patterson and Candice Fox

Penguin Random House

Century Australia

ISBN: 9780143794516

Description:

A gripping stand-alone novel from the world’s bestselling thriller writer.

Ex-Boston homicide detective Billy Robinson has retreated to a quiet life on the New England coast. Struggling to cope following the death of his beloved wife, he must now run the inn that Siobhan took care of so well.

The inn’s quirky residents help keep Billy on solid ground as he grieves, and the group soon become an unconventional family. But this small town is in the grips of a growing opioid epidemic, and when a young resident gets hooked into the crisis, Billy knows he must act to save the people in the inn that he has grown to care so much about.

With his secretive past in Boston catching up to him, can Billy survive long enough to save the town – and its beloved inn – from ruin?

 

My View:

I had a little Stepehndrugs King déjà vu moment when I started reading this, perhaps it was the setting that evoked this random memory?  The waterfront, the old run down building that is the Inn?  A horror story of sorts, this however, is where the resemblance ends.

I have mixed feelings about this read. The first time I picked this up I was not engrossed or engaged with the narrative…I put the book down and started reading again the next day…something changed! The tension, the dilemmas, the characters living in the Inn grabbed a hold of me and didn’t let me lose until I finished reading.  What a change! I wish I could articulate the reason for the change- perhaps pace? Perhaps it’s the connection with the “good guys” and their struggle?

A great collaboration. A solid read. I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

Review: The Cottage at Rosella Cove – Sandie Docker

The Cottage at Rosella Cove

Sandie Docker

Penguin

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143789215

 

Description:

Why had the house stayed empty so long? Why had it never been sold?

 

LOST

Nicole has left her city life for the sleepy town of Rosella Cove, renting the old cottage by the water. She plans to keep to herself – but when she uncovers a hidden box of wartime love letters, she realises she’s not the

first person living in this cottage to hide secrets and pain.

 

FOUND

Ivy’s quiet life in Rosella Cove is tainted by the events of World War II, with ramifications felt for many years to come. But one night a drifter appears and changes everything. Perhaps his is the soul she’s meant to save.

 

FORGOTTEN

Charlie is too afraid of his past to form any lasting ties in the cove. He knows he must make amends for his tragic deeds long ago, but he can’t do it alone. Maybe the new tenant in the cottage will help him fulfil a promise and find the redemption he isn’t sure he deserves.

 

Welcome to the cottage at Rosella Cove, where three damaged souls meet and have the chance to rewrite their futures.

 

 

My View:

Isn’t it great when you discover a new author to add to your “authors you must read” list?

 

Sandie Docker writes with a subtleness that is poignant and encompasses many contemporary social issues without shouting her message loudly in your face.  There are many threads to this narrative – domestic violence – DV does not always include physical violence; it can be a deliberate isolation from friends and family, a slow erosion of self and self-confidence, financial dependence/control…the psychological assault is oh so manipulative and dire…Docker weaves this thread into the narrative with a deceptive charm – blink and you will miss the signs – just as the victim does. But this is more than a narrative of DV, it is a charming story of friendships, new and old, about redemption, rebuilding  –  I liked the analogy for rebuilding life/rebuilding cottage – by allowing friendship in and opening  up your heart to possibilities and hope.

 

I loved the device – the reading of old letters – to fill in gaps, to tell a personal history and a world history, to add depth to characters, and to provide optimism and resolution.

 

This is a deceptively simple narrative that encompasses so much life. A great read.

 

 

 

Review: Retribution – Richard Anderson

Retribution

Richard Anderson

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781925713404

 

Description:

A rural-crime novel about finding out how to survive and surviving what you find.

 

In a small country town, an act of revenge causes five lives to collide. Early one Christmas morning, Graeme Sweetapple, a man down on his luck, is heading home with a truck full of stolen steers when he comes across an upended ute that has hit a tree. He is about to get involved with Luke, an environmental protestor who isn’t what he seems; a washed-up local politician, Caroline Statham, who is searching for a sense of purpose, but whose businessman husband seems to be sliding into corruption; and Carson, who is wild, bound to no one, and determined to escape her circumstances.

 

Into their midst comes Retribution, a legendary horse worth a fortune. Her disappearance triggers a cycle of violence and retaliation that threatens the whole community. As tensions build, they must answer one question: is true retribution ever possible — or even desirable?

 

 

My View:

A gripping page turner that will make you gasp at the injustice (there are a few but one really, really nasty and evil one that will have you groaning in despair, no spoilers here) and then there is triumph!  You will cheer on the protagonists and celebrate their victories when “something worthwhile and more than an act of simple vengeance” p.311 leaves a smile on your face as you pump your fist in the air. YES!!!!

 

I did enjoy this read!

 

Another author to add to your must read list.

 

 

Guest Post – On Writing Path to the Night Sea – Alicia Gilmore

Path to the Sea

Welcome Alicia Gilmore to my blog. I recently asked Alicia to talk about how she came to write her amazing novel Path to the Night Sea – here is what she shared with me.

 

On writing Path to the Night Sea

 

Path to the Night Sea started as a short story in a fiction class with Sue Woolfe. Sue had given the class a selection of photographs and objects to spark our creativity and give us a physical stimulus to write a short fragment. I remember a small glass perfume bottle and a photograph caught my attention. The photo featured a woman in profile, seated at a piano, her hands poised to strike the keys. There was a cat sitting on top of the piano, and I wondered if these were the two most important things in her life – music and her pet. I started to write about this woman who would sit and play, not looking out of the curtained window, but indoors with her cat. Her face in profile, her ‘good side’… The perfume bottle that perhaps had belonged to a woman who would never get old. A bottle that held scented memories… Ideas and elements came together and what is now a lot of Day One in the novel formed the original short story. Sue read the story, said I had written the start of a wonderful novel and she had to know what happened to Ellie. I realised so I wanted to know too.

The story became darker the more I delved into Ellie’s world. Seven days seemed the fitting structure for Ellie to be introduced to the reader and for her to seek her path, tying in with the religious dogma she’d heard from her Grandmother and Father. Listening to music by Nick Cave and Johnny Cash helped me establish the mood at times and gave me the impetus to embrace the flaws and the darkness within my characters, especially Arthur. When I was writing the first drafts, I was living near the beach and the waves, particularly during storms, formed a natural soundtrack. If I peered out from my desk, I could catch glimpses of the ocean. By the time editing was underway, I had moved to a house that backed onto the bush and had inherited a cat. Listening to the raucous native birds, possums scurrying up trees and across the roof at night, dealing with the odd snake and lizards, plus watching the cat, heightened those natural elements of the story.

I was concerned about and for my characters. I needed to ensure that Arthur in particular had moments, however fleeting, when he was ‘human’, and that Ellie, despite her circumstances, not be passive. Ellie had to find the courage to fight for herself or remain lost to the world forever.   I found myself going off in tangents in early drafts with minor characters and subplots but judicious readers and editing brought the focus back to Ellie and Arthur, and the confines of restricted world they inhabit.

I had thought of letting Ellie go one morning years ago when I woke up and heard the news about Elizabeth Fritzl kidnapped and abused by her father. In my drowsy state listening to the radio, the reality of her situation came crashing in and I wanted to put my humble writings aside. What was fictional pain in the face of such devastating reality? As the recent shocking events in California this week have shown – thirteen children being trapped and chained at home by their parents – a nondescript house on the street can hide the most unimaginable terrors. Path to the Night Sea is my way of using language to explore familial dysfunction, small town horror, and ultimately, hope.

Sea

 

Post Script: Wimmera – Mark Brandi

Powerful, evocative, once you read you cannot unread.

 

Wimmera

Wimmera

Mark Brandi

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733638459

 

Description:

In the long, hot summer of 1989, Ben and Fab are best friends.

 

Growing up in a small country town, they spend their days playing cricket, yabbying in local dams, wanting a pair of Nike Air Maxes and not talking about how Fab’s dad hits him or how the sudden death of Ben’s next-door neighbour unsettled him. Almost teenagers, they already know some things are better left unsaid.

 

Then a newcomer arrived in the Wimmera. Fab reckoned he was a secret agent and he and Ben staked him out. Up close, the man’s shoulders were wide and the veins in his arms stuck out, blue and green. His hands were enormous, red and knotty. He looked strong. Maybe even stronger than Fab’s dad. Neither realised the shadow this man would cast over both their lives.

 

Twenty years later, Fab is still stuck in town, going nowhere but hoping for somewhere better. Then a body is found in the river, and Fab can’t ignore the past any more.

 

Wimmera is the 2016 Winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger (UK).

 

 

My View:

Powerful, evocative, once you read you cannot unread.

 

I guess you can say I am intuitive, I can read people (mostly) or maybe read moods is a better explanation – a survivor’s skill, an empathetic skill. I notice things, things that can make me feel uncomfortable, little things, an attitude, a facial expression, often  something intangible, a prickling of the skin… a niggling feeling that something isn’t right, a warning, a take care or get out of here kind of thing. Reading this book I was on high alert, all my intuitive cells were screaming – NO!!! Get out.

 

My intuition was not wrong.

 

The prologue sets the scene for a very intense read. A discarded wheelie bin, lid screwed down tight. The imagination starts to process many scenarios…none of them good.

 

The tension continues to build, by page seventy I was pretty sure what was going on or about to. I put the book down and had a little break. A few days later I picked up the book and continued. With subtle hints, oh so subtle, this authors says so much – this is such powerful writing!

 

Powerful, dark, intense, painfully exquisite writing. Less is more.  Once you read you cannot unread. Brilliant!