Post Script: Liar’s Candle – August Thomas

Liar's Candle by August Thomas cover art

Liar’s Candle

August Thomas

Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 978 1 4711 6703 4

 

Description:

In this brilliant debut thriller, set in the US embassy in Turkey, one young woman finds herself at the centre of a deadly plot and marked for death … An intelligent, fast-paced spy novel for fans of Olen Steinhauser and Joseph Kanon.

 

SHE IS THE WOMAN WHO KNOWS TOO MUCH …

 

Penny Kessler, a young intern at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, wakes up in a hospital on the morning of July 5th to find herself at the centre of an international crisis. The day before, the Embassy had been the target of a devastating terrorist attack that killed hundreds of Penny’s friends and colleagues. Not only has a photograph of Penny emerging from the rubble become the defining image of the event (#TheGirlwiththeFlag), but for reasons she doesn’tunderstand, her bosses believe she’s a crucial witness.

 

Suddenly, everyone is desperately interested in what Penny knows. But what does she know? And who can she trust? As she struggles to piece together her memories of the event, she discovers that Zach Robson, the young diplomat she’s been falling for all summer, went missing during the attack. Now his boss at the CIA, Christina Ekdahl, wants people to believe that Zach was a traitor. Only one person stands in her way: Penny. And Christina will do anything to silence her.

 

In a race to keep from being killed and to uncover the truth, Penny reluctantly partners with Connor Beauregard, a rookie CIA officer on his first overseas assignment. But the two won’t survive unless they can outwit – and outmaneuver – everyone from the Turkish president and his daughter to Islamic extremists, to the US State Department, to the CIA itself.

 

Praise for Liar’s Candle

 

“Stunning…a novel that brings the le Carré and Follett traditions into the 21st century.  Breakneck pacing, sharply observed detail, an all-too-plausible plot, and a protagonist to cheer for’ Joseph Finder

 

‘A high-energy thriller…The tension and relentless action ratchet higher from the very first chapter to the climatic ending as one terrifying escape follows the next and everywhere friends and foes change places. Thomas has eerily evoked not only the intrigue and brutality of terrorism in Turkey, but the country itself’ Paul Vidich

 

‘Tightly-plotted, well-written, and astute, Liar’s Candle is a remarkable debut’ Lisa Unger

 

‘August Thomas is a fresh, exciting new voice in international thrillers’ Chris Pavone

 

‘A propulsive, heart-in-your-throat thriller that’s loaded with unexpected twists and turns…. LIAR’S CANDLE is a shockingly good debut novel’ Daniel Kalla

 

My View:

What more can I say that hasn’t already been said? Only that the accolades are well deserved: this book is an outstanding read and if you love a fast paced, action packed, trust no one type of intelligent thriller – well then this book is for you.  So credible, such an authentic voice, I loved every word on every page.

 

 

Post Script: Tell The Truth Shame The Devil – Melina Marchetta

This is one book that you can believe all the hype about it!

tell-the-truth-shame-the-devil

Tell the Truth Shame the Devil

Melina Marchetta

Viking

Penguin Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780670079100

 

Description:

Chief Inspector Bish Ortley of the London Met, divorced and still grieving the death of his son, has been drowning his anger in Scotch. Something has to give, and he’s no sooner suspended from the force than a busload of British students is subject to a deadly bomb attack across the Channel. Bish’s daughter is one of those on board.

 

Also on the bus is Violette LeBrac. Raised in Australia, Violette has a troubled background. Thirteen years ago her grandfather bombed a London supermarket, killing dozens of people. Her mother, Noor, is serving a life sentence in connection with the incident. But before Violette’s part in the French tragedy can be established, she disappears.

 

Bish, who was involved in Noor LeBrac’s arrest, is now compelled to question everything that happened back then. And the more he delves into the lives of the family he helped put away, the more he realises that truth wears many colours.

 

 

My View:

This is one book that you can believe all the hype about it!

Deftly created empathetic characters; a strong female cast, women supporting women, family – in all shapes and sizes is a major element in this mystery. Complex – so many contemporary issues are addressed in this novel yet it is not verbose or pretentious or patronising. Heart felt scenarios – I dare you not to have a tear in your eye as you encounter the last few pages of the book – not tears of sadness but of relief, thankfulness, gratitude…tears for the potential you can visualise.

 

Don’t mistake my commendations as a sign this is a “chick lit” style book – it isn’t! This is an incredibly well written contemporary mystery/thriller with such well-developed characters you feel like you know them! Redemption, forgiveness, hope…its all here. I can’t praise this read highly enough. Add this to your book buying list now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: The Waiting Room – Leah Kaminsky

Compelling, moving and societally relevant.

 Cover The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room

Leah Kaminsky

Random House Australia Pty Ltd

Vintage Australia

ISBN: 9780857986221

 

Description:

Compelling, moving and memorable. Graeme Simsion. The Waiting Room captures the sights, sounds, accents and animosities of a country overflowing with stories. Dina is a family doctor living in the melting-pot city of Haifa, Israel. Born in Australia in a Jewish enclave of Melbourne to Holocaust survivors, Dina left behind a childhood marred by misery and the tragedies of the past to build a new life for herself in the Promised Land. After starting a family of her own, she finds her life falling apart beneath the demands of her eccentric patients, a marriage starting to fray, the ever-present threat of terrorist attack and the ghost of her mother, haunting her with memories that Dina would prefer to leave on the other side of the world. Leah Kaminsky plumbs the depths of her characters’ memories, both the sweet and the heart-wrenching, reaching back in a single climactic day through six decades and across three continents to uncover a truth that could save Dina’s sanity – and her life.

 

My View:

Compelling, moving and societally relevant.

Dina wasn’t there to see the ashes when the war ended, but she was born into a smoky after haze. She had never known war, but its tendrils gripped her from a young age, as she tried to make up for everyone her mother had lost. She had to be a good girl: fill her mother’s sadness with love.” In this instance Leah Kaminsky is specifically discussing the legacy of the Holocaust and the effects on the Jewish survivors, and in particular Survivors Guilt; she could however be talking about any people living in crisis, living with conflict, living in refugee camps, living with war or the survivors of war, in any region of our modern world. The effects of war and conflict are far reaching and disturbing, and time does little to ease the pain and burden of such actions.

 

Beautifully written, poignant, lyrical; “‘the dead were the lucky ones, you know.’ Her mother smoothes a few strands of hair back from her forehead. ‘After we were liberated, there was silence for a while.’ Dina imagines a soft sighing seeping up from the earth, melting into windless air. The murmuring of the dead. Their voices becoming a steady whisper that followed her mother everywhere.” Such sadness is articulately conveyed.

 

This narrative is intelligently written, haunting, evocative, explosive …unforgettable. There are lessons for us all to learn, for our politicians to hear and to note.

 

Post Script: I,Migrant – Sami Shah

“You can tell everything about a person by the books they read.”(p. 94)

Book cover I Imigrant Sami Shah

I, Migrant

Sami Shah

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781743319345

Description:

Despite nearly being killed by a kangaroo and almost lynched and run out of town after his comedy was taken far too seriously, Sami Shah is very happy to be living in Australia. He has fronted his own satirical show on TV in Karachi, worked as a journalist and been a highly regarded newspaper columnist – all dangerous occupations to be involved in – when the combination of seeing the aftermaths of a devastating bomb attack and being the target of death threats convinced him to leave Pakistan. Under the terms of their Australian migration visa, Sami and his wife and young daughter were obliged to settle in a rural area, and so they moved to Northam in WA.

Now Sami is battling a crippling addiction to meat pies, but at least is no longer constantly mistaken for an escaped asylum seeker from the nearby detention centre. He has also been the star of Australian Story, the subject of an article in The New York Times, and has performed countless comedy shows to ever-growing and appreciative audiences.

I, Migrant tells the hilarious and moving story of what it’s like to leave the home you love to start a new life in another country so your child can be safe and grow up with a limitless future. Australia is lucky to have Sami Shah. Read I, Migrant, and laugh till you cry.

My View:

Sami Shah writes with an evocative truth that will take you through a range of emotions. Living in Pakistan and experiencing such turmoil, violence, fear and discrimination is one that most Westerners will never understand or appreciate. I (and my family) spent eighteen months living in Sri Lanka in 1993/1994 and though I did not experience terrorism first hand, I did experience its effect on the people around me and the community I was living in. It became the norm to expect to be searched when entering buildings, shopping centres, parking lots etc. Sensible behaviour was to avoid crowds, pageants, processions and anything to do with elections. The president was assassinated the day I arrived in the country; curfews and tear gas were new experiences I would rather not have had. The TV and local papers filled with images of severed heads and gore, images that were to become “everyday”, commonplace, as the toll of terrorism and suicide bombers grew. I understand a little of what you have seen Sami but not what you experienced. But life went on, in Sri Lanka, in Pakistan. This violence or threat of violence became normalised – and that is indeed a tragedy. Sami shares his experiences – and I think we are all better off for reading them and considering how we might have coped or not in his situation. It does us good to walk a while in some one else’s shoes if only through the power of his words.

Despite the violence that surrounded Sami, this is not a depressing book, and in fact it is the opposite. It is full of hope and full of dark humour and personal reflections – some I found a little too personal, but that’s just me. J

Sami Shah is an astute observer of human behaviour perhaps that is the key to being a successful Stand-up Comedian (and a successful writer). I will share some of his wisdom and humour with you, observations that struck a chord with me:

On writing/finding material for his TV shows in Pakistan: “There were some phenomena I discovered that could be guaranteed to write their own punch lines. The most reliable was that, no matter who the politician was and where in the world they were speaking, if they espoused an opinion on something, you could find – with enough research – earlier footage of them saying the exact opposite with just as much conviction. I also realised, more than ever before, that every news story is merely a repeat of events that had occurred previously, with minor changes in the cast of characters at best.” (pp.132-133)

 

“Death, no matter who brings it, will come unannounced and so there is no point in waiting around for it.” (p.39)

 

“Journalists fancy themselves as being at the frontline of human experience –divers into the deepest seas of reality, plunging to extreme pressures that would crush a submarine and turn a chartered accountant or marketer into jelly. The only other life forms capable of surviving to those depths are doctors and soldiers. “(p.50)

“You can tell everything about a person by the books they read.”(p. 94)

 

Sami comments about learning the skills of comedy, “… I studied the power of a simple observation and how the more specific to your own life you get, the more likely you are to speak to a larger shared experience. The great wisdom of stand-up comedy is that if it happened to you, no matter what it is, then it probably happened to other people too.” (pp.109-110)