Goodwood – Holly Throsby

The everyday happenings in a small town are disrupted by the disappearances of two locals who couldn’t be more different.

The thing I love most about writers’ festivals is the discovery of new authors you would never have looked at otherwise. Holly Throsby is one such author for me. She was on a panel at the Newcastle Writers’ Festival with a couple of other authors, and to be honest I was there for the topic and the other writers. I had no idea who Holly was. But she lit up the panel, and I figured if she writes half as good as she speaks I need to read her books.

She writes even better than she speaks, if that’s possible, so I am thrilled to have found this new author. Her books are not traditional crime, rather they are about small communities and people and what happens when their lives are disrupted. Goodwood was a masterful character study, with a bit of a mystery thrown in, and I loved it.

Links:

Amazon US
Amazon AU
Kobo

Lethal White – Robert Galbraith

A P.I. And his faithful sidekick are compelled to investigate when a mentally ill young man claims to have seen a child murdered.

Look, I’m a big fan of anything J.K. Rowling puts her hand to, including this series written under the Robert Galbraith pen name. This book, however, might be stretching the friendship. As always, it was a good story woven by an incredibly talented storyteller, but I will admit to struggling through at least the first half of the book. There was a lot going on, a lot of filler that I felt could have been trimmed, and oh my goodness I struggled with Robin not waking up to herself where Matthew was concerned.

I do love Strike and Robin, so it won’t stop me reading the next one, if there ever is a next one, but if that goes the same way I can see myself switching to the screen version only for this series.

Links:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Kobo

The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair – Joël Dicker

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A writer stuck for inspiration for his second novel finds it in the mysterious circumstances involving his mentor and a fifteen-year-old-girl, who disappeared thirty-three years ago.

I got this book for Christmas, at which point I was four episodes into the TV series, so my dilemma was obvious: Do I keep watching first, or dive into the book? If I get involved in the book, do I finish it before the series? It was quite the conundrum, made more complicated by the fact I was watching it with my partner so I could only keep watching when he was available. What to do? 

If you’ve come to know me at all by now you’ll know I read the book, of course. And I very much enjoyed it. It’s a long read, over 600 pages, but I knocked most of it off in a few days. It nearly lost me towards the end, but got me back by pulling out a nice twist. It’s got some terrible reviews on Amazon, and it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea. The story is not terribly realistic. But I kept reading well into the night so it definitely entertained me, which is really the biggest thing I ask of a book.

The TV series is following the book quite closely (so far as I know, we’re still only four episodes in), although as usual some stuff is cut or re-arranged for brevity and effect. But mostly it’s a true representation of the book, and now I’m really looking forward to the final six episodes. Plus, Patrick Dempsey. I feel a binge-watching session coming on!

Links:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Kobo

The Lost Man – Jane Harper

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The eldest of three outback brothers, outcast by his local community, struggles to understand how and why his brother died at a lonely outpost in the desert nine miles from his fully stocked and functional vehicle.

I’m calling it – this was my favourite book of 2018, and Jane Harper has cemented herself as one of my favourite Australian authors. Not only is it a bloody good mystery story, it’s a fantastic tale of families and life in the Australian outback. The characters are all brilliantly crafted, and you can just picture the scenes in your mind as you read. It doesn’t matter if you pick who did it before you’re supposed to with a story like that. You keep reading a book like this because you’re invested in the characters, all of them, and how the outcome affects them. 

Highly recommended, and I can’t wait for the next Jane Harper.

Links:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Kobo


Scrublands – Chris Hammer

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A small-town priest shoots dead five members of his congregation before committing suicide by cop. A journalist wants to know why.

This was a pretty full-on story, and I’m still not sure whether I enjoyed it or not. The writing was good, if not bordering on too literary for my tastes. The characters were well constructed, and the pace was suitable. The setting, a small rural town devastated by drought, was both believable and heart-breaking. Overall, though, the story felt too convoluted to me. I’m still trying to get it all straight in my head.

Links:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Kobo

Sweet Little Lies – Caz Frear

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A young detective investigates a recent death that harks back to a life-changing event from her childhood. The investigation hits way too close to home, and she finds herself hanging on to her job and her sanity by a thread.

I loved this book. The writer’s voice is fantastic. Gritty, witty, and so easy to read. Add in an intriguing story and great characters, and this book has everything I love in a thriller. I’ll be following this author.

Links:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Kobo