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

The House Swap – Rebecca Fleet

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A couple struggling to reconnect and rebuild their marriage take a house swap as a chance to get away. Things get creepy.

This was a reasonably good psychological thriller that held my interest all the way to the end. It’s well written; I like the author’s style and voice. The characters were believable, if not terribly likeable. I did feel that the ‘what the heck is going on’ state of mind for the reader went on for a bit long – there were too many questions that were unanswered right until the end, but I guess that’s what kept me reading. I wouldn’t give it five stars, maybe only three and a half, but it’s a pretty decent debut and I would read the author again.

Force of Nature – Jane Harper

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Five women go into the bush on a weekend team-building exercise. Only four come out. What happened to Alice?

This is Jane Harper’s second book, and I must admit I enjoyed it more than the first. The Dry, her debut, was great; a small-town murder mystery set in drought-stricken rural Australia. I very much enjoyed that one, but I had it solved way too early. Force of Nature had me baffled, though. It has everything I love about a good murder – a limited cast of suspects, determined but fallible detectives, a great setting, and that alternating point of view thing that keeps you needing to read just one more chapter. I’m now a Jane Harper fan.

Links:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Kobo