I think this has to be one of my favourite Suzanne Cass novels to date, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and found it hard to put down. It was a great start to her new series. Lacey and Nico were such good characters to get to know and I enjoyed the crime and mystery aspect of this story immensely. Set in Tasmania in Boat Harbour Bay, a place I had to look up because I needed to know if it was a real place or not, which it is, I thought this was the perfect setting for this book.
I was hooked from the start, as we meet Lacey, a young woman on leave from the police force after struggling with a traumatic event, she is travelling around Tasmania in an old Kombi van (something I would love to do) in order to give herself time and space to heal. When she breaks down at night in a cold deserted carpark and our hero Nico comes to the rescue. Lacey isn’t totally on board when she first meets him and I enjoyed seeing their relationship grow into friendship then more as they deal with Lacey coming across a traumatic murder and Nico investigating the crime.
It would be hard to be a police officer in a small town and we see how hard it is for Nico to do his job while dealing with people he considers friends in the community and having to investigate them. Lacey learns a lot about what she is capable of and does a lot of figuring out what she really wants out of her life. Lacey’s parents, her mother, in particular, was a piece of work and I wanted to set the guard geese onto her.
Nico also has to deal with his mother springing a nasty surprise onto him whilst in the middle of the murder investigation and I’m hoping we get to follow this mystery in the next book.
Tag: Australian crime fiction
New Release Book Review: Lest We Forgive by Phillipa Nefri Clark
I don’t read a lot of crime fiction, so when I do it’s because it sounds too good not to read, and Lest We Forgive (Detective Liz Moorland #1) by Phillipa Nefri Clark was exactly that.
It had me hooked from the get-go and I stayed up until god knows what time reading it because I couldn’t put it down (didn’t want to, who needs sleep).
The cast of characters was vast but well done. I felt like I already knew Vince, the bitter, reclusive retired cop who is the driving force behind wanting to find out what really happened to cause the crash that took his daughter Suzie and her husband David, leaving him fighting for custody of his granddaughter Mel against her godparents, Carla and Bradley, the latter being business partners with David.
There was a lot of emotional baggage to unpack with Vince, he’s a complicated character and I think if he hadn’t been forced to deal with it after taking on the care of Mel, then maybe he would never have got there and started to heal.
Vince is a force to be reckoned with and he will go to any lengths to uncover the truth, drawing his ex-police partner and friend, Detective Liz Moorland, who was called to the scene of the accident, into his investigation. Liz is already investigating the disappearance of an escaped and dangerous prisoner but is drawn into the investigation of the crash when evidence is uncovered that proves it wasn’t an accident. I really liked Liz, she was a strong female character who wasn’t afraid to go after the truth or put her partner Pete in his place when he acted out of line. The friendship between Vince and Liz blurred some of the lines in her investigation, but also helped Vince on his path to healing.
Mel was a fabulous character, for a little girl who’s lost her parents and had her life completely turned upside down, she brings a lot to this story and plays an important part in uncovering some of the clues that lead Vince and Liz to dig further into David and Bradley’s business, but also put her in danger. There are also some lovely scenes between Mel and her kitten Robbie and a horse called Apple and also Vince’s neighbour.
There are many twists in this story, unexpected connections that arise, danger from different sources, schemes and blackmail and dodgy business dealings and more murders. The bad guys are not nice people at all and I was stunned at the lengths some were willing to go to for money.
There is also a deeply emotional element running through as Vince, Mel and Carla deal with their losses Vince also has to deal with his past in order to be what Mel needs in the present and Carla deals with her desperate need to have a child and wants custody of Mel.
This book had me rapidly turning pages as I was drawn into uncovering the truth behind all that was going on, the tension ramping up to a really great ending.
Though the series is Detective Liz Moorland’s, I feel we only uncovered the tip of the iceberg with who she is so I’m looking forward to more Detective Liz Moorland books in the future and finding out just how far she will go to uncover the crimes and catch the bad guys.
Paperback available now
Ebook available March 28th 2023 – available for preorder
New Release Book Review: An A-List for Death by Pamela Hart
I really enjoyed catching up with Poppy again, she was lots of fun in Digging Up Dirt and not much has changed, she is still managing to get herself involved in multiple mysteries and crimes and taking it upon herself to help investigate. When Poppy’s aunt’s best friend is found bleeding and unconscious by Poppy, she is drawn into family secrets and plots and is determined to help work out what happened and who is out to get her, if anyone even actually is. Poppy is easy to like and the people around her all seem to trust her, she also likes to think the best of people even when they don’t deserve it.
She is in a relationship with Tol who she got together with during the previous book and I really like him, he was excellent support for Poppy when things spin out of control even when he becomes a suspect in the case. I hope they can make their relationship last.
There was once again a whole cast of characters from Poppy’s coworkers and her family, the police and the many suspects in what turns into several mysteries and murder attempts. I didn’t like two police officers who once again investigated the crimes, Detective Chloe Prudhomme blew too hot and cold for me, she was also hostile one minute and friendly the next, I really found her unpleasant and didn’t understand why Poppy seemed to like her.
There were plenty of threads to tie together in An A-List for Death and plenty of suspects and twists and turns while uncovering who was who and who did what. There was humour and some romance and plenty going on to keep me entertained.
I look forward to more Poppy McGowan cosy mysteries because there is no way I can see Poppy staying out of trouble in the future.
New Release Book Review: The Waterhole by Lily Malone
I have no idea how this post didn’t get finished when I started writing it well over a month ago, but I’m glad I can finish it now.
I was excited to hear Lily Malone had a new novel coming out, a departure from her usual genre this new rural crime novel has a much darker feel.
Lily has definitely managed to capture the feeling of small-town Cowaramup on the south coast of Western Australia.
This novel had some seriously unlikable characters, though one does redeem himself later on in the novel. I liked the characters of the two police officers and felt for Detective Marley West who has to prove himself to everyone because his grandfather was an extremely corrupt police sergeant who ruled the town for decades before.
Told between three different timelines dating back to 1966, we slowly discover past secrets, and there are plenty until the many secrets expose the truth behind the human bones discovered in what used to be a waterhole.
I’m looking forward to more dark crime fiction by Lily Malone and definitely looking forward to seeing more of Detective Marley West and hoping he can sort his life out a bit.
With thanks to the author for providing me with a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.
New Release Book Review: Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald
The start of this novel packs a punch, the description of the wall of fire bearing down on Fran as she runs to find her daughter is so visual I was there with Fran, running from this insane firey inferno.
This was a very emotional read, at the beginning, I found the first chapters a little hard to follow, but soon I was absorbed completely in the story. It jumps back and forth between the past starting 30 years before, and present, back to when Fran was a teenager and her experiences that played a major role in her future. This small town has a dark underbelly, which we get a real feel for as the story unrolls. The back story slowly works its way toward the present day and to where the story begins.
Fran and her family could be any one of us, getting by, dealing with what life throws at us the best we can. The family relationships were complicated and Fran’s return to Ash Mountain dregs up many feelings.
There were several scenes in the story, ones that involved the boarders from the catholic boys’ school, that had me shaking with fury, and with what has been going on in our media lately, it makes me wonder if some boy’s and men’s attitudes will ever change.
The devastating impact of fire is well known in Australia and Helen’s depiction of the fire itself and the devastation is extremely real. Both for the environment itself and for the people.
I posted after finishing this novel that this book was unputdownable and it certainly was, the ending, well, I won’t spoil it, but you are in for one hell of a ride.
Thanks to Better Reading Preview for a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.
New Release Book Review: White Throat by Sarah Thornton
This was a great second novel in the Clementine Jones series. Talk about full-on, especially the last quarter or so, I wasn’t sure how Clementine was going to get out of the situation she’d gotten herself into this time. But it seems Clem has nine lives, and no matter how many people she upsets or what she gets herself into, she comes through, albeit a little battered and bruised.
I was pleased that Torrens was in the book again, the friendship between them is good, even though I’m not entirely sure their friendship has survived this time, I’m keeping my fingers crossed if there’s a book #3, that they can work things out. They both have a lot to teach each other.
Clem once again goes all out, determined to uncover who murdered her friend, Helen, despite the police deciding it was a suicide. So much big corporate corruption, developer corruption, mining corruption, there were so many people who would have wanted Helen out of the way, but who actually did the deed.
I enjoyed learning about the white-throated snapping turtles, very interesting creatures, an animal that is listed as endangered, like so many these days, hopefully, the author can bring some attention to this turtle.
There was plenty of action and intrigue throughout while Clem does her thing and Torrens has her back once again. I enjoyed this even more than book one.
Thanks to NetGalley and Text Publishing for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.
20backlistin2020 Book Review: Lapse by Sarah Thornton
Another #20backlistin2020 read, I’m not going to make the 20 unfortunately, but here’s one more that I’ve caught up on and it was a really good read.
In the small town of Katinga Clementine Jones is hiding out from something that happened in her recent past. We are fed little bits about this event through the novel, but it isn’t until the end we find out the whole story. But we know that it’s something pretty bad and that is why Clementine wants to stay under the radar.
Clem has taken on the job of coaching the local footy team, a team that has lost for years. Everyone has high hopes she can get them to the finals. While Clem is a hard taskmaster, the guys respect her and she seems to be able to get the best out of them, even affecting them in their personal lives. While I enjoyed this part, the decisions that Clem makes throughout while she’s hunting for answers to why her lead player, Clancy has quit, seem to me to show that it’s all surface-level involvement.
I really did get annoyed with her, many times, for the decisions she makes throughout. Ones that bring danger, not just to herself, but to others around her who haven’t asked to be pulled into her one-woman, one mindset hunt for the truth.
Saying that, she was was persistent once she set her mind to things, no matter who she might upset or what danger might follow.
The corruption she uncovers goes deep and the things people will do to get what they want, make the mind boggle.
While Clem spends her time trying to uncover the truth, she tries to hold onto her own secrets.
Racism is rife in the town, I was saddened by this fact, and the way the indigenous people were treated, knowing this happens often in real-life makes it worse, when will it stop.
This was a fast-paced read where I questioned Clem’s decisions but respected her tenacity to ultimately try to make things right for Clancy. There are some frantic moments where you will wonder, has she gone too far.
I’m currently reading book #2 White Throat, Clem is on the hunt once again to uncover a crime.
Thanks to NetGalley and Text Publishing for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.
20backlistin2020 Book Review: The Night Whistler by Greg Woodland
Not too much of a backlist novel, but still one I’m glad to finally have read.
What a great crime read this novel was, and surprisingly not set in Tasmania. Instead, this is set in the New England region of NSW in 1966. The cover alone has plenty of sinister feels about it and the author does a great job of depicting the setting.
There was plenty of suspense throughout, as demoted former detective Mick Goodenough (pronounced Goodno) tries to uncover who might be making threatening phone calls to the Humphries’ residence along with trying to figure out who is killing pets and if it’s more sinister than just animals.
Mick is thwarted at every turn by corrupt, incompetent, and lazy colleagues and he really struggled to make headway in the cases.
The star of the story though is young Hal Humphries who finds the body of the dog that’s been killed and who is determined to play Sherlock and figure out who is calling his house, a person they’ve named The Whistler.
There’s plenty of people doing the wrong things in this small town, where racism is rife. I changed my mind several times about who had done which crimes, and it’s near the end where the perpetrator is pushed too far that things become clear.
If this is Greg Woodland’s debut novel, I’ll definitely be looking out for his next one.
Thanks to Netgalley and Text Publishing Company for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.
New Release Book Review: The Survivors by Jane Harper
The last book of Jane Harper’s, The Lost Man was a 5⭐ read for me, as was her first book The Dry, I haven’t read Force of Nature, but I’m going to guess it’ll be up there in the ratings. Her newest novel certainly didn’t disappoint, in fact, I think this is my favourite yet. If I didn’t get so tired in the evening and work didn’t get in the way, I think I’d have ploughed through this novel in one sitting.
I don’t read a lot of the mystery/crime/thriller genre, but this is one author whose books will be on my go-to list.
Set in Tasmania, as so many books have been this year, the setting is a small town on the coast, this was a departure from the stark, dry outback.
This novel had me guessing until nearly the very end who had done it and why, and I didn’t guess either right. Jane Harper is very good at delivering red-herrings, with twists and turns coming at you from every angle.
It starts with a crime the night we meet our characters, but it weaves in an accident and an unsolved crime from 12 years before. There are plenty of guilty seeming characters, though a motive is never really established, you still believe they could possibly be guilty.
As with all small towns, there’s plenty of gossip and secrets that come out of the woodwork when something terrible happens and fingers are pointed in every direction, which says small towns haven’t always got each other’s backs.
This was a great read with an ending I wasn’t expecting.
Thanks to NetGalley and PanMacMillan for a digital copy in return for an honest review.
New Release Book Review : Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie
OMG what a roller-coaster of a terrifying ride this novel took me on.
With at least two bad guys on the loose, there was plenty for the characters in this book to be worried about.
Tess was a great character, full of spirit, brave and sure of herself for the most part.
Aaron was a truly horrible character right from the start and any scene that he was in had me wanting to put the book down, sure things were going to turn out badly. His behaviour was classic of an abusive partner and I hated the way he treated Tess.
I loved Jared, the local police officer, he had a big job to do trying to keep up with escalating burglaries.
When Tess lets herself get roped into taking a group of teens out on a trek for a week, I was perplexed at her change in behaviour, because she had been so adamant it wasn’t a good idea, and I knew it wasn’t going to end well, but even I had no idea just how badly things were going to go.
There are several different threads going on during this novel, all becoming tangled up together by the end and not in a good way.
This was a great read and despite the terrible things that happen throughout this novel, I’d love to go trekking in Tasmania at some point, I just hope the bad guys are busy elsewhere when I do.
Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.
Published date 8th July 2020