August on AustCrimeFiction

I know, I've tried to do these monthly summaries before and lost interest but I have a plan. No really. Stop laughing. Right, so August was another interesting month at AustCrimeFiction. Only 14 books from myself this month, with a few reviews from last month, and some added by Robert Goodman as well - so in date within category order:

Read and Reviewed this Month:

Crime Fiction

Kingdom of the Strong, Tony Cavanaugh 
My Rating: This is the book that Darian Richards deserved to have written. 

"Darian Richards is an ex-cop, a good one. He did whatever it took to solve a crime and stop the bad guy. Whatever it took! But after sixteen years as the head of Victoria's Homicide Squad, he'd had enough of promising victims' families he'd find the answers they needed. He had to walk away to save his sanity."  

Fast and Loose, Nicholas J. Johnson
My Rating: Strong 2nd novel in this series for those who want something other than murder in their crime fiction.

"Joel Fitch used to be a con artist. That is, until his scam paid off but his life went belly up. Now, two years later, at the ripe old age of 22, Joel has a mattress full of cash and no idea what comes next. The movies never tell you what to do after you’ve walked into the sunset." 

A Time to Run, J.M. Peace
My Rating:  Interesting debut with a different sort of victim.

"The hunt is on / A GRUESOME GAME / A madman is kidnapping women to hunt them for sport. / A FRANTIC SEARCH / Detective Janine Postlewaite leads the investigation into the disappearance of Samantha Willis, determined not to let another innocent die on her watch."  

Ghost Child, Caroline Overington
My Rating: Didn't work for me

"In 1982 Victorian police were called to a home on a housing estate an hour west of Melbourne. There, they found a five-year-old boy lying on the carpet. There were no obvious signs of trauma, but the child, Jacob, died the next day. The story made the headlines and hundreds attended the funeral. Few people were surprised when the boy’s mother and her boyfriend went to prison for the crime. Police declared themselves satisfied with the result, saying there was no doubt that justice had been done."

Leona: The Die is Cast, Jenny Rogneby
My Rating: Very brave portrayal of a flawed hero

"A naked and bloody seven-year-old girl walks into a bank, clutching a grubby teddy bear. She plays a threatening recording, demanding money. No one dares intervene. The child leaves the bank and disappears, without leaving a trace of evidence."

The Loney, Andrew Michael Hurley
My Rating: Crime / Supernatural / Literary cross-over style which will appeal to many readers - perhaps not this one so much.

"If it had another name, I never knew, but the locals called it the Loney - that strange nowhere between the Wyre and the Lune where Hanny and I went every Easter time with Mummer, Farther, Mr and Mrs Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest."

Come to Harm, Catriona McPherson
My Rating: Loved this most unusual setup

"For Keiko Nishisato, leaving Tokyo is a rare adventure, but it’s living in the quiet little town of Painchton, Scotland, that shows her how far she is from home. Keiko has never met friendlier people than the Painchton Traders. Only the Pooles, the butchers below her second floor apartment, want to keep their distance. Murray Poole attracts her right away. Mrs Poole puzzles her—is there more than recent widowhood behind all that sadness? And then there’s Malcolm. Massive and brooding, he hints at something dark behind the bustle and banter of this strange little town."

True Crime

Australia's Most Murderous Prison: Behind the Walls of Goulburn Jail, James Phelps
My Rating:  Fascinating, written in a very readable style

"An unprecedented spate of murders in the 1990s – seven in just three years – earned Goulburn Jail the ominous name of ‘The Killing Fields'. Inmates who were sentenced or transferred to the 130-year-old towering sandstone menace declared they had been given a death sentence. Gang alliances, power plays, contracted hits, the ice trade, the colour of your skin – even mistaken identity – any number of things could seal your fate."

Mrs Mort's Madness, Suzanne Falkiner
My Rating: Interesting case from 1920's Sydney

"Four days before Christmas in 1920, Dorothy Mort shot her lover dead in cold blood. The tragic end to her affair with dashing young doctor, cricket star and War hero, Dr Claude Tozer, scandalised Sydney. Dorothy's respectable husband was devastated. Following a trial that mesmerised the public and sent the media into a frenzy, the troubled North Shore mother of two and budding actress was declared 'not guilty on the ground of insanity'."

Reviewed This Month:

Double Madness, Caroline de Costa
My Rating: A promising debut with a lot going for it

"Set in Queensland, this debut crime novel Double Madness by Caroline de Costa, takes us into a sordid underbelly of psycho-sexual depravity. As local residents and authorities in Far North Queensland assess the damage in the aftermath of Cyclone Yasi, a woman's body is found in bizarre circumstances deep in the rainforest."

The Insanity of Murder, Felicity Young
My Rating: Latest in well-written, well-researched series

"To Doctor Dody McCleland, the gruesome job of dealing with the results of an explosion at the Necropolis Railway Station is testing enough. But when her suffragette sister Florence is implicated in the crime, matters worsen and Dody finds her loyalty cruelly divided. Can she choose between love for her sister and her secret love for Chief Inspector Matthew Pike, the investigating officer on the case?"

Quota, Jock Serong
My Rating: No surprise this won the 2015 Ned Kelly Best First award

"CHARLIE JARDIM has just trashed his legal career in a spectacular courtroom meltdown, and his fiancee has finally left him. When an old friend slings him a prosecution brief that will take him to the remote coastal town of Dauphin, Charlie reluctantly agrees that the sea air might be good for him."

Reviews by Robert Goodman:

Close Your Eyes, Michael Robotham

"A mother and her teenage daughter are found brutally murdered in a remote farmhouse, one defiled by multiple stab wounds and the other left lying like Sleeping Beauty waiting for her Prince. Reluctantly, clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin is drawn into the investigation when a former student, calling himself the 'Mindhunter', trading on Joe's name, has jeopardised the police inquiry by leaking details to the media and stirring up public anger."

The Living and the Dead in Winsford, Håkan Nesser

"A woman arrives in the village of Winsford on Exmoor. She has travelled a long way and chosen her secluded cottage carefully. Her sole intention is to outlive her beloved dog Castor. And to survive the torrent of memories that threaten to overwhelm her."

Please Don't Leave Me Here, Tania Chandler

"Kurt Cobain stands at the top of the stairs, wearing the brown sweater. ‘Please don’t leave me,’ she yells up at him. But it’s too late; he’s turning away as the tram slows for the stop out on the street. Then she’s lying on the road. Car tyres are going past, slowly. Somebody is screaming. A siren howls."

Pleasantville, Attica Locke

"It's 1996, Bill Clinton has just been re-elected and in Houston a mayoral election is looming. As usual the campaign focuses on Pleasantville - the African-American neighbourhood of the city that has swung almost every race since it was founded to house a growing black middle class in 1949."

The American, Nadia Dalbuono

"As autumn sets in, the queues outside the soup kitchens of Rome are lengthening, and the people are taking to the piazzas, increasingly frustrated by the deepening economic crisis."

Read this Month / To be Reviewed:

Europa Blues, Arne Dahl
My Rating: Loved this enough and now want all the other books in the series.

"A Greek gangster arrives in Stockholm, only to be murdered in a macabre fashion at Skansen zoo, his body consumed by animals. As the Intercrime Unit – a team dedicated to solving international violent crime – investigate what brought him to Sweden, eight Eastern European women vanish from a refugee centre outside of the city while an elderly professor, the tattooed numbers on his arm hinting at his terrible past, is executed at the Jewish cemetery."

Close Your Eyes, Michael Robotham
To be reviewed at Newtown Review of Books

"A mother and her teenage daughter are found brutally murdered in a remote farmhouse, one defiled by multiple stab wounds and the other left lying like Sleeping Beauty waiting for her Prince. Reluctantly, clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin is drawn into the investigation when a former student, calling himself the 'Mindhunter', trading on Joe's name, has jeopardised the police inquiry by leaking details to the media and stirring up public anger."

Dark As My Heart, Antti Tuomainen
My Rating: Fascinating

"Aleksi lost his mother on a rainy October day when he was thirteen years old. Twenty years later, he is certain that he knows who's responsible. Everything points to millionaire Henrik Saarinen. The police don't agree. Aleksi has only one option: to get close to Henrik Saarinen and find out the truth about his mother's fate on his own. But as Aleksi soon discovers, delving into Saarinen and his beautiful daughter’s family secrets is a confusing and dangerous enterprise."

Resurrection Bay, Emma Viskic
To be reviewed at Newtown Review of Books

"Caleb Zelic, profoundly deaf since early childhood, has always lived on the outside - watching, picking up telltale signs people hide in a smile, a cough, a kiss. When a childhood friend is murdered, a sense of guilt and a determination to prove his own innocence sends Caleb on a hunt for the killer. But he can’t do it alone. Caleb and his troubled friend Frankie, an ex-cop, start with one clue: Scott, the last word the murder victim texted to Caleb. But Scott is always one step ahead."

The City of Blood, Frédérique Molay
My Rating: Still reading :)

"When a major Parisian modern art event gets unexpected attention on live TV, Chief of Police Nico Sirsky and his team of elite crime fighters rush to La Villette park and museum complex. On the site of the French capital's former slaughterhouses, the blood is just starting to flow, and Sirsky finds himself chasing the butcher of Paris, while his own mother faces an uncertain future."

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