April, apart from finishing off one book, was 100% Australian author month. Half way through the month it dawned on me that in 2006, when I got the first version of this site up and running, it was a bit tricky to fill an entire month's reading with local books - even with a bit of back catalogue re-reading. Thank goodness things are now as they are, where a month of solid local book reading barely put a dint in the due out soon stack, to say nothing of the backlist of things I should have read! Then it dawned on me that early on in the lifecycle of AustCrime there were quite a few books I was reading for personal enjoyment that I've never reviewed here. So now I'm crawling back through the stacks again finding those books that should have got a mention way way back then and extracting the digit (so to speak). Now if I can just work out a way to get through more books a month....
But this month started out with a book I was way overdue to read - Rotten Gods by Greg Barron. One for thriller fans, it covers a lot of current day issues.
Then a catchup with Darien Richards from Tony Cavanaugh in the short story The Soft Touch and then the second book in that series Dead Girl Sing. This is not, by any means, a perfect series, and it uses the mad bad serial killer approach too much for my liking, but yet, I like the central character - and the fact that he's not perfect and has a serious character flaw into the bargain. So I forgive it a lot of minor quibbles.
Next up was the much anticipated second Dody McCleland book by Felicity Young, Antidote to Murder. Seriously impressed with this series. Authentic sense of history, fascinating look at life for women in Edwardian England coupled with a good plot and believable characters. Try these two books - they are well worth the effort.
Next up - debut book The Midnight Promise by Zane Lovitt. I suppose it could be said that this was exactly the sort of book that I like, that it would be hard for me to be less than enthusiastic. But, even allowing for a tad of preference, this was a really interesting, rewarding read.
Then I finished the one non-local book I'd been dipping in and out of during the month - The House of Dark Shadows by Digger Cartwright. I've got a review nearly finished on this, but probably fair to say it was not my preferred brand of rum.
Then I was lucky enough to receive an ebook copy of Out of the Silence by Wendy James. This is an author guaranteed to make me think, and to shed some light on some very dark corners of human behaviour. The winners of giveaway copies of this book have now been selected so thanks to all that entered and I hope you find the book as fascinating as I did.
Next up was a joy of a book for Australian Political Junkies. I laughed a lot, and wondered even more and can't wait for the second book. The Marmalade Files by Canberra political journalists Chris Ulhmann and Steve Lewis was an absolute highlight in a month full of highlights.
I'm not much of a fan of the lunatic, vaguely batty girly accidental detective stuff that's been piling up from all directions since the Stephanie Plum effect. Which meant that Mad Men, Bad Girls etc by Maggie Groff wasn't a book that I was expecting to like. But I did. A lot.
Next up was true crime in Queensland - Three Crooked Kings by Matthew Condon which I've still got to finish writing a review on - but interesting look at the Terry Lewis years and the entrenched corruption in the QLD police.
Then another historical, Melbourne based book (seems to be a developing subgenre) The Richmond Conspiracy by Andrew Grimes. Liked this, and not just because of the cricket references...
Then to Tasmania, a holiday destination and debut Bay of Fires by Poppy Gee. Which I thought showed immense promise and thoroughly enjoyed, even with a few minor oddities.
From there to the highlands of Victoria and extremely good rural based thrillers. Dark Horse by Honey Brown is the third book from this author who specialises in the unexpected.
Then satire with The United States of Air, J.M. Porup. A tad too heavy handed for my taste, but if you like satire with a strong underlying message and wonder long and hard about all forms of fundamentalism then this could be something different for you.
Finally this month, The Latin Cushion by Rosanne Dingli was an ebook novella which I'd heard something positive about, and enjoyed, despite that sort of post event reveal ending which sometimes doesn't quite work.
Also managed to finish reviews of a few local books from earlier in the year as well - Murder on Display by Reece Pocock, Red Dirt Talking by Jacqueline Wright, The Robbers by Paul Anderson, Australian Outlaw by Derek Pedley, The First Shot by Patricia Kristensen and Roll With It by Nick Place.
Hopefully this will help as a wrap of what's happening in this little corner of Australian Crime Fiction (since 2006 ... I may just need to get a life!)