Sometimes life can be very good to the dedicated reader. In 2002 I cannot tell you how excited I was when HALF PAST DEAD dropped into my line of sight. At the time I was obsessed with the local crime writing scene - having originally been "rehooked" by Marele Day, Patricia Carlon, Peter Corris, Shane Maloney and what, at the time, was building to an increasingly wide variety of locally set, locally relevant crime writing. A HAND IN THE BUSH followed in 2005 and I still have my paperback with the cartoon cover, signed by Jane after a panel at the Melbourne Writers Festival.
When Lindy Cameron told me that Clan Destine Press would be republishing the two earlier books as ebooks AND getting our hands on the third book FLUSH (ebook and paperback)... well a small fan girl moment was had (okay so the too old to be doing this me did a very enthusiastic happy dance). I've sneak peeked FLUSH already whilst I was prepping the ebook - (bloody hard to concentrate on the technicalities when you'd rather be curled up just reading), but I dug down the back of the couch and found a bit of restraint. And started off rereading the first two books, with FLUSH due to be started very soon.
Clifton writes these books with style. I'm reminded as I've worked through the first two books again, of how you can get across evil doings, personal life dramas, crime and investigations without the need for a tome that's going to take your nose out if you accidentally fall asleep in the middle of reading. Not that you're likely to fall asleep - both books reread so far are just about a one sitting read, and that's with personal dramas, and a rather detailed urinary tract infection into the bargain.
One thing I'm increasingly reminded of when going back to these books, is that even with a leaning towards the darker, noir side of crime fiction these days, sometimes the lighter side is well worth a visit. If you're new to Jane's books then the delay between their original writing and current day is not an issue. The stories are grown up fun, the characters flawed and female and not at all ditzy or daft. They are real women slogging it out in a real world that sometimes requires a stern looking at.
From the Blurb - Half Past Dead:
Ronnie Collins is happily married with a gorgeous son. She loves her job in fashion. She's also naked, hungover and in a strange bed - and her problems have only just begun...
From the Blurb - A Hand in the Bush:
In the heady days of the seventies, and at the tender age of nineteen, Decca Brand experimented with what was on offer - sex, drugs and intrigue. Far too much intrigue, it turns out, and of a sort that spells murder. Fast forward nearly thirty years and Decca is confronted by dangerous figures from her past. Not only that, the stunning psychologist and divorcee has a blind date lined up with a married man. And then things start to get complicated.
From the Blurb - Flush:
A body washes up on the banks of the Maribyrnong River in flood. Caught in the act of taking his own life, and surrounded by the bloodstained clothes of his wife, Oleg Kransky is a shoe-in for number one suspect. But he's not talking. To anyone. Oleg's former psychologist, Decca Brand, tells the police that even when Oleg was talking he wasn't telling the truth - about himself or about his wife. It's a complicated tale with more twists and turns than a box full of pretzels. How much water will it take to flush out a murderer? Flush is the third crime novel by Jane Clifton.