February on AustCrime

February, in which lots of books were read and reviewed, but it would have been more if it wasn't for the scorching heat.

Read / To be Reviewed:

A Murder without Motive, Martin McKenzie-Murray (Australia / True Crime)

In 2004, the body of a young Perth woman was found on the grounds of a primary school. Her name was Rebecca Ryle. The killing would mystify investigators, lawyers, and psychologists - and profoundly rearrange the life of the victim's family. It would also involve the author's family, because his brother knew the man charged with the murder. For years, the two had circled each other suspiciously, in a world of violence, drugs, and rotten aspirations.

No Free Man, Graham Potts

Stepan Volkov forfeited his future when he was paid to forget his past. Forced to adapt, he ultimately became the world's most wanted killer... feared, vicious and brutal. A tool of the Organizatsiya, a Russian crime syndicate that forged him into 'The Wolf', he's pursued by American spies and Australian agents, torn between his need to survive and his desire to be free. When a shock encounter in Australia uncovers forgotten secrets and threatens uneasy allegiances, Volkov suddenly sees a choice... one he thought would never be his to make.

Six Four, Hideo Yokoyama

For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter's kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again. For the fourteen years that followed, the Japanese public listened to the police's apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as 'Six Four'. They would never forgive the authorities their failure. For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case. He could never imagine what he would uncover. He would never have looked if he'd known what he would find. 

Reviewed:

Twister, Jane Woodham (New Zealand)

Dunedin, in the grip of an unseasonal flu, is a city under siege. Then, after five damaging days of rain, a twister rips through, exposing the body of a missing schoolgirl in Ross Creek. Detective Senior Sergeant Leo Judd is the only one who can lead the investigation despite unresolved sorrow over the disappearance of his own daughter nine years earlier. Sultry weather broods over the beleaguered city as suspects are sifted and pressure mounts for Leo to solve the crime. Meanwhile, his wife Kate tries to summon the courage to tell him the secrets she’s nursed for too long — including one about the disappearance of their beloved Beth.

The Kolkata Conundrum, Kalyan Lahiri

The mysterious and alluring Pramila, resident of Avantika Heights, is brutally murdered. Sudhir Das, the security guard from the Golden Red Security Agency, is caught red-handed. In steps Sudhir's boss, young Orko Deb, the hesitant avenger. His cautious sleuthing, all over Kolkata, throws up more questions than answers. Who is Pramila? Was the National Bank involved in money laundering? 

The Lion's Mouth, Anne Holt

Less than six months after taking office, the Norwegian Prime Minister is found dead. She has been shot in the head. But was it a politically motivated assassination or personal revenge?

Girl Waits with Gun, Amy Stewart

Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding fifteen years ago. One day a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family — and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared.

Nowhere Girl, Ruth Dugdall

When Ellie goes missing on the first day of Schueberfouer, the police are dismissive, keen not to attract negative attention on one of Luxembourg’s most important events. Probation officer, Cate Austin, has moved for a fresh start, along with her daughter Amelia, to live with her police detective boyfriend, Olivier Massard. But when she realises just how casually he is taking the disappearance of Ellie, Cate decides to investigate matters for herself. She discovers Luxembourg has a dark heart. With its geographical position, could it be the centre of a child trafficking ring? As Cate comes closer to discovering Ellie’s whereabouts she uncovers a hidden world, placing herself in danger, not just from traffickers, but from a source much closer to home.

Waterfront, Duncan McNab (Australia / True Crime)

Ever since the First Fleet dropped anchor, Australia's ports have been a breeding ground for many of Australia's most notorious criminals, and a magnet for local and overseas crime syndicates. From the rum trade of colonial times to modern-day drug smuggling and alongside the rise and dominance of waterfront unions, a criminal element has always found ways to survive and thrive. After a century of Royal Commissions, reports, denials and crackdowns, crime and wrongdoing in Australia's ports remain organised, entrenched and incredibly profitable.

Dastardly Deeds, Ilsa Evans

It was supposed to be the holiday of a lifetime ... When Nell Forrest's life hits a speed bump (which is most definitely not a midlife crisis) a cruise around the Mediterranean seems like just the ticket. Unfortunately, that's an idea shared by her mother, her ex-husband, his new partner, and a police detective with whom Nell has a stormy history. Fortunately, meditation is just one of the many activities offered aboard the luxury liner, but Nell will need more than that to face what lies ahead. A tragic death in Rome is quickly followed by another in Turkey. Then an unexpected discovery provides a link between the two, and Nell must stow her plans for relaxation once and for all.

That Empty Feeling, Peter Corris

An unexpected obituary takes Cliff Hardy on a trip down memory lane to a case he's been trying to forget for twenty years: oil, fraud, boxing, racing - and murder.

Fall, Candice Fox (to be reviewed at http://www.newtownreviewofbooks.com.au)

If Detective Frank Bennett tries hard enough, he can sometimes forget that Eden Archer, his partner in the Homicide Department, is also a moonlighting serial killer ... Thankfully their latest case is proving a good distraction. Someone is angry at Sydney's beautiful people - and the results are anything but pretty. On the rain-soaked running tracks of Sydney's parks, a predator is lurking, and it's not long before night-time jogs become a race to stay alive. While Frank and Eden chase shadows, a different kind of danger grows closer to home. Frank's new girlfriend Imogen Stone is fascinated by cold cases, and her latest project - the disappearance of the two Tanner children more than twenty years ago - is leading her straight to Eden's door. 

Read / Reviewed:

Summer Girl, Kelly Vero

A woman is attacked in strange circumstances on a midnight street in Valletta, Malta. An island country known for its history of early civilisations and military might is the backdrop for a series of distant relations and revelations as we follow Jack Sant; a Knight of Malta, on his quest to solve some of the country’s worst cold cases. Jack takes us on a journey of chivalry and secrets as he uncovers lies and the gritty realism of crime in a small country. From the lively dancehalls to the languid conversations at dinner through the eyes of the Maltese people; a mélange of culture powered by the sun, where east meets west and north meets south in language, love and laħam. 

Crime Scenes Stories, Zane Lovitt (Editor)

Is there really such a thing as an innocent person? Teachers, cops, mothers, wives, everyone has their breaking point; that moment where it could go either way. From the prostitute with no way out, to the bitter author, and a cop who just wants his leave, the characters in this collection will baffle and bewilder you at every turn. Features stories from emerging Australian crime writers Amanda O'Callaghan, Eddy Burger, Melanie Napthine and Michael Caleb Tasker alongside award-winning authors Angela Savage, Peter Corris, Leigh Redhead, Andrew Nette, David Whish-Wilson, P.M. Newton, Carmel Bird and Tony Birch.

After the Circus, Patrick Modiano

Set in mid-sixties Paris, After the Circus traces the relationship between the narrator, a young man not quite of legal age, and the slightly older, enigmatic woman he first glimpses at a police interrogation. The two lovers make their uncertain way into each other’s hearts, but the narrator soon finds himself in the unsettling, ominous presence of others. Who are these people? Are they real, or simply evoked? Part romance, part detective story, this mesmerizing book fully demonstrates Modiano’s signature use of atmosphere and suggestion as he investigates the perils and the exhilaration of young love. 

Robert Goodman's Reviews:

The Darkest Secret, Alex Marwood

Let Me Die in His Footsteps, Lori Roy

The Poison Artist, Jonathan Moore

City of the Lost, Kelley Armstrong

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