Another busy October with slightly improved reading numbers.
Read and Reviewed this Month:
Poison Bay, Belinda Pollard
Television reporter Callie Brown likes safe places with good coffee. But she joins friends from the past on a trek into New Zealand’s most brutal wilderness, in the hope of healing a broken heart.
What she doesn’t know is that someone wants them all dead.
Unravelling Oliver, Liz Nugent
Oliver Ryan is a handsome and charismatic success story. He lives in the suburbs with his wife, Alice, who illustrates his award-winning children's books and gives him her unstinting devotion. Their life together is one of enviable privilege and ease - enviable until, one evening after supper, Oliver attacks Alice and beats her into a coma.
The Doctor of Thessaly, Anne Zouroudi
A jilted bride weeps on an empty beach. A local doctor is attacked in an isolated churchyard. Trouble arrives at a bad time to the backwater village of Morfi, just as the community is making headlines with a visit from a high-ranking government minister. Fortunately, where there's trouble, there's Hermes Diaktoros, the mysterious fat man whose tennis shoes are always pristine and whose investigative methods are always unorthodox.
Reviewed This Month:
Shwedagon, Noleen Jordan
Myanmar’s Shwedagon Pagoda stands a hundred metres high; its exterior coated with gold, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and topaz. This opulence pales in comparison to the pagoda’s centrepiece—a single seventy-six-carat diamond perched atop the pagoda’s spire since 1871. No guards protect this wonder and no CCTV cameras monitor it. Only floodlights at the base provide security, bathing the magnificent structure in light. It’s amazing no one has yet stolen anything from Shwedagon. Sixty-year-old Australian thrill seeker and jewel thief Hannah Nolan plans to change that.
Running Towards Danger, Tina Clough
Karen's life is abruptly thrown into chaos when her flatmate is gunned down in front of her in the street where they live. Within days she is forced to take drastic action to ensure her own safety. She criss-crosses New Zealand to evade the killers, changes her appearance and settles into a small community as 'Cara'. But danger still stalks her and she is forced to make dramatic choices in the face of threats and brutal violence.
Unreliable Memoirs, Clive James (non-mystery / reread)
'I was born in 1939. The other big event of that year was the outbreak of the Second World War, but for the moment, that did not affect me.' In the first instalment of Clive James's memoirs, we meet the young Clive, dressed in short trousers, and wrestling with the demands of school, various relatives and the occasional snake, in the suburbs of post-war Sydney.
Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett (fantasy)
Terry Pratchett’s fantasy classic Wyrd Sisters, a novel in the Discworld series, is the story of Granny Weatherwax, the most highly regarded non-leader a coven of non-social witches could ever have.
The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, Vaseem Khan
Mumbai, murder and a baby elephant combine in a charming, joyful mystery for fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Rachel Joyce. On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra inherits two unexpected mysteries. The first is the case of a drowned boy, whose suspicious death no one seems to want solved. And the second is a baby elephant.
Resurrection Bay, Emma Viskic
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.
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.
Reviews by Robert Goodman:
The Assassins, Gayle Lynds
Recently retired from US military intelligence, Judd Ryder is walking home one evening when he sees a man wearing his clothes step out of his house. Moments later, the man is killed in a hit-and-run. Was the stranger the intended victim, or was it Judd himself?
Ash Island, Barry Maitland
Detective Sergeant Harry Belltree, back on the job after a near-fatal confrontation with corrupt colleagues, has become a departmental embarrassment. The solution is a posting away from Sydney and a quiet life in Newcastle.
The Heat, Garry Disher
Wyatt needs a job.
A bank job would be nice, or a security van hold-up. As long as he doesn’t have to work with cocky idiots and strung-out meth-heads like the Pepper brothers. That’s the sort of miscalculation that buys you the wrong kind of time.
Post Mortem, Kate London
An intricate, gritty and authentic crime novel from a serving detective in the Met's murder squad - an explosive debut.
She closed her eyes and saw, as if on a loop, a repeating backdrop of square windows, blue concrete spinning and passing, passing, passing. She could not escape the horror of it: unstoppably, irretrievably until the hard concrete reaches up.
Rogue Lawyer, John Grisham
Sebastian Rudd takes the cases no one else wants to take: the drug-addled punk accused of murdering two little girls; a crime lord on death row; a homeowner accused of shooting at a SWAT team.
Read this Month / To be Reviewed:
Vertigo, Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac
You're no longer in the police, but when an old friend asks you to look after his wife as a favour, how can you refuse? She's been behaving strangely, mysteriously - but she's dazzling. And so Flavières begins to scour the streets of Paris in search of an answer - in search of a woman who belongs to no one, not even to herself. Soon intrigue is replaced by obsession, and dreams by nightmares, as the boundaries between the living and the dead begin to blur.
This is the story of a desperate man. A man who ended up compromising his own morality beyond all measure, while the Second World War raged outside his front door. A man tormented by his search for the truth, and ultimately destroyed by a dark, terrible secret.
On Track for Murder, Stephen Childs
Travelling from England to Australia in the late nineteenth century, Abigail Sergeant and her brother, Bertrand, are looking forward to their new life.
Leaving behind the prejudices that would likely have seen Bertrand committed to an institution before he reached adulthood, Abigail hopes their new life will offer freedom and security.
For the Dignified Dead, Michael Genelin
A woman’s body is pulled from the frozen Danube in Bratislava. Police Commander Jana Matinova recognizes the killer’s calling card. She had him in her grasp once before …and he slipped away. But not this time. Determined to end the bloody killing spree, Matinova’s investigation plunges her into the center of an international conspiracy involving hundreds of millions of dollars and turns the hunter into the hunted. Pursued by vicious assassins, Matinova charges across Europe in a relentless quest for the truth…and dignity for the dead.
Good Money, J.M. Green
Stella's phone rings. A young African boy, the son of one of her clients, has been murdered in a dingy back alley. Stella, in her forties and running low on empathy, heads into the night to comfort the grieving mother. But when she gets there, she makes a discovery that has the potential to uncover something terrible from her past -- something she thought she'd gotten away with. (For review at Newtown Review of Books)
Birthdays for the Dead, Stuart MacBride
The tabloids call him the Birthday Boy. He snatches girls just before their 13th birthdays. One year later the family get a homemade card in the post - 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!' scrawled in blood-red ink above a Polaroid photograph of the missing girl. Detective Constable Ash Henderson is seconded to the investigation.
Murder on the 18th Green, Frederico Maria Rivalta
The Euganean Hills golf community in northern Italy is a golfer’s paradise. With a perpetual smell of freshly cut grass, rolling green plains, and bright blue skies, it seems nothing could go wrong for the tight-knit group that lives there.
Three Lives Down, Rachel Amphlett
Dan Taylor has survived two attempts on his life. The rest of his team are missing, and now a terrorist group has stolen a radioactive isotope from a top secret government project.
Can Dan survive long enough to prevent a nuclear disaster on British soil?