A HAND IN THE BUSH is the second of Jane Clifton's books that we (Clan Destine Press) have re-released as ebooks. Cleverly, albeit loosely connected to HALF PAST DEAD by one of the supporting characters, the focus of this book is Decca Brand, psychologist, divorcee and woman with attitude.
Whilst all of Clifton's books rely heavily on realistic female characters, and could possibly be classified as on the lighter side of crime fiction, they aren't fluffy or overtly cosy. In the second book from this author, there's a real sense of somebody who is hitting their writing straps. The central character here, Brand, is somebody with a past that's knocked some edges off her, and left her with some emotional baggage, but that aspect is nicely balanced against a woman who is also moving forward. Getting on with life. And dating.
Alongside that there is a mystery that has echoes back to Decca's own past, in the seventies, in Sydney in the main, now insinuating itself into the current, in Melbourne.
As with HALF PAST DEAD, this is a reread for me, and again I was struck by the feeling of a series in the making. Decca Brand is a good character, and she comes to mystery and mayhem with an interesting perspective. Not just that of the older, wiser woman, but also from the point of view of a psychologist, and a woman whose romantic ambitions aren't dead yet! Plus she rides a motorbike and takes the occasional risk.
Part of the reason that the first two of Clifton's books have been re-released is that the third FLUSH is now also available (in paperback and as an ebook). I hope the third follows on with Decca's story and we've finally got the ongoing series that I'd hoped was coming all those years ago.
(Standard Disclaimer: I wrangle the bits and bytes for Clan Destine Press and had no input on the editorial or selection aspects of these books).