Well paced out, populated by flawed but approachable characters, set in a location that doesn't feel manipulative or convenient, GREENLIGHT is about crime, greed, money, influence, bad decisions and human frailty and nastiness.
It's a scenario that plenty of families deal with every day. Teenager's off to spend their gap year travelling in far flung locations - in this case British backpacker Cassy heading to New Zealand with her boyfriend for a short break before returning to her best friend's wedding, study and a normal life.
In our ears it’s all quietly confessed secrets and the discovery of lies as we move around with producer Jack Quick in the shadows of a country town. This is not necessarily a sleepy town. This is wine country.
It has been another great year for Australian crime debuts and Derval McTiernan’s The Rùin continues this run. Much like Adrian McKinty, McTiernan sets her first Cormac Reilly novel in the old country, aka Ireland. But her take, while still procedural, is more contemporary and less overtly political.
DIG TWO GRAVES relies heavily on a descriptive, languid writing style, full of portents and observations, internal musings and a lot of that angst, longing and regret. This will be a novel that works incredibly well for fans of that style.
Feeling very much like an advertisement for gourmet South Australia with a slightly incongruous crime fiction element (wouldn't that turn potential visitors off...) THE POPEYE MURDER by Sandra Winter-Dewhirst is the first Rebecca Keith mystery.
Lynne Vincent McCarthy’s debut novel Lonely Girl is a thriller with a bit of a gender swap. Gone is the femjep woman kept in a basement. Instead, McCarthy turns the tables on this tired trope and in this psychological thriller puts the woman in charge.
Only Killers and Thieves is an accomplished debut. Howarth manages to shine a stark light on a disturbing and often ignored aspect of Australian history – the systematic ‘dispersal’ of Aboriginal people to allow for the spread of agriculture.
Cop-turned novelist, Nathan Blackwell (true identity hidden due to covert police operations) has written a debut novel, THE SOUND OF HER VOICE, which is intense, unsparing, realistic, brutal and will stay with the reader for a long time.