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Somewhere in the middle of the month - actually remembered to post some best of's for 2015. Other than that, this is a combination of books read, read and reviewed, and reviews caught up with, because I didn't really keep track of what was what. I was on holidays - from computers and PM tools if nothing else. 

Reviewed in December:

Skin Deep, Gary Kemble (Aust)

When washed up journalist Harry Hendrick wakes with a hangover and a strange symbol tattooed on his neck, he shrugs it off as a bad night out. Reviewed for Newtown Review of Books.

Burial Rites, Hannah Kent (Aust)

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Flashpoint, Felicity Young (Aust)

You can run from everything but your fears. Three years after a gang brutally murdered his wife and son, Sergeant Cam Fraser has returned with his daughter Ruby to the country town where he was raised - a town too small for trouble. But then a body is found on the school grounds, badly burned and unrecognisable. Who in Glenroyd could possibly be a murderer? And why?

Career of Evil, Robert Galbraith

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg.

Good Money, J.M. Green (Aust)

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.

Please Don't Leave Me Here, Tania Chandler (Aust)

Kurt Cobain stands at the top of the stairs, wearing the brown sweater. ‘Please don’t leave me,’ she yells up at him. But it’s too late; he’s turning away as the tram slows for the stop out on the street.

Four Days, Iain Ryan (Aust)

BRISBANE, 1984. Jim Harris is a hard-drinking Australian detective on his way to a nervous breakdown. Every day, he works alongside corrupt cops and dangerous crooks. That is, until a brutal murder case unravels his career, bringing past indiscretions to light. Alone, afraid, and out of control, Harris makes a pact with himself: Four days to locate the killer. Four days to take revenge. Four days to find redemption.

Dead Wood, s.j. Brown (Aust)

Tasmania is in trouble. While mainland Australia surges through the backwash of the GFC the island state is struggling. Political infighting, bureaucratic ineptitude and a lack of investment have curtailed progress. Too many people are lodging on ‘Struggle Street’. 

Read in December / Waiting for Reviews:

American Blood, Ben Sanders (NZ)

After a botched undercover operation, ex-NYPD officer Marshall Grade is living in witness protection in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Marshall's instructions are to keep a low profile: the mob wants him dead, and a contract killer known as the Dallas Man has been hired to track him down. Racked with guilt over wrongs committed during his undercover work, and seeking atonement, Marshall investigates the disappearance of a local woman named Alyce Ray.

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.

Helldiver, Chris Allen (Aust)

A ghost from the past, an omnipotent billionaire, loyalty tested to the limit and all roads lead to RENEGADE. Morgan commits to the toughest mission of his career and his chances of survival are slim at best. Trust has become little more than a commodity to be bought and sold and old friends re-emerge as the very heart of INTREPID faces destruction.

Dark Murder, Helen H Durrant

Detective Stephen Greco has just started a new job at Oldston CID and now he faces a series of murders with seemingly no connection but the brutal disfigurement of the victims. Greco’s team is falling apart under the pressure and he doesn't know who he can trust. Then they discover a link to a local drug dealer, but maybe it’s not all that it seems. 

Nations Divided,  Steve P Vincent (Aust)

Jack Emery is happier than he has been in a long time. Nobody has shot at him or tried to blow him up for years, and he's learned to love the job he thought he'd hate: Special Advisor to the President of the United States. 

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?

That Empty Feeling, Peter Corris (Aust)

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. 

Robert Goodman's Reviews:

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.

The Murderer's Daughter, Jonathan Kellerman

A brilliant and dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches - because she bears her own invisible scars. Only five years old when she watched her parents die in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. 

BOOK DETAILS
BOOK INFORMATION
Author
ISBN
9781760068172
Year of Publication
Book Number (in series)
1
BLURB

When washed up journalist Harry Hendrick wakes with a hangover and a strange symbol tattooed on his neck, he shrugs it off as a bad night out.

When more tattoos appear — accompanied by visions of war-torn Afghanistan, bikies, boat people, murder, bar fights and a mysterious woman — he begins to dig a little deeper.

Harry’s search leads him to Jess McGrath. She’s successful, married; they are drawn to each other though they have nothing in common but unwanted tattoos and high definition nightmares. Together, they edge closer to unearthing the truth behind the sinister disappearance of an SAS hero and his girlfriend Kyla.

There’s a federal election looming, with pundits tipping a landslide win for opposition leader Andrew Cardinal. Harry knows there’s a link between these disturbing visions and Cardinal's shadowy past, and is compelled to right wrongs, one way or another.

BOOK INFORMATION
Author
ISBN
9780316243919
Year of Publication
BLURB

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829. 

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. 

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard. 

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others? 

BOOK INFORMATION
Year of Publication
Series
BLURB

You can run from everything but your fears.

Three years after a gang brutally murdered his wife and son, Sergeant Cam Fraser has returned with his daughter Ruby to the country town where he was raised - a town too small for trouble. But then a body is found on the school grounds, badly burned and unrecognisable. Who in Glenroyd could possibly be a murderer? And why?

This violent crime plunges Cam straight into a baffling and deadly investigation, where nothing is as it seems. From shady cop Vince to the secretive Smithsons who run the school to the local bikie gang who may still want him dead, Cam has his hands full with suspects. Not to mention Jo, his daughter's teacher, whom he can't keep his mind off of ...

But the danger is coming closer to home, and Cam is running out of time to solve the case. Will he be able to protect Ruby and stop the killer? Or will everything go up in flames?

BOOK INFORMATION
ISBN
9780316349932
Year of Publication
Book Number (in series)
3
BLURB

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible--and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them...

BOOK INFORMATION
Author
ISBN
9781925106923
Year of Publication
Series
Book Number (in series)
1
BLURB

Introducing Stella Hardy, a wisecracking social worker with a thirst for social justice, good laksa, and alcohol.

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.

Then Stella's neighbour Tania mysteriously vanishes. When Stella learns that Tania is the heir to a billion-dollar mining empire, Stella realises her glamorous young friend might have had more up her sleeve than just a perfectly toned arm. Who is behind her disappearance?

Enlisting the help of her friend Senior Constable Phuong Nguyen, Stella's investigation draws her further and further into a dark world of drug dealers, sociopaths, and killers, such as the enigmatic Mr Funsail, whose name makes even hardened criminals run for cover.

One thing is clear: Stella needs to find answers fast -- before the people she's looking for find her instead.

Set in the bustling, multicultural inner west of Melbourne, Good Money reveals a daring and exciting new voice in Australian crime fiction.

BOOK INFORMATION
ISBN
9781925106770
Year of Publication
Series
Book Number (in series)
1
BLURB

Kurt Cobain stands at the top of the stairs, wearing the brown sweater. ‘Please don’t leave me,’ she yells up at him. But it’s too late; he’s turning away as the tram slows for the stop out on the street.

Then she’s lying on the road. Car tyres are going past, slowly. Somebody is screaming. A siren howls.

Sweet voices of little children are singing ‘Morningtown Ride’.

Is Brigitte a loving wife and mother, or a cold-blooded killer?

Nobody knows why she was in the east of the city so early on the morning she was left for dead by a hit-and-run driver. It was the Friday before Christmas 1994 — the same day police discovered the body of a man beaten to death in her apartment.

Fourteen years later, Brigitte is married to the detective who investigated the murder, which she claims to have lost her memory of in the car accident. They have young twins, and seem to be a happy family. Until the reopening of the cold case.

Please Don’t Leave Me Here is about loss, love and lies. It is about pain, fear, and memory. And, above all, it is about letting go.

BOOK INFORMATION
Author
Year of Publication
Series
BLURB

BRISBANE, 1984. Jim Harris is a hard-drinking Australian detective on his way to a nervous breakdown. Every day, he works alongside corrupt cops and dangerous crooks. That is, until a brutal murder case unravels his career, bringing past indiscretions to light. Alone, afraid, and out of control, Harris makes a pact with himself: Four days to locate the killer. Four days to take revenge. Four days to find redemption.

BOOK INFORMATION
Author
ISBN
9781925346084
Year of Publication
Series
Book Number (in series)
2
BLURB

Tasmania is in trouble. 

While mainland Australia surges through the backwash of the GFC the island state is struggling. Political infighting, bureaucratic ineptitude and a lack of investment have curtailed progress. Too many people are lodging on ‘Struggle Street’. 

DI John Mahoney knows this as well as anyone. Of more immediate concern to him is the brutal murder of a prominent business leader. The scale of public interest is high and the Serious Crimes Squad must make headway fast. As the investigation proceeds it becomes clear that whoever is behind the barbarity is sending a message to the whole community. 

Another homicide quickly follows and pressure mounts as they seek to unravel the trail of clues. Lives are in danger but the solution is proving difficult to find. 

As Mahoney deals with fissures in his personal life and generational change in the police force he must call on his full array of investigative skills to get a result. 

BOOK INFORMATION
Author
ISBN
9781760291570
Year of Publication
BLURB

A former undercover cop now in witness protection finds himself pulled into the search for a missing woman. An explosive, unputdownable work of suspense from a fresh voice in crime fiction.

After a botched undercover operation, ex-NYPD officer Marshall Grade is living in witness protection in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Marshall's instructions are to keep a low profile: the mob wants him dead, and a contract killer known as the Dallas Man has been hired to track him down. Racked with guilt over wrongs committed during his undercover work, and seeking atonement, Marshall investigates the disappearance of a local woman named Alyce Ray.

Members of a drug ring seem to hold clues to Ray's whereabouts, but hunting traffickers is no quiet task. Word of Marshall's efforts spreads, and soon the worst elements of his former life, including the Dallas Man, are coming for him.

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