The March update is very late - it's been a tad busy hereabouts.
Read / To be Reviewed:
Detective Work, John Dale
When Dimitri Telegonus is promoted to the Serious Unsolved Crime Unit to investigate the disappearance of a beautiful blonde escort, he thinks he’s finally made the big time. He’d always wanted to do detective work; thought it was his destiny. But things quickly start to unravel. His assigned partner is an uninterested dinosaur and when progress in the investigation is slow, the bosses threaten to pull the plug. Desperate to crack his first cold case, Dimitri tracks the prime suspect down – only to find there are forces at play a naïve young detective will never fully understand.
Blockbuster! Fergus Hume and the Mystery of a Hansom Cab, Lucy Sussex
Before there was Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, there was Fergus Hume’s The Mystery of a Hansom Cab—the biggest- and fastest-selling detective novel of the 1800s, and Australia’s first literary blockbuster. Fergus Hume was an aspiring playwright when he moved from Dunedin to Melbourne in 1885. He wrote The Mystery of a Hansom Cab with the humble hope of bringing his name to the attention of theatre managers. The book sold out its first run almost instantly and it became a runaway word-of-mouth phenomenon—but its author sold the copyright for a mere fifty pounds, missing out on a potential fortune. Blockbuster! is the engrossing story of a book that would help define the genre of crime fiction, and a portrait of a great city in full bloom. Rigorously researched and full of arresting detail, this captivating book is a must-read for all fans of true crime, history and crime fiction alike. To be reviewed at http://www.newtownreviewofbooks.com.au
Comfort Zone, Lindsay Tanner
An astute novel about Australian racism — and about humanity prevailing over entrenched prejudice. Jack Van Duyn is stuck in his comfort zone. A pot-bellied, round-shouldered cabbie in his mid-fifties, Jack lives alone, has few friends, and gets very little out of life. He has a negative opinion of most other people — especially refugees, bankers, politicians, and welfare bludgers. Jack doesn’t know it, but his life is about to be turned upside down. A minor altercation in a kids’ playground at an inner-city high-rise estate catapults Jack into a whirlpool of drug-dealing, ASIO intrigue, international piracy, and criminal violence. And he can’t escape, because he doesn’t want to: he’s fallen in love with the beautiful Somali single mum who’s at the centre of it all. The ensuing turmoil propels Jack out of his comfort zone, forcing him to confront some unpleasant truths about himself. After decades in the doldrums, can he rise to the challenge when the heat’s on?
Blackmail Blend, Livia Day
Six romance writers / Five secrets / Four poison pen letters / Three stolen manuscripts / Two undercover journalists / One over-complicated love life / Way too many teacups and tiny sandwiches. This shouldn't be a recipe for mayhem and murder, but Tabitha Darling has been burned once before and she knows the signs that she's about to fall into another crime scene. At least she doesn't have to worry about love triangles any more. Right? RIGHT?
The Mistake, Grant Nicol
Everybody Makes Mistakes! A mutilated body is found on a lonely street in Reykjavík. Detective Grímur intends to see that justice is done. Kjartan Jónsson vows that his daughter’s killer will be punished. And that the punishment will fit the crime. Prime suspect Gunnar Atli desperately needs to prevent his own dark secrets from coming to light. And he’s not the only one. Fine lines separate truth, justice and vengeance. Put a foot wrong, and any one of them could be making the biggest mistake of his life.
Dead Joker, Anne Holt
Chief Prosecutor Sigurd Halvorsrud's wife is found dead in front of the fireplace in the family living room. The cause of death is instantly apparent - she has been brutally decapitated. Halvorsrud immediately falls under suspicion. Then a journalist at one of Oslo's largest newspapers is found beheaded. What links these two horrifically violent crimes? Detective Inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen is called in to lead the investigation with her old colleague Billy T. But the most demanding task that Hanne Wilhelmsen has ever faced in her career clashes with the worst crisis in her personal life. Cecilie, the woman she lived with for almost twenty years, is seriously ill. Wilhelmsen must ask herself: is the truth worth chasing at all costs?
Jinx, Hugh McGinlay
One spring morning a woman is found dead in a Brunswick alley adorned with symbols of the occult. Catherine Kint, milliner, gin enthusiast and raconteur, has no reason to be involved until her friend is under investigation. Armed with her sharp wit, a crime scene background and a barman named Boris, Catherine walks into a world of new age prophecies, curses and money. Honestly, it would drive a girl to drink.
The Road to Ruin, Niki Savva (Australian Politics)
In The Road to Ruin, prominent political commentator, author, and columnist for The Australian Niki Savva reveals the ruinous behaviour of former prime minister Tony Abbott and his chief of staff, Peta Credlin. Based on her unrivalled access to their colleagues, and devastating first-person accounts of what went on behind the scenes, Savva paints an unforgettable picture of a unique duo who wielded power ruthlessly but not well.
The Chimera Vector, Nathan M. Farrugia
The Fifth Column: the world’s most powerful and secretive organization. They run our militaries. They run our governments. They run our terrorist cells. Recruited as a child, Sophia is a deniable operative for the Fifth Column. Like all operatives, Sophia’s DNA has been altered to augment her senses and her mind is splintered into programmed subsets. On a routine mission in Iran something goes catastrophically wrong. Bugs are beginning to appear in Sophia’s programming and the mission spins out of control. High-speed chases, gun fights, helicopter battles, immortal psychopaths, super soldiers and mutant abilities are all in the mix in this edge-of-your-seat action-packed techno-thriller.
Taken at Night, Christa A. Ludlow
The year is 1900, and photographer Beatrix Spencer has just opened her photographic studio in the bustling colonial metropolis of Sydney. But it is a turbulent time to start a new business. A deadly outbreak of bubonic plague is threatening the city, causing public panic, putting ships into quarantine and causing unrest on the wharves. The colony is preparing to send soldiers to the Boer War. Women are struggling to gain rights and recognition. When a mysterious passenger disappears from a quarantined ship, Beatrix is drawn into the investigation led by Detective Fergus Blair, who has secrets of his own. Against a backdrop of disease, politics and violence, Fergus and Beatrix find that their city has an underworld that is more dangerous than either of them realized. And somewhere, another more sinister photographer is at work...
Murder in Mt Martha, Janice Simpson
In 1953, a small dog leads his owner to the mutilated, dead body of a young girl. The senseless and brutal homicide not only shakes up the small seaside town of Mt Martha, but also begins an Australia-wide manhunt for the callous murderer. However, the witness testimonies are strangely inconsistent, and without a prime suspect, the case goes cold.
That is until the present time, when Nick Szabo begins an unrelated research project and comes across an old newspaper clipping. Aided by his friend Arthur, he digs deeper into the case, uncovering horrific layers of deception and betrayal. Steeped in Melbourne’s past and historically accurate, Murder in Mount Martha is inspired by a real-life unsolved murder. It is an exciting and harrowing tale of what might have happened on that dark day on September 12, 1953.
Read / Reviewed:
Ghost Girls, Cath Ferla
Winter in Sydney. The city is brimming with foreign students. Sophie Sandilands takes a job teaching at an English language school. When one of her students leaps to her death it becomes clear that lurking within the psyche of this community is a deep sense of despair and alienation. When it is revealed that the dead woman on the pavement has stolen another's identity, Sophie is drawn into the mystery.
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.
Crime Scenes, 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.
All These Perfect Strangers, Aoife Clifford
You don’t have to believe in ghosts for the dead to haunt you. You don’t have to be a murderer to be guilty. Within six months of Pen Sheppard starting university, three of her new friends are dead. Only Pen knows the reason why. College life had seemed like a wonderland of sex, drugs and maybe even love. The perfect place to run away from your past and reinvent yourself. But Pen never can run far enough and when friendships are betrayed, her secrets are revealed. The consequences are deadly.
Someone Else's Skin, Sarah Hilary
Called to a woman's refuge to take a routine witness statement, DI Marnie Rome instead walks in on an attempted murder. Trying to uncover the truth from layers of secrets, Marnie finds herself confronting her own demons. Because she, of all people, knows that it can be those closest to us we should fear the most . . .
Cambodia Noir, Nicholas Seeley
A high-octane thriller with a heart-stopping conclusion about a mysterious American woman who disappears into the Cambodian underworld, and the photojournalist who tracks her through the clues left in her diary. Phnom Penh, Cambodia: The end of the line. Lawless, drug-soaked, forgotten—it’s where bad journalists go to die. For once-great war photographer Will Keller, that’s kind of a mission statement: he spends his days floating from one score to the next, taking any job that pays; his nights are a haze of sex, drugs, booze, and brawling. But Will’s spiral toward oblivion is interrupted by Kara Saito, a beautiful young woman who shows up and begs Will to help find her sister, June, who disappeared during a stint as an intern at the local paper.
Signs of Murder, Jean Bedford
They caught up with her before she reached her car. She didn't hear their footsteps coming up behind her in the dark tree-lined street, had no awareness of them until they grabbed her from behind and threw her to the pavement. Fiona Galloway, a young, deaf social worker, has been threatened: keep her mouth shut or else! Frightened, she seeks out private eye Anna Southwood.
A Murder Without Motive, Martin McKenzie-Murray
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.
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.
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. Or maybe not so quiet. A body’s been found buried just offshore on Ash Island; there may be more. There’s also Harry’s unfinished business. The car crash that killed his parents and blinded his wife happened not far from Newcastle. And Harry knows it was no accident. The other unfinished business is Jenny’s longed-for pregnancy. Which means that now the stakes are higher than ever.
Robert Goodman's Reviews:
The Ex, Alafair Burke
Fever City, Tim Baker
The Silent Inheritance, Joy Dettman
The Trap, Melanie Raabe
Andrea Thompson's Reviews:
Coffin Road, Peter May