MY ISLAND HOMICIDE - Catherine Titasey
I love fiction that's set in remote communities, that's obviously written with great affection and experience of those communities - albeit with an outsider's viewpoint. It's obvious that this author has a close connection with, and affection for TI and it's people and the way that the community functions.
Starting out as an interesting police procedural, with a tropical pace and feel to it, Thea's first case is the murder of a white woman, married to a local man. This lands her immediately in the intricacies of the local community. Complicated familial influences and connections, domestic violence, divided loyalties, and lurking official corruption. Even the inclusion of black magic, or maydh fits perfectly into a culture that's walking a thin line between traditional and modern norms. There's a very good balance between the personal and the professional at the beginning with a good plot which unfolds naturally, building on Thea's difficulties in her past life, as well as providing a feel for what she's really looking for in her own life.
Not being much of a fan of romance I confess what started out as a wow read, became slightly disappointing in the end as the personal aspects of Thea's life and relationships overshadowed the police procedural aspects. At this point the suspense and build up of the investigation seemed to get parked behind blokes, and mothers, and babies and the sorts of things I'd absolutely expect to find in a more traditional romance (more so even than romantic suspense). The good aspect of the romance was the merciful lack of "nothing without a man" subtext, and for that reason alone I'd pick up a second book in the series to see what happens with Thea as she's a great character.
Having said that, if hefty dollops of romance intermingled with your dead bodies is your thing, and happy endings make your day, then MY ISLAND HOMICIDE is exactly what you should be reading.
Crime and courtroom drama meet island humour and romance in this award-winning debut novel.
When Thea Dari-Jones takes the job as Officer in Charge of the Thursday Island police station in Torres Strait, she has no idea that her desire to start anew and return to her mother’s Islander roots will be the greatest challenge of her life. Arriving with visions of enjoying a relaxed, idyllic island lifestyle; what she finds instead is a close-knit community divided by a brutal crime and an unexpected relationship with an Islander fisherman Jonah that brings her closer to her own heritage.
As Thea investigates the murder, a series of surprising events lead her through the landscape and language of the locals, most of whom are convinced that maydh, or black magic, is the source of the unsolved mystery on the island.
From the winner of the 2012 Queensland Literary Awards – Best Emerging Author category, My Island Homicide combines crime, romance and island life into an irresistible tropical package.