Review - SHWEDAGON, Noleen Jordan (and a giveaway)

Review Written By
Karen Chisholm

There’s not a lot of crime fiction around, unfortunately, for readers who prefer a heist / non-death scenario, but SHWEDAGON is one that delivers exactly that. Author Noleen Jordan’s taken an unusual approach with this novel and, in the main, come up with something that’s engaging, and a bit of a romp.

It’s unusual not just because this is a heist novel, but also because the heister is sixty-year-old Australian photographer, thrill seeker and jewel thief Hannah Nolan. Can’t tell you how amused I was by the central concept of this novel. Nolan has an underground history of daring heists and jewel thefts, mostly right under the nose of her police detective husband as they gad about the countryside frequently leading touring groups of amateur photographers.

It’s no spoiler (in the blurb after all) to know that the target of this particular heist is the Shwedagon temple, and the diamond embedded in the roof. It’s this part of the novel that works particularly well as Jordan obviously knows her locations well, and she paints a great picture of the place, and the journey to reach it. Nolan as a character is interesting, obviously considered and thoughtful, just sometimes, she can come across as a little straight-laced, buttoned up maybe. Given the nature of the jobs that she’s pulling off it kind of makes sense, and yet somehow lurking underneath it’s just possible that she might be having fun doing all of this, but sometimes that’s not served well by the dialogue when it gets a little too formal.

But there’s nothing formal or forced about the plot and there’s some big, brave twists and turns in the resolution that you definitely don’t seem coming, a few of which had me laughing.

A self-published novel which is concise, without being overdone or over-egged, there’s a nice story arc in SHWEDAGON, a very interesting central protagonist and a nice break from murder and mayhem in crime fiction.

Courtesy of Noleen Jordan, I’ve got some copies of SHWEDAGON to give away - if you’d like to receive one in the post, please leave a comment below … I’ll let you know when they’ve all been claimed.

Year of Publication

Myanmar’s Shwedagon Pagoda stands a hundred metres high; its exterior coated with gold, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and topaz. This opulence pales in comparison to the pagoda’s centrepiece—a single seventy-six-carat diamond perched atop the pagoda’s spire since 1871.

No guards protect this wonder and no CCTV cameras monitor it. Only floodlights at the base provide security, bathing the magnificent structure in light. It’s amazing no one has yet stolen anything from Shwedagon. Sixty-year-old Australian thrill seeker and jewel thief Hannah Nolan plans to change that.

Nolan’s going for the big prize—all seventy-six carats of it. To succeed, she’ll need partners, careful planning, and a fence willing to move one of the most famous diamonds in the world. She’ll also need to tread carefully around her husband Simon, a police detective with no knowledge of his wife’s habit of operating outside of the law.

Hannah’s hatched the perfect scheme, with only one small problem: no heist ever goes as expected.

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Karen Chisholm
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