Officially this category is listed in the challenge as Crime fiction – mystery, detective, thriller, suspense or true crime but that gets a little unwieldy for a post title, however all those sub genres are covered in the roundups
The AWW challenge started well as far as the crime category of reviews is concerned, so far garnering 32 reviews of books by 22 different authors. By my calculations the genre has accounted for just over 8% of the nearly 400 reviews that have been posted for this year’s challenge so far. Here are just some of the highlights.
The honour of posting the first review in the crime category of this year’s Challenge goes to Marisa Wikramanayake with her thoughts on Kerry Greenwood’s 19th Phryne Fisher historical series novel, Unnatural Habits. Phryne tackles a particularly nasty case in this one as a series of young, pregnant girls have gone missing in Melbourune, 1929. Kerry Greenwood was one of two most reviewed authors in the crime category for last year’s challenge (she and Sulari Gentill received 12 reviews a piece) so it is fitting that her latest novel kicks off the second year of the challenge.
In the closest thing to a review of a true crime book that the Challenge has generated so far this year Melanie Meyers took a look at Anna Haebeich’s Murdering Stepmothers: The Execution of Martha Rendell who was the last woman to be hanged in Western Australia after being convicted of killing three of her stepchildren in the early 1900’s. The book tells Rendell’s story via a succession of characters either lifted directly, or composited from, the historical record which, Meyers says provides
…a nuanced means of conveying the prevailing attitudes (particularly towards women), bigotry and religious dogma of the time, whilst entertaining variously informed opinions on Rendell’s guilt or otherwise. Rich in detail, it is a narrative devise calculated to show what a woman in Rendell’s position was up against and how she was unlikely to have ever received a fair trial.
Katherine Howell’s sixth novel, WEB OF DECEIT is the most reviewed one in the genre so far this year, garnering three reviews. It’s the sixth in Howell’s successful series featuring Detective Ella Marconi and one of the first major new releases for the genre in 2013 so it’s not surprising that it was a popular one readers wanted to get their eyes on. It sees a pair of overworked Sydney paramedics drawn into an investigation when they treat him after a minor car accident and later attend the scene of his death under a commuter train. All three reviews, from Shelleyrae, Karen and your humble correspondent agree it’s a cracking read. Two of Katherine’s older novels have also each generated a review and it’s nice to see readers checking out an author’s back catalogue
Kathryn Ledson‘s ROUGH DIAMOND is the first book in a series featuring a Melbourne-based Stephanie Plum-style character called Erica whose husband has dumped her for a bimbo and left her in debt. She gets caught up in some mayhem after discovering a man bleeding to death in her garden. The novel looks to be an early contender for “novel most likely to cross genre boundaries” under discussion in this year’s challenge as it has so far generated 5 reviews in 3 different genre categories! Those who think it belongs in the crime camp echoed similar thoughts with Monique Mulligan saying “Rough Diamond is one of those books with mass-market appeal that will please people who want a light read that is quite simply fun”
Gabrielle Lord is one of Australia’s most successful and prolific authors, having recently completed the almost herculean task of publishing 12 books, a complete young adult adventure series, in a single year, Two of her older crime novels for adults have cropped up so far in this year’s challenge – Baby Did A Bad Thing is one of her Gemma Lincoln novels while Death Delights introduces ex-cop, forensic scientist Jack McCain and both reviews highlight Lord’s talent in juggling many storylines and bringing them all to a satisfactory ending.
Over at Adventures of a Subversive Reader Squirm’s mother (a.k.a. Mel) highlighted a children’s crime book (suitable for people around 8 years of age) called The Tunnels of Tarcoola by Jennifer Walsh. I was hooked when I read that it was a Famous Five-esque adventure but if you need more incentive to track this one down for the junior crime reader in your life (or in your heart) then it’s got caves and a ghost house too!
Still haven’t found a crime novel to tempt you? Then head over to the genre’s reviews page for this year’s challenge to see what else is being discussed.