There have only been ten new reviews of crime, mystery, thriller or true crime novels since the last roundup so I’ve decided to link to them all.
At booksaremyfavouriteandbest Kate reviewed Dawn Barker’s début novel FRACTURED very carefully. There’s obviously a strong element of twist-y suspense in this novel and Kate ensured she gave away no spoilers, though she did let on that it’s a novel about a new mum under immense strain and I believe there were tears for the last forty pages (don’t say you weren’t warned). Brenda also reviewed this one and gave it five stars, saying that the author has done a great job of depicting the stresses that childbirth and post natal depression can cause for new mothers and their families.
Prize-winning reviewer Marilyn from Me, You and Books reviewed Malla Nunn’s LET THE DEAD LIE which is set in 1950’s South Africa in the early days of the apartheid regime. Among the many excellent points in Marilyn’s review is this one
The depiction of South Africa under apartheid by Nunn sets her mystery apart from others. Most of us think of apartheid as the stark division of white and black people, as it was envisioned by its designers. The reality, as Nunn displays, was messier. She grew up in Swaziland, on the borders of South Africa and sharing its racial restrictions. Her parents had lived in Durban, where this book takes place, and they told her stories about living under apartheid; stories she incorporates in her books. The line between black and white was never clear. In between Europeans and Africans were “non-Europeans,” people from India and those of mixed lineage who might pass. A person’s racial identity could be changed, and with a change came a different set of rules to be observed.
Diana Hockley thought Katherine Howell’s VIOLENT EXPOSURE, about the investigation into a woman’s brutal death which occurred at the same time as her husband vanished, was “…about the best crime novel written by an Australian that [she had] ever read“. Diana went on to hope that Howell was busy creating another in the series but I can happily report there are two more so far and they keep getting better! Diana wasn’t quite so keen on Howell’s first novel FRANTIC though.
For her first foray into this year’s AWW Challenge Josephine Pennicott reviewed fellow author Kate Morton’s THE SECRET KEEPER. I loved the way this review didn’t just look at the book’s content but every aspect of it including the title, cover image and end papers (it’s been so long since I saw a book with end papers…I was immediately filled with nostalgia). As well as providing a great flavour of this partly historical crime fiction with much of the story taking place during the London blitz Josephine gives a really strong sense of what her reading experience was like (and if you’re tempted by Josephine’s review you might like to check out her own partly historical gothic crime novel set in Tasmania which I reviewed for last year’s challenge).
Leonie thought Helene Young’s WINGS OF FEAR, in which female pilot Morgan Pentland comes under suspicion for leaking information about a sensitive border watch program, was a good find with the author’s love for Far North Queensland shining through and well characterised, strong females being a standout feature of the book.
I came across a début novel by Sue Williams called MURDER WITH THE LOT. It’s a humorous look at life in a small (fictional) town in rural Victoria where fish and chip shop owner finds a body but it disappears before anyone else sees it so she spends most of the rest of the novel trying to prove she’s not going doolally It’s a treat of a novel of a kind we don’t see a lot of here in Australia.
Brenda reviewed Sandy Curtis’ DANGEROUS DECEPTION in which the main character awakes in severe pain which he first takes for a heart attack but then realises his twin brother must be in pain somewhere. With this great premise it’s not surprising that Brenda thought the book “…a gripping, brilliant tale”.
I reviewed Felicity Young’s second historical fiction novel set in Edwardian England, ANTIDOTE TO MURDER. It features a female doctor, Dody McCleland, who is accused of performing an illegal abortion and must clear her name. I was particularly taken with the setting…
the sense of time and place is beautifully conveyed. Readers are soon enveloped in the stifling, uncomfortable London of 1911 where the summer sees a long heat wave and various worker’s strikes (trains, rubbish collection and so on). In Dody’s well-off layer of society women fight for the right to vote and be treated equally in the workplace while poorer, working-class women struggle to be allowed to treat their bodies as their own as they carry the lion’s share of the fallout from pregnancies that society or finances deem unmanageable. Meanwhile, at a political level, there is great concern over the possible infiltration of England by German spies and swift action is demanded.
There seems to be something here for everyone…romantic suspense, comic caper, thriller, psychological suspense, historical crime fiction and police procedural…it’s wonderful to see such a broad range of sub genres being written by a diverse mix of Australian women writers.
If you’re after some ideas of more crime/mystery/thriller or true crime books to read then head over to the genre’s reviews page for this year’s challenge to see what else is being discussed.
Previous roundups for this category
I’m Bernadette Bean. I’ve been reading avidly for as long as I can remember, blogging about reading since late 2008 at Reactions to Reading and co-hosting Fair Dinkum Crime, a site devoted to promoting and discussing Australian crime fiction, for the past couple of years. I read and reviewed 18 books as part of my own participation in the 2012 challenge. Some of them weren’t even crime novels!