It’s been nearly two months since I did a roundup of reviews relating to mysteries. detective stories, thrillers, suspense novels and true crime but there have only been 28 reviews for this category posted since my last roundup. I heard on Radio National this week that 15% of all books sold in Australia are crime fiction so I think we fans will have to up our game for the last part of the year 🙂
Brand new releases are again on the radar with Karen M Davis’ début novel SINISTER INTENT and Angela Savage’s THE DYING BEACH scoring two reviews a piece for the period.
Karen M. Davis’ SINISTER INTENT features a female cop, Lexie Rogers, who has recently been promoted out of uniform and posted to Sydney’s Bondi Junction. Her first case involves escalating tensions between to motor cycle clubs which is worrying for her as she was previously subject to a violent attack by a crazed bikie at her previous station. I haven’t read the novel yet but reviewer Bree at All the books I can read echoes my own thoughts that if the amount of “Bikie War” headlines in local papers are anything to go this subject must offer up endless possibilities for crime fiction. Bree notes that as a former cop the author brings an air of authenticity to the writing. Bree was drawn by SINISTER INTENT’s characters and writes
“I found myself really enjoying the characters in this novel, particularly the damaged Lexie and the fellow detective she is partnered up with, Josh. He has his own issues, not least a predilection for alcohol which is growing into quite the dependency. He and Lexie are fighting an attraction to the other from the beginning but Lexie is wary of becoming involved with someone she works with (as is Josh, who is also ranked above her).”
and later teases out some thoughts about another character
“The other character that I found really interesting was Rex Donaldson, the sergeant-at-arms for the Devils [one of the gangs]. He’s a big bloke, very big and angry when his chapter house is raided. …with each interaction the police had with Rex, he interested me more. I began to slowly piece him together in my head…and found myself really wanting to know far more about him than this book let on…I think I could’ve read a whole book that revolved around him”
Over at Book’d Out Shelleyrae was also taken by the characters, writing
“I thought the characters were portrayed authentically from the cops who drink a little more than they should do, to the casual chauvinism of a predominately male workplace, to the Bikie’s who have little respect for the law and believe in loyalty to each other above all.”
Before summing up the novel as “Well paced with a balanced dose of action, psychological suspense and romance“.
Angela Savage’s THE DYING BEACH is the third of her series featuring an ex-pat Australian, Jayne Keeney living in Thailand in the 1990’s. She is a private investigator but is on holidays with her boyfriend and business partner Rajiv in this novel. However, the pair soon become embroiled in an investigation when the woman who they’d had as a tour guide is found dead.
In my review at Fair Dinkum Crime one of my highlights of this very entertaining novel was the way it blended story with learning
“There’s really not much let up in tension or suspense right from the outset but still Savage manages to weave in lots of fascinating details about life in Thailand. The fact that both Jayne and Rajiv (who is an Indian ex pat) are outsiders in the culture allows this to happen seamlessly so you don’t quite realise until the end that you’ve learned lots as well as been thoroughly entertained. I particularly liked the fact that the serious environmental issues the story raises are not depicted simplistically or with the patronising superiority that such stories are often guilty of when told by outsiders.”
Again at Book’d Out Shelleyrae gives a great description of Jayne
“As a farang (foreigner) Jayne enjoys the freedom of not having to fit in. She cares little for what people think of her but respects the culture of the Thai people. She drinks, smokes and is outspoken. She doesn’t mind bending a few rules and though at times she is impulsive, her heart is always in the right place. Jayne can’t let injustice slide.”
Shelleyrae goes on to summarise this book as “…a stylish, intriguing and entertaining novel featuring an appealing protagonist and makes the most of its exotic setting”.
So two lots of thumbs up for the two new releases reviewed for the challenge over the past few weeks.
Bec Kavanagh wrote a passionate homage to a YA novel called GIRL DEFECTIVE by Simmone Howell which starts out “It was exactly the kind of book that I would have read a thousand times over as a teenager, daydreaming of the romantic/tortured/artistic life I would one day lead.” and ends iwth
“This is a coming of age story where everything and nothing matters all at once. The hormones are so strong that you’ll find yourself fifteen again, looking wildly for that compass to stop the world from spinning out of control around you. It’s brilliant, and messy and real, set in a place that everyone will recognise even if you’ve never been there before.”
The aforementioned Angela Savage reviewed Honey Brown’s DARK HORSE and made me really want to get my hands on it with this rave
“The quality of the writing puts Brown’s thrillers in a class of their own. Dark Horse shares with Brown’s other novels a tense, erotically charged, unpredictable atmosphere — one in which the hunted might become the hunter. Brown keeps you guessing, tapping into your primal fears while at the same time making you question the assumptions underlying those fears.”
If that’s not enough crime/mystery/thriller recommendations to satisfy you how about checking out the shortlists for the Davitt Awards for crime writing by Australian women . The winners of the Best Adult, Best Chidlren’s/YA and Best True Crime categories will be announced at the end of this month along with a reader’s choice award and the first ever life time achievement award. The Davitt awards are run by Sisters in Crime.
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
- AWW2013 Crime Roundup #1
- AWW2013 Crime Roundup #2
- AWW2013 Crime Roundup #3
- AWW 2013 Crime Roundup #4
- AWW2013 Crime Roundup #5
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!