The year is coming to a close but before the spirit of Christmas swamps us we have one more round up to check out. Once again I wasn’t quite as organised as I would have liked but everything is a little chaotic at the moment so reading and reviewing have taken a bit of a back seat, much to my dismay. I did manage to get one book reviewed that falls into this round-up so that’s something.
We have had 60 reviews logged of Crime Fiction and True Crime books since the last wrap-up in October. 39 different books were reviewed by 33 authors. Clearly not all of our AWW Challenge members have switched the crime genre for feel good Christmas novels to get into the swing of the season.
We have a 2019 release reviewed in this round-up but I’m not going to focus on that one, I’m sure All The Tears In China will be reviewed many times for our first round-up of 2019.
The oldest release reviewed was Heavenly Pleasure by Kerry Greenwood, released in 2005. Claire Holderness reviewed on Goodreads after listening to the audiobook, Claire also reviewed other books in the Corinna Chapman series.
Our most reviewed title is Jane Harper’s The Lost Man which was reviewed 7 times and has been an extremely popular new release. Early speculation had people thinking that Detective Falk would make an appearance but he was nowhere to be seen. The Lost Man was a character driven suspense centred on family, farming and mental health.
Tracey at Carpe Librum says: I recommend The Lost Man by Jane Harper to mystery, thriller and crime readers everywhere. It’s a brilliant read! My rating = *****
Brenda reviewed on Goodreads and her thoughts conclude with: Wow! That was brilliant! A breathtaking, slow burning thriller that captivated me until the very last page. The burning sun, the red dust, the vast and lonely landscape – a desolate countryside; but perfect for The Lost Man by Aussie author Jane Harper. I would venture to say this one is even better than her first two, and I loved them! The Lost Man is a standalone novel – a powerful read which I highly recommend.
Cass Moriarty says: Her latest crime fiction, The Lost Man (Pan Macmillan 2018), is another well-plotted and tense psychological thriller with well-developed characters and an immersive sense of place.
I reviewed over at Beauty and Lace, and in the comments are thoughts from a large selection of our Book Club members: Harper has woven a captivating tale of the hardships of life on the massive cattle properties in outback Queensland, the isolation, the stress, the risks associated with supplies if there are floods. It really is almost unimaginable to me to try and picture what life would be like. Add to all of that distance and isolation the prospect of mental health issues or medical issues and how do you ensure everyone’s wellness. More to the point how do you recognise the signs of someone being at risk?
Theresa Smith says: The Lost Man is an important novel, depicting a part of Australia that many will never see, spotlighting very real and serious issues that are uniquely rural, and consequently, more hidden. Intelligent narratives that raise awareness of the unique aspects associated with living in rural and remote Australia will always have my full support.
On Goodreads Claire says: A really great read set in an outback farming community where life is already hard and often circumstance can make it harder.
The last of our reviews comes from Kim Forrester at Reading Matters and she didn’t share the opinion of our other reviewers, and I think that makes it important to share because we all experience books differently. Kim says: This sounds like an intriguing puzzle to solve, right? I thought it was to begin with, but there’s something about this book that just didn’t work for me. It’s not the mystery, nor the plotting, which is very good and moves along at a reasonable clip. It’s clear the family — three generations all living under the one roof — has a lot of closely kept secrets ready to be exposed and this gives the novel a readerly hook. It’s the flat, clichéd writing — all tell and no show — that ruined it for me
Where the River Runs is another new release, this one is on my pile but I haven’t quite gotten to it yet. Talented West Australian Fleur McDonald is back and she brings Detective Dave Burrows with her. We had three reviews come in and this definitely sounds like one I need to push up the pile.
Theresa Smith says: Where the River Runs was such an enjoyable read for me, the perfect blend of family drama and rural suspense. Fleur evokes the outback with such a vivid intensity – from the sounds and the smells to the dust sticking on her character’s feet – her scenes just crackle with atmosphere. Her knowledge of farming and life on the land is woven into the narrative in a such natural manner that one can’t help but appreciate the amount of life experience Fleur brings to each of her novels.
Amanda @ Mrs B’s Book Reviews says: McDonald uses the main storyline of Where the River Runs to full capacity to explore regret, ill decisions, foresight, suppression and grief. These are serious themes that are touched on with understanding and sensitivity. Further to this McDonald delves into feelings of the impact of drought, homecoming, community perceptions and family politics. No matter the issue or theme, McDonald’s approach is insightful and nuanced.
Brenda reviewed on Goodreads: Where the River Runs is another exceptional rural suspense novel by Aussie author Fleur McDonald. Moving, poignant and heartbreaking, the rural outlook of severe drought; of neighbours looking out for one another; of family, secrets, courage and survival – all blend together to create a true Australian novel which I devoured. It was great to catch up with Dave Burrows, Jack and Kim again as well! I thoroughly enjoy this author’s work, and highly recommend Where the River Runs to fans of the genre.
We have a couple of True Crime reviews. The first, by Ashleigh Meikle – The Book Muse, of Last Woman Hanged by Caroline Overington. This sounds like a fascinating historical account of Louisa Collins, accused of killing her two husbands. Ashleigh says: This is an intriguing read, about part of Australia’s history not often taught in courses, and one that has to be sought out by those seeking to learn more. Hopefully, this will allow more stories of those silenced in the records of history to be told – and in doing so, will allow for a more well-rounded historical record that shows the complexities and grey areas of history, not just the black and white we see so often.
There have been a number of other titles reviewed, some have been featured over the last couple of months and some are books that have published over the last decade or so. I could sit here all day trawling through the reviews, and adding ever more titles to my TBR but my to-do list is almost as long as my TBR pile is tall at the moment.
Merry Christmas to all and I hope you get some quality reading time in.
If you want to check out all of the crime novels that have been reviewed you can head to the AWW Books Reviewed page and search by Genre. It will put all of the reviews at your fingertips.
We would love to hear about the great crime reads you have enjoyed recently.
I am a SAHM of 4 who loves words; written, spoken, sung… if it has words I’m there.
I have been reviewing at Beauty and Lace for coming up to 8 years. I started as a lover of horror, fantasy and crime but my time reviewing has broadened my horizons enough that I read pretty much anything, when my gorgeous rugrats allow me the opportunity.
You can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What a fabulous roundup Michelle, some great books in there
Great article Michelle. Thanks to your reviews on books, I have do many on my wishlist now.
Thanks Michelle. Bumper round up!
Great round-up Michelle. Hope you get some reading time in once the pre Christmas chaos is over.
Thanks for the mention and great to see so many other readers enjoyed The Lost Man.