My week has consisted of a computer with a hard-drive failure and two children’s birthdays, so I didn’t quite get around to reading all the great crime reviews that have been logged over the last couple of months. Let’s check them out together.

This is my first wrap-up of the year and I’m a little stuck, as I was last year, with whether I just work on reviews logged in 2019 or if I go back to the last wrap-up in mid-December. I might just see what we will miss in the last half of December and then decide.

December 22-31 saw 11 reviews of 11 books logged, by 8 different authors.

To date in 2019 there have been 68 reviews recorded of 39 books by 31 authors. Let’s start with our most reviewed titles this roundup.

Sally Hepworth has a brand new release and it was reviewed 7 times in this roundup period, actually it was only 5… I linked mine twice and Amanda @ Mrs B’s Book Reviews has a review and an interview. To find out a little more about author Sally Hepworth check out the interview.

The reviews logged for AWW2019 have been overwhelmingly positive, though there are some less than glowing reviews on Goodreads which really illustrated to me the way that we all bring a part of ourselves to every reading experience and that colours the way we perceive characters and their actions.

Some of the views of our reviewers:

Brenda says: The Mother-in-Law by Aussie author Sally Hepworth is an intense, gritty psychological thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith says: This is the first of Ms Hepworth’s novels I’ve read. It won’t be the last. Highly recommended.

Theresa Smith Writes begins her review: What a twisting, compelling, insightful and addictive novel The Mother-In-Law turned out to be! Full of pockets of grey, nothing is as it seems and no one is truly good or bad. By telling the story from the perspectives of both the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law, Sally very much shows us that there is always two sides to every story.

Amanda @ Mrs B’s Book Reviews closes her review with: Hepworth’s turn of the hand is quite brilliant, her character set are personified beautifully and the way she has so thoughtfully crafted this novel in the past to the present, and balanced the points of view of Lucy and Diana, is incredibly astute. This was a surprising read from cover to cover, with plenty of lasting thoughts, that I know I will take on board. The Mother-In-Law comes highly recommended.

Michelle @ Beauty & Lace talks a lot about the characters and it’s hard for me to pick a snippet of my review to share, and this one I am going to add is exactly why: The Mother-In-Law was a compelling and complex story of family, love, desire and devotion. I loved it and I could talk about it all night but there are too many twists and too many side story arcs that it would be easy to throw in a massive spoiler that might affect someone else’s enjoyment. 

I think this is a book that we are going to see over and over in roundups this year.

Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby has 4 reviews logged.

Marianne, over on Goodreads, says: “Throsby’s second novel is clever and captivating and heart-warming. There’s plenty of (sometimes very black) humour and more than one mystery to be solved. Readers unfamiliar with the work of this talented author are likely to seek out her debut novel, Goodwood. A brilliant read.” Holly Throsby, Cedar Valley

Denise Newton Writes had this to say: “Throsby’s style is almost ‘naive’, if that’s a term that can be used in literature. The book moves slowly, as Benny absorbs the sights, sounds, and people of the town she has come to live in for a while. The mystery plays itself out in a measured, thoughtful way, never taking over from the emotion of Benny and the other characters, but somehow, in odd ways, drawing the town’s population together as they variously try to puzzle out the story of the man who died in front of the Antiques shop.”

Goodreads also houses the review of Cass Moriarty, who says: “This novel is peopled with a wonderful cast of characters and is written with wit and humour and a keen observation of human nature. And the book rockets along at a cracking pace – even though the setting and characters are fairly quiet by nature (even the local police are almost comical in their pursuit of the truth), the plot nevertheless unfolds rapidly and with just the right amount of tension to keep our attention.”

Prolific Goodreads reviewer Brenda says: “Cedar Valley is my first by Aussie author Holly Throsby and I found it an intriguing read, with two parallel mysteries that didn’t seem to be completely resolved. I found myself laughing aloud on occasion; enjoyed Benny’s character as she tried to learn more about her elusive mother.

The Arsonist is a non-fiction read with three reviews, a book that I hadn’t previously heard of but that sounds fascinating. The Arsonist tells the story of Black Saturday, the devastating Victorian bushfires of February 7, 2009. A book that would be heart-breaking to read and would touch people across the country because many of us would remember atrocious fires in our own states at some point. Chloe Hooper, The Arsonist

Bree@1girl2manybooks closes her review by saying: “It’s always hard to say I enjoyed books like this, because it’s pretty grim from start to finish. But it’s fascinating and very well done. Chloe Hooper does this so well – I think I’m at the stage where I prefer her non-fiction work and I’m a person who doesn’t read a lot of non-fiction. But when I do, it’s stuff like this. It’s brilliantly done but also open ended in that there are things left a bit messy, a bit unknown. Because that’s life, isn’t it?”

Kate @ Booksaremyfavouriteandbest gave it 4/5 and thinks it’s a definite chance for the Stella Prize. You can read her review at booksaremyfavouriteandbest.

There are many other fantastic books reviewed for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2019 and I would love to share more of the insightful and entertaining reviews, but time is flying this year and I have to get on to other things.

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.