Tag Archives: #crime

The Carnival is Over by Greg Woodland -a review

The Carnival is OverThe Carnival is Over (Mick Goodenough #2) by Greg Woodland

1971—Hal is seventeen, with dreams of escaping from Moorabool to a life in the city. But right now he’s on a good behaviour bond and stuck in a job he hates, paying off the car he ‘borrowed’ and crashed. Hal’s packing-room job makes him a target for workplace bullies and the friendship of the older, more worldly Christine is all that makes each day bearable. So when she doesn’t turn up for work, he’s on the alert.

So is Sergeant Mick Goodenough. But he already knows what’s happened to Christine: the same thing that happened to the newly elected deputy mayor. When another gruesome ‘accident’ occurs in Moorabool, Goodenough suspects there’s something sinister going on behind the scenes at the abattoir.

Mick and Hal are both determined to dig up the truth. Before long each of them is going to find himself in mortal danger and running for his life.

Greg Woodland, author of the acclaimed The Night Whistler, returns with another nailbiting rural thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Published 2 August 2022 |  Publisher: Text Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

A follow up on The Night Whistler, The Carnival is Over is set approximately 5 years after the events in The Night Whistler. Hal and Allie are on the verge of adulthood and Mick Goodenough promoted to Sergeant and quite settled in Moorabool. And yet, he still likes to rock the boat especially when he’s got his teeth into a puzzling mystery.

The Carnival is Over is a thoroughly enjoyable complex mystery that kept you guessing all the time with just enough suspense to get your heart racing. The switch of views from character to character were done smoothly and flawlessly that I had no problem following. If you like The Night Whistler, then you’d love The Carnival is Over.

My thanks to Text Publishing for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Those Who Perish by Emma Viskic -a review

those who perishThose Who Perish (Caleb Zelic #4) by Emma Viskic

A MYSTERIOUS MESSAGE
Deaf PI Caleb Zelic has always been an outsider, estranged from family and friends. But when he receives a text that his brother, Anton, is in danger, Caleb sees it as a chance at redemption.

A REMOTE ISLAND
He tracks Anton down to an isolated, wind-punished island, where secrets run deep and resentments deeper.

A KILLER IN THE SHADOWS
When a killer starts terrorising the isolated community, the brothers must rely on each other like never before. But trust comes at a deadly price…

Published 28 April 2022|  Publisher: Pushkin Press |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  BooktopiaAbbey’sA&RQBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I have a love-hate relationship with this series. I love the setting, the prose, and the characters. I absolutely abhor the angst Caleb have about Kat and Ant. Especially Kat and the on-off vibe of their relationship. I guess this is an inherent part of Caleb’s personality that has been mentioned in the book and therefore, it’s like watching a car crash where you know it’s going to be bad and you don’t really want to see it but you can’t turn your head away. That’s exactly how I feel about this whole series.

As always, Caleb stepped into a mystery bigger and ever more dangerous but this time, as he’s about to become a father, he really needed to question his involvement. And yet, things got out of hand very quickly with his life and those he loves in danger. Of course, the ending is never what I thought it’d be with all the miscommunications and misunderstandings adding to the complexity of the twists and turns that ends with a big splash.

My thanks to Pushkin Press for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor -a review

dirt townDirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor

My best friend wore her name, Esther, like a queen wearing her crown at a jaunty angle. We were twelve years old when she went missing.

On a sweltering Friday afternoon in Durton, best friends Ronnie and Esther leave school together. Esther never makes it home.

Ronnie’s going to find her, she has a plan. Lewis will help. Their friend can’t be gone, Ronnie won’t believe it.

Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels can believe it. She has seen what people are capable of. She knows more than anyone how, in a moment of weakness, a person can be driven to do something they never thought possible.

Lewis can believe it too. But he can’t reveal what he saw that afternoon at the creek without exposing his own secret.

Five days later, Esther’s buried body is discovered.

What do we owe the girl who isn’t there?

Character-rich and propulsive, with a breathtakingly original use of voice and revolving points of view, Dirt Town delves under the surface, where no one can hide. With emotional depth and sensitivity, this stunning debut shows us how much each person matters in a community that is at once falling apart and coming together.

Esther will always be a Dirt Town child, as we are its children, still.

Published 31 May 2022|  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s 

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

What a STUNNING debut! Undoubtedly one of my best reads of 2022 and I’m going to start this review, right off the bat, by Highly Recommending this book. You’ll not regret it. Actually, you will regret it if you don’t.

I thought Dirt Town was a novel I was going to enjoy as I do enjoy my crime reads. However, after a few pages, I knew I was not just going to enjoy this read. This read was more. I still can’t quite point the finger at exactly what it is but it was just such a rich read; compelling prose, concrete characters, engaging mystery and I am just in awe.

The description notes ‘revolving points of view’ and this phrase both interests me and made me a bit anxious but for once, I don’t have any complaint on the multiple perspectives. Each one was clear and definite, each voice unique. Sometimes, I found it a bit strange as moving on to another perspective, we are going over the same time period or scene as the previous chapter/perspective BUT it’s not actually going over old grounds as it were but different perspectives, in this novel, truly gave another viewpoint, another dimension to a certain scene. It really flesh out the whole story and made it ever more solid.

I could literally feel the snowball effect as I read; it started off slow but sure and after halfway, I could feel it gaining speed and the end was heartbreaking. The ending wasn’t as dark as some other crime/rural noir novels and in that way, I appreciated it a whole lot more. An immensely satisfying read, do yourself a favour and read this book. Then do me a favour by letting me know your thoughts x

My thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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No Less The Devil by Stuart MacBride -a review

no less the devilNo Less The Devil by Stuart MacBride

Introducing an original and intriguing new lead character, Stuart MacBride’s new novel showcases a crime-writing master at the top of his game.

‘We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.’

It’s been seventeen months since the Bloodsmith butchered his first victim and Operation Maypole is still no nearer catching him. The media is whipping up a storm, the top brass are demanding results, but the investigation is sinking fast.

Now isn’t the time to get distracted with other cases, but Detective Sergeant Lucy McVeigh doesn’t have much choice. When Benedict Strachan was just eleven, he hunted down and killed a homeless man. No one’s ever figured out why Benedict did it, but now, after sixteen years, he’s back on the streets again – battered, frightened, convinced a shadowy ‘They’ are out to get him, and begging Lucy for help.

It sounds like paranoia, but what if he’s right? What if he really is caught up in something bigger and darker than Lucy’s ever dealt with before? What if the Bloodsmith isn’t the only monster out there? And what’s going to happen when Lucy goes after them?

Published 3 May 2022|  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

I was excited to receive this book in the mail since I was totally in the mood for a crime read. While I’ve heard of this author, I’ve yet to read any of his books so while I can’t tell his fans if this new book is as good as his other books, I can tell you that I’m keen to explore his backlist now.

Detective Sergeant Lucy McVeigh appears to be the standard protagonist of a police procedural novel in that she’s like a dog with a bone when presented with a case and she is broken. There’s something in her past which we learnt of later on in the novel. She mostly gets along with her team and has a loyal partner though he seems a lot younger and immature in comparison to her. Herein lies the humour which breaks the bleakness of the novel and I really enjoyed the dynamics between these two.

I was caught by surprise by some of the language and maybe that’s because I’ve never read his books before or maybe I don’t read enough Scottish books but I don’t think I’ve ever heard some of these words before: hurple (I love the sound of this word! Say it out loud to yourself and see what I mean), clarted (only cuz it rhymes with farted – I’ve been hanging out too much with my boys), dunt, sook (as in ‘sucking a cigarette’ and not ‘being a sook’), etc. This may be a reason in itself to read more of MacBride’s!

What started as a pretty solid police procedural changed in a somewhat unpredictable way approximately 3/4 through the novel. At first, I wasn’t sure if I like this change because it turned into a psychological thriller which I’m not a fan of… I didn’t mind the ending but I’m still not sure whether I like it or not; maybe that’s TBD after I read the sequel 🤣

My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Unforgiven by Sarah Barrie -a review

unforgivenUnforgiven by Sarah Barrie

Once a victim, she’s now a vigilante. An addictive and suspenseful thriller for readers of Candice Fox and Sarah Bailey.

Lexi Winter is tough, street-smart and has stood on her own two feet since childhood, when she was a victim of notorious paedophile the Spider. All she cares about now is a roof over her head and her long-term relationship with Johnny Walker. She isn’t particular about who she sleeps with … as long as they pay before leaving.

Lexi is also an ace hacker, tracking and entrapping local paedophiles and reporting them to the cops. When she finds a particularly dangerous paedophile who the police can’t touch, she decides to gather enough evidence to put him away. Instead, she’s a witness to his death …

Detective Inspector Rachael Langley is the cop who cracked the Spider case, 18 years earlier – but failed to protect Lexi. Now a man claiming to be the real Spider is emulating his murderous acts, and Rachael is under pressure from government, media and her police colleagues. Did she get it wrong all those years ago, or is this killer is a copycat?

Lexi and Rachael cross paths at last, the Spider in their sights … but they may be too late …

Published 1 December 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I feel that I should have enjoyed this book a lot more than I actually did. I just feel that this past couple of months, I just wasn’t loving anything I read so it could be a mini slump or just a terrible mood. From my reading of Unforgiven, I would normally have loved it and could barely put it down but I was just reading a slow chapter by chapter. I loved this idea of 2 protagonists from what seems to be opposite sides of life yet their past connected them deeply and their lives are once more to collide. I couldn’t wait to get to that part of the story where the 2 separate threads start to cross each other.

All characters were easily likeable and I especially loved Lexi’s enterprising neighbour! I did find the crime itself a little hard to read but I appreciate the twist upon twist of who the real villain is at the end. There is one flyaway thread though so I am wondering if there’s supposed to be a sequel. I can’t handle a flyaway thread so here’s hoping for a closure!

My thanks to The Book Stack for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

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The Way It Is Now by Garry Disher -a review

the way it is nowThe Way It Is Now by Garry Disher

Twenty years ago Charlie Deravin’s mother went missing near the family beach shack—believed murdered; body never found. His father has lived under a cloud of suspicion ever since.

Now Charlie’s back living in the shack in Menlo Beach, on disciplinary leave from his job with the police sex-crimes unit, and permanent leave from his marriage. After two decades worrying away at the mystery of his mother’s disappearance, he’s run out of leads.

Then the skeletal remains of two people are found in the excavation of a new building site—and the past comes crashing in on Charlie.

The Way It Is Now is the enthralling new novel from Garry Disher, one of Australia’s most loved and celebrated crime writers.

Published 2 November 2021|  Publisher: Text Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

Truthfully, I’m drawing a blank. I’ve finished reading this days ago and have been scratching my head on what I really think about the novel. While I found the book to be a fairly easy read, I didn’t find this cold ‘personal’ case to be that compelling and I am kind of offended at the abrupt ending. Don’t laugh! I am absolutely stumped at where it was ended. I like my t’s crossed and my i’s dotted so this was really upsetting. So yeah, it’s personal.

I’ve read 2 other books by this author and I really only liked one of them so I guess it was 50:50 chance whether I’d like this book or not. I do truly love the Australian beach setting and I liked the main character too; he’s having issues but he’s not completely broken and in fact, he’s working to be better. However, he’s still haunted by the past and this story digs it all up for him with a definite resolution. I still want a proper ending! [sorry, I’m just going to leave it at that]

My thanks to Text Publishing for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Mercy by David Baldacci -a review

mercyMercy (Atlee Pine #4) by David Baldacci

Mercy is the gripping follow up to Long Road to MercyA Minute to Midnight and Daylight featuring Special Agent Atlee Pine from one of the world’s most favourite thriller writers, David Baldacci.

THE HUNT IS FINALLY OVER.

FBI agent Atlee Pine is at the end of her long journey to discover what happened to her twin sister, Mercy, who was abducted when the girls were just six years old – an incident which destroyed her family and left Atlee physically and mentally scarred.

She knew her sister and parents were out there somewhere. And she had to find them. Dead or alive.

Atlee and her assistant, Carol Blum, discover the truth. But the truth hurts. And hurt makes you tough. So how tough do you have to be to forgive?

As they uncover a shocking trail of lies, greed, fear and revenge, they must face one final challenge. A challenge more deadly and dangerous than they could ever have imagined.

Published 26 October 2021|  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

Fans all over the world have been waiting for this moment! The moment when Special Agent Atlee Pine finally finds out what happened to her twin sister, Mercy, when they were separated as children. Mercy is a thrilling conclusion to this mystery as well as a spellbinding story of women’s resilience and strength.

Pine and Blum travelled the country in tracing those involved with Mercy’s kidnapping. As always, things never go smoothly as there are many other external factor that come to play. Slowly, complexity and tension build up until the explosive ending that is typical of Baldacci’s novels. I really don’t know whether this is a final Atlee Pine novel because all 4 books have been about her and Mercy. That’s pretty much done now and that last scene in the book sounds like a farewell to me. Either way, I’m very happy with this finale.

Honestly, this is a tough review to write without spoilers! So please forgive me for being more vague than ever but just believe me when I say that this is an unmissable finale though if you haven’t been following the series, you very much need to read them starting from book 1, Long Road to Mercy.

My thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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The Long Game by Simon Rowell -a review

the long gameThe Long Game by Simon Rowell

A summer of relentless heat. A local surfer named Ray Carlson is found dead in a house not far from Portsea back beach. There’s a kitchen knife deep in his chest, and blood everywhere.

Detective Sergeant Zoe Mayer is scarcely back from extended leave, and still wrestling with her demons, but she is assigned the case—alongside her new service dog, Harry, whose instincts help her in unexpected ways.

There’s an obvious suspect for the murder, and Zoe makes an arrest. But it’s all too neat, and none of Zoe’s colleagues believes her theory that the whole thing is a stitch-up.

Except now someone is trying to hunt Zoe down.

Superbly plotted, and vividly set in the beachside suburbs and hilly retreats around Melbourne, The Long Game is a mystery about a tough and clever investigator who won’t give up.

Published 3 August 2021|  Publisher: Text Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

The Long Game is a solid police procedural featuring a much likeable detective protagonist and her clever service dog, Harry. On Detective Zoe Mayer’s first day back to work, she caught a homicide case which appear to be an open and shut case but a tip and her instinct led her to believe that there is much more to this case than what’s obvious. This, in turn, made her unpopular with her colleagues and a target.

Many crime novels these days feature protagonists who are broken and most have either broken or in fracturing domestic situations. While Zoe has her own issues to work through, I liked that her own personal life isn’t. It isn’t perfect but then no one’s is. She’s got Harry to assist her in her daily struggles but she appears to be doing all the right things and is recovering well. She’s a terrifically strong character, intelligent and determined, and confident. And lovable Harry – everyone loves him and being a dog lover myself, I loved having him actively participate in this novel.

The mystery behind Zoe’s PTSD was just as intriguing as the murder mystery she was investigating. As Zoe goes investigating the murder, readers also get glimpses of the incident that led to her PTSD. I must say that twists & conclusions to both mysteries are very satisfying.

I am not at all sure whether this is meant to be a stand alone or a series. At the end of the book, I did think this feels like a first book in a series but yet, it’s possible that it’s a stand alone but with author/publisher leaving enough of a vague notion for a possibility for a series, if sales are good. I do hope that there will be more books as I have really enjoyed this time spent in company with Zoe & Harry.

My thanks to Text Publishing for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

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A Different Dawn by Isabella Maldonado -a review

a different dawnA Different Dawn (Nina Guerrera #2) by Isabella Maldonado

For nearly thirty years a serial killer has been hiding in plain sight. So has the key to an FBI agent’s dark past.

A family is murdered as they sleep. FBI Special Agent Nina Guerrera and her new team are tasked with determining whether there is any link between this attack and another triple homicide from four years earlier and more than two thousand miles away. In the process, they’ll discover a serial killer so cunning that his grisly trail of death spanning nearly three decades has gone undetected. Each crime scene reminds Nina of the ghostly Latin folktale of La Llorona, which terrified her when she was an abandoned and vulnerable child. Now it’s back to haunt her.

Nina has known evil, but these macabre reenactments are as disturbing as they are baffling. Now she must uncover the meaning behind the rituals as the evidence leads her in an unexpected direction—far closer to home than anyone could have imagined. As the team narrows in on a suspect, the present collides with Nina’s past in a twist of fate that forces her to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Published 10 August 2021|  Publisher: Thomas & Mercer  |  RRP: AUD$27.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

The Cipher (Nina Guerrera #1) was an Amazon Prime First Reads offer and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I love Free books (who doesn’t!) but when it comes to free ebook offer, I have my doubts… Nina was such a strong protagonist and the story a thrilling page turner that when I saw this second book available on NetGalley, I jumped on the chance.

A Different Dawn is just as thrilling and page turning as the first book. As Nina and her team needs to learn to work together as a team, they travelled to Phoenix where a possible serial killer began and has just recently, committed an atrocious act against a young family. As the team raced against time and danger to catch this unsub, he himself worked behind the scene to throw them off their game.

Nina faced her terribly violent past in The Cipher and you’d think the poor girl may have had enough but this Girl Warrior is uncovering more of her mysterious past in this latest instalment of the series. Even as much as I loved the ending to this book, I was scoffing at how both mysteries conveniently centred on Nina’s past… What’s left for the next book? Maybe now we can move on…? We’ll see.

Last night, I started reading thinking that I’ll just read for an hour and have an early night but I just couldn’t put this down. While I struggled against my unbelief that yet again, Nina stumbled into something from her past, I also wanted to find out what it is! So I chalked up another late night reading but a very satisfactory one.

My thanks to Thomas & Mercer for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

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The Girl Remains by Katherine Firkin -a review

the girl remainsThe Girl Remains by Katherine Firkin

A chilling police thriller set in a small coastal town on the Mornington Peninsula, where the discovery of human bones on an isolated beach has reawakened a twenty-year-old cold case…

‘Australian crime fiction has just found an exciting new voice.’ Marie Claire

On the evening of September 22, 1998, three teenage girls venture out for a night of mischief in the coastal town of Blairgowrie. But only two return . . .

For over twenty years the disappearance of fifteen-year-old Cecilia May remains a baffling cold case – until human bones are discovered on an isolated beach.

Now it’s up to Detective Emmett Corban and his team to dig up decades of trauma, and find the missing piece of an investigation that’s as complex as it is tragic.

Does the answer lie with the only suspect, a registered sex offender who confessed, then immediately provided a rock-solid alibi? Or with the two teen survivors – neither of whom can keep their story straight?

But the police aren’t the only ones hunting for the truth: someone else has arrived in the seaside town. And she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to find her own version of justice…

Published 4 May 2021|  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I wrote in my review of author’s first book, Sticks and Stones, that I hoped it was to be a first book in the series as I was keen to follow up on Detective Emmett Corban’s career so I was very excited to hear about this sequel. Unfortunately, just as I started to read, I hit a massive reading slump and had to set aside the book about 1/3 of the way through. I picked it back up after a few weeks and finished reading it fairly quickly but the damage was already done.

As I said I actually read this quite quickly despite the reading slump in between reading so the story is actually rather gripping and is a page turner. Told from multiple perspectives, Emmett, his wife, his new partner, and a few other persons-of-interest, there was no end to my speculation of what this mystery is. The ending was quite mind boggling and is rather dark, somewhat gothic really; something I didn’t expect.

I enjoyed Emmett’s camaraderie with one of the detectives though I truly wonder at his objections to his new partner. Granted that his new partner is unlike everyone else but that is exactly why I really like this new character and I hope we’ll see a lot more of him (hopefully, there’ll be a third book).

Overall, a very enjoyable thrilling read which I would have loved if I read at better time/mood.

My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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