July on AustCrimeFiction

July on AustCrime, and another busy month of reading and reviewing. It could very well be that I'm out of sync with these postings again. Who knows.

Read / To be Reviewed:

Certain Admissions, Gideon Haigh (Aust / True Crime)

On a warm evening in December 1949, two young people met by chance under the clocks at Flinders Street railway station. They decided to have a night on the town. The next morning, one of them, twenty-year-old typist Beth Williams, was found dead on Albert Park Beach. When police arrested the other, Australia was transfixed: twenty-four-year-old John Bryan Kerr was a son of the establishment, a suave and handsome commercial radio star educated at Scotch College, and Harold Holt's next-door neighbour in Toorak.

Gunshine State, Andrew Nette (Aust)

Gary Chance is a former Australian army driver, ex-bouncer and thief. His latest job sees him in Queensland working for Dennis Curry, an aging Surfers Paradise standover man. Curry runs off-site, non-casino poker games, and wants to rob one of his best customers, a high roller called Frederick 'Freddie' Gao.

The Serpent's Sting, Robert Gott (Aust)

William Power, actor and sometime private inquiry agent, has returned from the Northern Territory, shaken, stirred, and generally discombobulated. 'I survived the tropics with my life and my looks intact, despite the best efforts of the flora, fauna, and Military Intelligence to steal both from me.' It is late 1942, and in what he believes is a demeaning sideshow to the war, he finds himself playing a pantomime dame. If only this was his only worry, but, as his great hero, Shakespeare, noted, 'When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.' Can Will finally overcome his tendency to be the living embodiment of Murphy's Law?

Reviewed:

Black Teeth, Zane Lovitt (Aust)

Jason Ginaff doesn’t get out much. Partly because of the anxiety, mainly because he works at home. Researching people on the internet. Job candidates doing bucket bongs on Instagram accounts they thought they’d deleted; the prospective new head of sales stripping for a hens’ night… He’s been searching for something on his own time, too. Now he’s found it: the phone number of the man he believes to be his father. Which is how he gets mixed up with Rudy Alamein. They’ve been looking for the same man. Difference being, Rudy wants to kill him.

13-Point Plan for a Perfect Murder, David Owen (Aust)

TASMANIA'S rise and rise as a tourist destination makes the island an ideal location for the cashed-up international polo-set, jetting in from Europe, Buenos Aires, Shanghai and LA for their late summer carnival and relaxathon in the world's latest clean-green hotspot. They play fiercely and party hard at the swish Polo Palace, built near beautiful beaches through the largesse of an island-loving polo-mad billionaire Bahraini businessman. So when this idyll is gruesomely interrupted by the murder of Sebastian Wicken, a dashing and wealthy Englishman famous for wielding his stick and ball. Pufferfish, aka seasoned Detective Inspector Franz Heineken of the Tasmanian Police Force, is called to investigate.

Trust No One, Paul Cleave (NZ)

Jerry Grey is known to most of the world by his crime writing pseudonym, Henry Cutter-a name that has been keeping readers at the edge of their seats for more than a decade. Recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at the age of forty-nine, Jerry's crime writing days are coming to an end. His twelve books tell stories of brutal murders committed by bad men, of a world out of balance, of victims finding the darkest forms of justice. As his dementia begins to break down the wall between his life and the lives of the characters he has created, Jerry confesses his worst secret: The stories are real. He knows this because he committed the crimes. Those close to him, including the nurses at the care home where he now lives, insist that it is all in his head, that his memory is being toyed with and manipulated by his unfortunate disease. But if that were true, then why are so many bad things happening? Why are people dying?

Clinch, Martin Holmén

An ultra-gritty piece of contemporary Swedish noir, set in a decrepit, highly atmospheric 1930s Stockholm that is a far cry from the modern, egalitarian capital city of today.

Black Sails, Disco Inferno, Andrez Bergen (Aust)

Black Sails, Disco Inferno retells the classic medieval romance of Tristan and Iseult by turning things on their head, reversing the sex of our chief protagonists, and then placing them in a '70s pulp/noir world.

Siren of the Waters, Michael Genelin

Jana Matinova entered the Czechoslovak police force as a young woman, married an actor, and became a mother. The regime destroyed her husband, their love for one another, and her daughter’s respect for her. But she has never stopped being a seeker of justice. 

Boom and Bust, Angus Gillies (NZ)

Boom and Bust is a violent hard-boiled crime novel about a man forced into acts of desperation and depravity by debt. He is over-committed in the property market and is changing careers to have a crack as a real estate agent just as the Global Financial Crisis is about to hit. His timing couldn't be worse and the bodies are piling up around him as he tries to shoot his way out of trouble. 

Starlight Peninsula, Charlotte Grimshaw (NZ)

Eloise Hay lives on the Starlight Peninsula. Every weekday she travels into the city to work at Q TV Studio, assisting with the production of a current affairs show. One night she receives a phone call that will change her life forever.

Cold Hard Murder, Trish McCormack (NZ)

The darkness felt tangible. Like it was pressing against my blind eyes … We were going to die here. Slowly, slowly.

The Long Con, Barry Weston (Aust)

Frank Cousins is a knockabout bloke; an ex-Queensland cop turned private eye who - it has to be said - is his own worst enemy. Owner and sole employee of the Tasmanian Private Investigation Agency in Hobart, Frank takes on three simple cases and soon finds himself up to his neck in bad guys, bad situations and, as usual, bad behaviour. Money-for-jam, these three cases: find a missing woman, get the dirt on a philandering state politician, and provide personal protection for a wealthy, elderly matriarch - figurehead of a Tasmanian environmental group. What could possibly go wrong? Well, as Frank's dear old departed Mum always said: 'nothing in life is what it first appears to be'.

The Twisted Knot, J.M. Peace (Aust)

After her abduction and near death at the hands of a sadistic killer, Constable Samantha Willis is back in the uniform. Despite being on desk duty, rumours reach Sammi that Someone in Angel's Crossing has been hurting little girls, and before long a mob is gathering to make sure justice is served. So when a man is found hanging in his shed, the locals assume the pedophile has finally given in to his guilt. That is, until Sammi delves further into the death and uncovers a dark family secret, an unsolved crime and a town desperate for vengeance.

Out of the Ice, Ann Turner (Aust)

When environmental scientist Laura Alvarado is sent to a remote Antarctic island to report on an abandoned whaling station, she begins to uncover more than she could ever imagine.

Devour, L.A. Larkin (Aust)

Their greatest fear was contaminating an ancient Antarctic lake, buried beneath the ice for millions of years. They little knew about the catastrophe they were about to unleash.

The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware

In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

Robert Goodman's Reviews:

The Girl in Green, Derek B Miller

Black Teeth, Zane Lovitt

Vigil, Angela Slatter

Andrea Thompson's Reviews:

The Silent Inheritance, Joy Dettman

Wonderment in Death, J.D. Robb

The Couple Next Door, Shari Lapena

An Isolated Incident, Emily Maguire

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