Writers who take the decision to build their novels around characters who are less than sympathetic, veering towards frustrating, appear to be making one of the braver literary decisions you can come across.
Originally published under the title AN ACT OF REPARATION, DEAD GUILTY uses the complex subject of domestic abuse as a vehicle to explore the ongoing abuse and exploitation of women in very vulnerable situations.
Sometimes the world is very kind to a dedicated fan of Australian Crime fiction, particularly when two new books from authors that we've not heard from for a very long time arrive. Peter Doyle and Dave Warner each played their part, many years ago, in engaging an interest in our own stories and voices.
A debut that shows promise in terms of the sense of place, and the best and worst of life in small towns, PIECES OF A LIE is one for for readers comfortable with a romantic tension device, and happy if their baddies are barking mad into the bargain.
Many with a passing interest in the news might remember aspects about the case of the murder of Allison Baden-Clay. Unfortunately she is yet another woman, killed by their domestic partner, for reasons which are impossible to justify.
AFTER THE CRASH opens with private eye Credule Grand-Duc preparing to take his own life after spending nearly eighteen years failing to discover the truth behind the miracle of the baby who survived a plane crash.
This series has proven to be enormously entertaining, and THE GRAND CRU HEIST, a very short novel, is up there with the rest of the series. Not just because, I hasten to clarify, it's impossible to read them without a glass of something (slightly more local) in your hand.
BLACK WIDOW is a fascinating book to read, it's beautifully constructed, making history come alive, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions on many of the aspects of the story of Louisa Collins.
The book explores the impact that this life has on those people: why they became cops, why they continue to be cops, and the ties that bind them together. It is a story that explores the twisted byways of love and loyalty, regret and the price of vengeance.
Candice Fox's first book, Hades won the Ned Kelly Australian Crime Fiction Award for best first novel. It was a deserving win. Fox's visceral take on the serial killer procedural was a slick reworking of familiar crime elements into something both compulsive and disturbing.
A collaborative effort, SOMETHING IS ROTTEN is the first book from New Zealand based pairing of Swedish-born novelist Linda Olsson and award-winning playwright Thomas Sainsbury writing as Adam Safaris.
It's hard to know if there's a new "thing" in crime fiction, or it's just something that this reader has suddenly noticed - but there seems to have been a number of books recently that have used dementia as a core theme. Which might make for uncomfortable reading for those of us of a "certain age" with an increasing tendency to forget too many things.
A really good psychological thriller, ALREADY DEAD is also fast paced, with a strong plot and engaging characters, although if you spend a lot of time in idling traffic you'll probably find yourself locking your doors after reading.
Lethal Sky is, overall, a well written and engaging thriller. Barron has plenty of techno-exposition but it never overwhelms the plot which drives forward relentlessly. Barron shows in this book that he can wield the clichès effectively and hold his own with the best in this genre.
But it is overall an effective and engaging crime novel, that handles its issues compassionately, builds tension well and has a fascinating, flawed protagonist. It will be interesting to see what Anne Buist (and Natalie King) do next.
Nobody could be more startled than me when declaring that A TIME OF SECRETS was a most enjoyable book to read. Startled because ostensibly it looks, feels, smells like a romance. With an historical bent, and some mystery within.