Post Script: Dog Will Have His Day – Fred Vargas

For those who are looking for something different in crime fiction – quirky characters and black humour abound here.

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Dog Will Have His Day

Fred Vargas

Harvill Secker

Random House

ISBN: 9781846558207

Description:

HOW DO YOU SOLVE A MURDER WITHOUT A BODY?

Keeping watch under the windows of the Paris flat belonging to a politician’s nephew, ex-special investigator Louis Kehlweiler catches sight of something odd on the pavement. A tiny piece of bone. Human bone, in fact.

When Kehlweiler takes his find to the nearest police station, he faces ridicule. Obsessed by the fragment, he follows the trail to the tiny Breton fishing village of Port-Nicolas – in search of a dog. But when he recruits ‘evangelists’ Marc and Mathias to help, they find themselves facing even bigger game.

 

My View:

 

This is my first read of a Fred Vargas book – she has several series published – The Inspector Adamsberg Series and The Three Evangelists Series – Dog Will Have His Day in the second book in the second series. I had no difficulty picking up this book without reading the first – The Three Evangelists, however maybe it is the unique style of writing or maybe the translation (which on the whole was very well done Sian Reynolds) or maybe because I hadn’t read the first book but I needed to time to process the first few chapters before I dived into the rest of the book.

 

And what a book! Full of quirky characters that most of society would have cast aside – so refreshing, unique and enjoyable. Louis (also known by some as Ludwig) is an ex special investigator (forced retirement) who has a myriad of informers – drunks, newspaper sellers, bar owners… homeless people… who supply him with vital information. He may be retired but he is not off the job. He is an eccentric character (I base this judgement on the fact that he carries a toad around in his pocket, Bufo the Toad) aside from that small eccentricity he is perfectly normalJ and smart, and kind and like a terrier who won’t let go of a bone (no pun intended). This character – and the rest of the cast are so refreshing to read. There is not a drop of angst between them, no self-pity and lot of great detective work. A great read.

 

 

Dear Monica Competition

Yesterday I finished reading Hello From The Gillespies by Monica McInerney –  a complex story of families, miscommunication, the tough life of  Australian farmers today and about the choices we make that shape our lives. My review will be posted soon.

 

Penguin Australia are running a writing competition.

This promotion is open to Australian residents only 18 years and above with the exception of
those related to employees of the Promoter, their families, agents and anyone else connected
with this promotion.

 

Good luck to all who enter.

Post Script: The Unforgiven – Sean Slater

An authentic police procedural written by a Canadian cop – how good is that?

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The Unforgiven

Sean Slater

Simon and Shuster UK

ISBN: 9781471101403

 

Description:

 

Jacob Striker is back. And this time it is personal.

 

It is late at night when Detective Jacob Striker receives a call to investigate a disturbance at a bus depot in downtown Vancouver. On arrival, he discovers a bus in flames and the fire department battling to control the blaze. When they finally put the fire out, Striker makes a terrifying discovery. Inside is the body of a woman he once worked with, a police officer from the force. It looks as though she has been lured in and ambushed.

Striker vows to find and bring the murderer to justice. But the more Striker tries to look into the case, the more roadblocks he encounters. It soon becomes apparent that his investigations are upsetting some influential people. And now Striker is putting himself in grave danger as he battles through the layers of intrigue and lies to uncover the truth.

 

My View:

Sean Slater is the pseudonym for Vancouver Police Officer Sean Sommerville. Sean Sommerville has a ring side view of life and crime in his region and his firsthand knowledge of the area and the systems he works within shines bright and clear in his novels. The settings are authentic, his protagonist is the type of person you would want on your side in any situation – tough, capable, persistent and loyal (and it doesn’t hurt that he is not too bad looking either). This narrative is complex, the chapters short and sharp – no words are wasted, and there are many references to contemporary social issues that as  world-wide readers we are all aware of. I’ll say no more – there are no spoilers here.

 

In essence a brilliant, authentic police procedural with a villain that at times you can even feel a little empathy for…for his situation and the events in his life that have bought him to this ugly place where vengeance rules. A great read.

 

 

Perth’s Shortest Short Story Competion

If you are a Western Australian Writer (see point 15 of the rules -The prize vouchers may be used for classroom courses in Perth only, they cannot be used for online courses, manuscript assessments, mentoring or overseas programs.) and this works for you then feel free to apply here for the shortest short story competition – works under 49 words.

Competition details:

Perth’s Shortest Short Story

If you can write a compelling short story in 49 words or less, here’s your chance to win a share in more than $1000 in cash and prizes.

Boffins and the Australian Writers’ Centre are on the hunt for Perth’s best and shortest short story. All you need to do to enter is complete the form to the right and send us a stupendous short story.

COMPETITION DETAILS

What do I win?

  • $400 gift voucher from Boffins
  • $400 worth of courses at the Australian Writers’ Centre in Perth
  • $150 in cash
  • A one-hour mentoring session with Natasha Lester, award-winning novelist.

The runner up will receive:

  • $150 gift voucher from Boffins

What are the key dates?

  • Thursday 16 October 2014: Competition opens
  • Friday 14 November 2014: Competition closes
  • Friday 21 November 2014: Finalists announced
  • Friday 28 November 2014: Winner announced

Can I enter more than once?

We will only accept one entry per person, so make sure you put your best foot forward and send us only your best work!

How does the judging work?

The team at the Australian Writers’ Centre read all the entries and create a “long list”. After hours of discussion and re-reading, this becomes a “short list” that is sent to the judges who score each story against key criteria including originality and creativity. Due to volume of entry, judges will only review short listed stories.

The five stories to score the most points will be finalists. The story with the highest score will be judged to be the winner.

Good luck

Post Script: The Silver Moon Reflections on Life, Death and Writing – Bryce Courtenay

This book is simply delightful, inspiring and a joy to read.

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The Silver Moon Reflections on Life, Death and Writing

Bryce Courtenay

Viking

Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780670078264

 

 

Description:

Each of us has a place to return to in our minds, a place of clarity and peace, a place to think, to create, to dream. For Bryce Courtenay this place was a waterhole in Africa where he used to escape to as a boy, in search of solitude. One evening, while lingering there, he witnessed the tallest of the great beasts drinking from the waterhole in the moonlight, and was spellbound. Ever since, he drew inspiration from this moment.

 

The Silver Moon gathers together some of the most personal and sustaining life-lessons from Australia’s favourite storyteller. In short stories and insights, many written in his final months, Bryce reflects on living and dying, and how through determination, respect for others and taking pleasure in small moments of joy, he lived life to the fullest.

 

From practical advice on how to write a bestseller to general inspiration on how to realise your dreams, The Silver Moon celebrates Bryce Courtenay’s lifelong passion for storytelling, language and the creative process, and brings us closer to the man behind the bestsellers.

 

 

My View:

 

I have read a few of Bryce Courtenay’s novels over the years – he has written many, in fact 21 books over 23 year which is a pretty amazing record and for me my favourites have been The Power Of One and April Fool’s Day – books that I feel Courtenay had really invested himself in the narrative, but that was until now. After reading The Silver Moon I have fallen in love with this author all over again.

 

I love his gentle words, his poetic writing, and his inspiring reflections. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet this author before his death in 2012. I wish I’d had the opportunity to hear him speak- his words speak to the soul and we can all learn a lot from this simple unassuming book. Bryce Courtenay is in his own words “…a character driven novelist and I’m fascinated by the human persona and the travails and troubles and angst and adventures that we human beings manage to create for ourselves…I’m driven to tell stories. Stories absolutely fascinate me, and while writing is a hard process, I can’t conceive of not doing it. It is a compulsive and impulsive thing.” (p. 90, The Mercury, Dec 1997).