In Eden, Candice Fox meets the challenge of the difficult second novel. She returns to the characters she created in Hades and manages, successfully, to give them deeper, fuller lives. The story continues to follow the lives of Detective Frank Bennett and his partner Eden Archer, two damaged cops, both socially remote; both emotionally wrought. The narrative combines and balances a cold case and a current investigation as the two police officers push and sometimes exceed the law in order to achieve justice. Eden considerably broadens the scope of the first novel and leaves an intriguing, dangling plot thread to be picked up in the next instalment.
Jock Serong’s “Quota” is a deeply satisfying read. Set in a fictional small Victorian coastal town, a strong sense of location pervade the novel, and a mixed-media approach to the narration, told through press reports, legal transcripts and first person, gives the reader a variety of perspectives through which to view unfolding events. The writing is often beautiful, though words are rarely wasted, and the plot builds steadily with great insight into human nature, and a sensitive drawing out of the gulf between law and justice. There is a humaneness about Serong’s depiction of his characters that raises them above what could be mere stereotypes of big city lawyers and insular small-town fisherfolk. Character, setting and plot all make this book compelling reading and a genuine class act.
In this utterly compelling book, Helen Garner tells the story of Robert Farquharson, convicted of deliberately driving his three young sons to their death, into a dam on Father’s Day 2005. Garner attends Farquharson’s trial hoping to make sense of the senseless crime. She becomes, in essence, the every-person observer and tries to bring some humanity into the walls of the cold courtroom. Garner presents the drama of the courtroom alongside the very real suffering of those who loved and lost three little boys. Her account is beautifully written and as captivating as if the reader were sitting beside her, watching the tragedy unfold.