Post Script: Too Easy – J.M.Green

#TooEasy

Too Easy

J M Green

Scribe

ISBN: 9781925322026

 

Description:

Wisecracking social worker Stella Hardy returns, and this time she’s battling outlaw bikie gangs, corrupt cops, and a powerful hunger for pani puri.

 

On a stormy Halloween night, Stella gets a call from her best friend, Detective Phuong Nguyen. Phuong has a problem. Or rather her lover, Bruce Copeland, does.

 

Copeland has been implicated in a police-corruption scandal, and the only person who can help prove his innocence has disappeared. The missing man is Isaac Mortimer, a drug dealer associated with the notorious motorcycle gang The Corpse Flowers. Reluctantly, Stella offers to help track him down — and it isn’t long before she is way in over her head: evading bikies, drinking tea with drug dealers, and, worst of all, hanging out in the Macca’s carpark with a bunch of smart-alec teenagers.

 

Then, when Stella discovers that local street kids are being groomed for some sinister purpose — and that a psychopath with bust face tattooed across his knuckles is pursuing her — she realises she has her work cut out for her.

 

Sounds easy? Too easy.

 

 

My View:

What an outstanding read! This is my favourite Australian work of crime fiction this year – the dark humour, the flawed, complex, relatable characters are a joy to read, the Australian landscapes – political, physical and social are so relevant and the narrative is compulsive reading – EXCELLENT!!!

 

Stella is the social conscience of contemporary Australians. This is astute and wickedly funny writing, deliciously enthralling. Five stars does not do this book justice!

 

 

 “I pulled over to use the GPS on my phone trying to figure out where I’d gone wrong. If only I could do the same with my life.”

 

Darkness and I split the bills, had a roster for the dishes. It seemed to work. I didn’t pretend to be a good person.”

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Sleeping in the Ground – Peter Robinson

Sleeping in the Ground

Sleeping in the Ground

DCI Banks #24

Peter Robinson

Hachette Australia

Hodder & Stoughton

ISBN: 9781444786927

 

Description:

The thrilling twenty-fourth instalment in Peter Robinson’s Number One bestselling Banks Series.

A shocking mass murder occurs at a wedding in a small Dales church and a huge manhunt follows. Eventually, the shooter is run to ground and things take their inevitable course.

But Banks is plagued with doubts as to exactly what happened outside the church that day, and why. Struggling with the death of his first serious girlfriend and the return of profiler Jenny Fuller into his life, Banks feels the need to dig deeper into the murders, and as he does so, he uncovers forensic and psychological puzzles that lead him to the past secrets that might just provide the answers he is looking for.

When the surprising truth becomes clear, it is almost too late.

 

My View:

I applaud Peter Robinson on his opening chapter – he has managed to put humanness, individuals, people… back into the narrative of mass murders, thrill/spree killings. Too often we view the landscape with the lens of a camera – we “see” reporting’s, documenting of such real life atrocities without emotion, as if the deaths and maiming are without consequence, without pain or effect on others.  “If the incident was a scene in a film, it would have looked beautiful. The violence would have taken place in elegantly choreographed silence and slow motion…but the way Terry Gilchrist saw it – and he was there –it was as swift as it was brutal…a crack…a dull thud, then a patch of blood spread over the bride’s chest. Her body arched… blood soaked white chiffon and lace, her mouth open, the scream forever struck in her throat…it was all finished in less than a minute. One of the fallen guests was moaning with pain. Nearby, a bridesmaid sat propped up against a gravestone crying, her hands pressed to her bloody midriff where something wet and shiny rested in her lap…” chapter 1

The introduction is bloody, brutal and honest. You cannot help but be affected by the sufferings here. Consequences are felt.

But don’t be put off by the graphic violence in this chapter – it serves it purpose well – it reminds us that people are suffering, it connects the reader with the brutal event and the survivors and the first chapter is the only truly gruesome scene in the book.  We read on to discover the motivation of the villain, we discover the long reaching effects of the crime, the effects on those attending the wedding – injured or not and the effects on those who have to deal with these types of situations – the medics, doctors, police… It is a shocking reminder that these type of events happen to real people, not to two dimensional characters on a screen.

 

Further the plot is nuanced with Banks’s personal experience of death and mourning (of a once close friend) as he reflects on life, death and love. Consequences of actions/reactions to events in the past are also explored in a meaningful way. This is a multi-layered narrative.

This is the twenty-fourth book in the DCI Banks series but it can easily be read as a standalone. The events that explode on the opening pages are familiar to all, the unravelling of the crime is an engaging and compelling reading.

Post Script: The Late Show – Michael Connelly

The Late Show

The Late Show

Michael Connelly

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760630782

 

Description:

A pulse-pounding thriller, introducing a driven, young detective trying to prove herself in the LAPD.

 

Los Angeles can be a dangerous city – never more so than in the dead of night.

 

Renee Ballard works the night shift at the LAPD in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

 

But one night she catches two cases she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night.

 

As the cases entwine, they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job – no matter what the department throws at her.

 

 

My View:

Michael Connelly can do no wrong! This is a brilliant introduction to a new protagonist Renee Ballard and I look forward to reading many more in this series.  I don’t know how Michael Connelly does this – producing consistently great writing, producing wonderfully detailed police procedurals that reveal themselves like a film in your mind’s eye.

 

Renee Ballard’s narrative – of harassment, bullying and battling the “boys club” is credible and one experienced by many many women in all walks of life. However Ballard will not be defeated – she remains strong, forthright and dedicated to her work. It is no surprise that Ballard is heading for a show down with a particular suspect – that is a given, but when it happens – BOOM! I was totally taken by surprise. Perfect tactics Michael Connelly.  Loved this read.

 

Post Script: The Student – Iain Ryan

It must be the great writing!  

The Student

The Student

Iain Ryan

Bonnier Publishing Australia

Echo

ISBN: 9781760406370

 

Description:

Do bad people look like good people, like friends and brothers and boyfriends and students, until they have their hands around your throat?

 

Gatton, Queensland. 1994. Nate is a student, dealing weed on the side. A girl called Maya Kibby is dead. No one knows who killed her. Nate needs to refresh his supply, but Jesse, his friend and dealer, is missing. Nate is high. He is alone. Being hunted for the suitcase he’s found and haunted by its contents. And as things turn from bad to worse, Nate uncovers far more than he bargained for.

 

The Student is high-paced, hardboiled regional noir: fresh, gritty, unnerving, with a stark and lonely beauty.

 

‘A terrific neo-noir from an exciting new voice in Australian crime fiction’ – Adrian McKinty

 

‘The Student takes the campus novel and mines within it a dark seam of violence, deception and suspense in prose that burns with a fierce propulsion’ – David Whish-Wilson

 

 

Description:

It must be the great writing!  

 

My expectations of this book were not met. I did not like any of the characters – not one. I did not like the settings or the behaviours;   so much impulsive, self-gratifying, drug fuelled behaviour – and when I say drug fuelled, read that as over the top liberal drug use (and I do hope this is not a realistic portraying of University life in the 1990’s) and did I say drug use and then there was the sex scenes and the violence – sometimes simultaneously … this is a very dark, gritty narrative and not for me, and I usually love dark and gritty. Yet contrarily there was something about this writing that kept me turning pages!

 

Am I in the wrong demographic for reading this – maybe, probably? Yet I still turned the pages – it was a compulsive and compelling read. Hats off to the author for such engaging writing. This is irresistible dark prose.

 

 

 

The Student

Post Script: Fatal Mistake – Karen M Davis

Fatal Mistake

Fatal Mistake

Lexie Rogers #3

Karen M. Davis

Simon& Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925368321

 

Description:

Detective Lexie Rogers is tough, smart and at the top of her game. She’s seen it all, from bikies, blood and betrayal to drugs, deviants and deception … and the violent knife attack that almost killed her as a young cop on the beat.

 

Lexie’s sent on the job of a lifetime — to go deep undercover, as beautiful Lara Wild, a drug distributor, to expose a huge dealing ring among Sydney’s most treacherous criminals. What she discovers is that being undercover is the safest place to be, especially when you’re a cop with target on your head, but one false move means she’ll die. And creeping from the shadows is the darkness of her past, something she can never outrun.

 

Lexie knows she can’t trust anyone — but the trouble is, she’s not even sure if she can trust herself.

 

 

My View:

Karen M Davis writes with authenticity that only an ex police officer and undercover agent could! “Karen Davis was a New South Wales police officer for twenty years. Starting her career on the streets of Newtown, she then moved on to work as a detective and undercover operative in a variety of sections, all of which specialised in the investigation of organised crime.” https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7082717.Karen_M_Davis

 

Instalment three in the Lexie Rogers series is exciting, fast paced and so so readable! The settings are vivid – I can picture the nightclubs, the bouncers, the crooks and Lexie and her dyed hair and coloured contacts. The main characters are familiar and feel like old friends and I enjoyed the thread that wove police corruption into the mix – and what a mix – there is so much happening in the novel.

 

This is a read in one sitting kind of book. Book out your diary and sit back and enjoy – there are some lovely plot resolutions in this instalment. I wonder what’s next for Lexie?

 

 

Post Script: Two Nights – Kathy Reichs

Loved, loved, loved this one!

Two Nights

Two Nights

Kathy Reichs

Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine

Bantam

ISBN: 9780345544070

 

Description:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs steps beyond her classic Temperance Brennan series in a new standalone thriller—featuring a smart, tough, talented heroine whose thirst for justice stems from her own dark past.

 

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .

 

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing.

 

But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

 

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found?

 

It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons—because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

 

 

My View:

Loved, loved, loved this one!

 

Staccato writing/pacing… sparse, intense, not a word wasted, I loved the pace, the style and the sublime twist. What a surprise! Though a fan of Reich’s Temperance Brennan series I think this new book might just about be my favourite from this author.  Maybe I am a little too comfortable with Bones and her cohorts, her storylines, her TV series… Two Nights is fresh, powerful and different.

 

A story of redemption, of facing your fears, of cults, of mind washing…of terror. This is a brilliant read – read with an open mind and no preconceived notions about the writing or the writer and you will enjoy this book. I hope this this is the start of a new series.

 

 

Post Script: The Birdwatcher – William Shaw

the-birdwatcher

The Birdwatcher

William Shaw

Mulholland Books

ISBN: 9780316316248

 

Description:

Police Sergeant William South has a good reason to shy away from murder investigations: he is a murderer himself.

A methodical, diligent, and exceptionally bright detective, South is an avid birdwatcher and trusted figure in his small town on the rugged Kentish coast. He also lives with the deeply buried secret that, as a child in Northern Ireland, he may have killed a man. When a fellow birdwatcher is found murdered in his remote home, South’s world flips.

 

The culprit seems to be a drifter from South’s childhood; the victim was the only person connecting South to his early crime; and a troubled, vivacious new female sergeant has been relocated from London and assigned to work with South. As our hero investigates, he must work ever-harder to keep his own connections to the victim, and his past, a secret.

The Birdwatcher is British crime fiction at its finest; a stirring portrait of flawed, vulnerable investigators; a meticulously constructed mystery; and a primal story of fear, loyalty and vengeance.

 

My View:

What a fantastic narrative. This already has a place in my top reads of 2017!  

Without spoilers – we start with a fantastic hook, a confession, that colours our expectation and perception of what we might read next in this intriguing and mesmerising narrative; South’s secret is mind blowing and the circumstances surrounding this event will fill your heart with sadness, such is the strength of the character development here that you will mourn the tragedies that are slowly revealed.

What can I add? Fantastic relatable characters – minor and main, life stories that will resonate and/ or move the reader, locations that shape the dual narratives, a brooding sense of foreboding and a poignancy that is bitter sweet. Despite the bloody crimes – in the past and the present spaces, there is an underlying optimism that permeates the narrative, tightly grasp hold of this emotion as you stagger bloodied, battered and emotionally drained towards the resolution of this narrative.