Review: Dead Heat- Peter Cotton

Dead Heat by Peter Cotton

Dead Heat

Peter Cotton

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781925713428

 

Description:

Detective Darren Glass is back, and the stakes are higher than ever.

 

When the battered body of a young Aboriginal woman washes up onto a beach at Jervis Bay, Australian Federal Police Detective Darren Glass is brought in from Canberra to investigate. Glass quickly ties the murder to the disappearance of a sailor from the nearby naval base, and is forced to partner up with a senior intelligence officer from the Royal Australian Navy.

 

Together they follow the trail of evidence to the red heart of Australia, where a confrontation with outlaw bikies and Aboriginal activists proves deadly. As the body count mounts and foreign links emerge, the conspiracy at the heart of the case becomes a threat to Australia’s national security, as well as regional peace.

 

My View:

The first thing that entered my head as I started reading this was ‘hard boiled’, a genre that often features the rogue investigator/cop who follows hunches, has “ street smarts” , reads people/mannerisms, has a narrative centred around “who done it”…protagonist is usually tough and cynical. https://prezi.com/2jnhpikppc5y/hard-boiled-and-classic-detectives/  Does this sound like AFP detective Darren Glass?  It did to me.

Gritty, violent, action packed; conspiracy theories abound.  Drones, high tech equipment’s, politics, outlaw bikie groups, land rights, this is a very modern take on the “hard boiled” theme. An explosive read.

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Review: Retribution – Richard Anderson

Retribution

Richard Anderson

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781925713404

 

Description:

A rural-crime novel about finding out how to survive and surviving what you find.

 

In a small country town, an act of revenge causes five lives to collide. Early one Christmas morning, Graeme Sweetapple, a man down on his luck, is heading home with a truck full of stolen steers when he comes across an upended ute that has hit a tree. He is about to get involved with Luke, an environmental protestor who isn’t what he seems; a washed-up local politician, Caroline Statham, who is searching for a sense of purpose, but whose businessman husband seems to be sliding into corruption; and Carson, who is wild, bound to no one, and determined to escape her circumstances.

 

Into their midst comes Retribution, a legendary horse worth a fortune. Her disappearance triggers a cycle of violence and retaliation that threatens the whole community. As tensions build, they must answer one question: is true retribution ever possible — or even desirable?

 

 

My View:

A gripping page turner that will make you gasp at the injustice (there are a few but one really, really nasty and evil one that will have you groaning in despair, no spoilers here) and then there is triumph!  You will cheer on the protagonists and celebrate their victories when “something worthwhile and more than an act of simple vengeance” p.311 leaves a smile on your face as you pump your fist in the air. YES!!!!

 

I did enjoy this read!

 

Another author to add to your must read list.

 

 

Review – Mr Ordinary Goes to Jail – Wil Patterson

Mr Ordinary Goes to Jail by Wil Paterson cover art

Mr Ordinary Goes to Jail

Wil Patterson

Finch Publishing

ISBN: 9780648226741

 

Description:

‘Wil’s honesty really had me gripped and his description of his first night in jail is something I won’t forget.’ – Emily Webb, crime author and podcast host of ‘Australian True Crime’.

 

Wil Patterson was your everyday working husband and father, trying to keep up with the latest car, house and toys for his family. Always one to make light of things, he nevertheless became increasingly desperate about how he was going to pay his bills. One day while at work at his insurance job, he came across a large cheque that was addressed to someone who shared his name. The temptation was too great and soon enough Wil found himself down at the bank. After swearing to himself, ‘never again’, it wasn’t too long before a similar situation arose and Wil could not resist.

 

Well, no crime goes unpunished and Wil was eventually caught and charged and, to his horror, sentenced to 3 years’ prison time. Mr Ordinary Goes to Jail is Wil’s account of his time in a contemporary Victorian prison, the unusual characters he met, the often hilarious and terrifying situations he found himself in, and the ways in which he comes to terms with his past and forges a new future.

 

This is for anybody who has ever wondered, ‘What is it really like inside?’ or ever speculated how they might cope if they were in the same situation. It also details the reactions of Wil’s family and friends and examines the steps Wil had to take to be accepted back into his family and society.

 

 

My View:

One upon a time, many years and career changes a go, I had a part time job – social worker for visits time at a low security prison. I was filled with the same trepidation that Will experienced for his first night at prison.  I knew no-one else at the prison, I didn’t know how any of the prison systems worked (I had assumed I would have a meeting with someone on staff before I started work but that didn’t happen). I was a little concerned. The stereotypes of prisoners in crime fiction and film and TV shows were almost enough to put me off- but I was studying and thought I wanted this experience on my resume.

 

So Sunday – visits are generally on a Sunday, I made my way to the local prison. I didn’t even know how to enter the place and consequently drove down a road I shouldn’t have and was quickly escorted to the main entrance by a patrol of guards.

 

My concerns must have been obvious – one of the guards on duty that day took me to one side and said “They (prisoners) are just ordinary people. Think of the street you live in – you don’t know anything about those people, they could have a record…treat inmates like people.” But then suggested a few sensible precautions… and with that piece of worldly advice I started work, mostly I assisted prison visitors to fill out forms and allay their fears (most hadn’t been in a prison before either and shared many of my concerns) – a calm visitor makes for a good visit day.

 

I didn’t work there very long but that’s another story.

 

So I understood a little of Wil’s trepidation. It’s about expectations. And hoping most of them don’t come true.

 

I enjoyed this honest, creative memoir /coming of age/humorous (mostly) reflection on Wil’s time in jail. He highlights some flaws in the judicial system, reflects on his own past, his crime and accepts responsibility for his actions.  He doesn’t allow himself to be defined by the actions that landed him in jail. I am pleased he has found a way to reconnect with his family and start a meaningful life.

 

 

 

 

Review – The Other Wife – Michael Robotham

The Other Wife by Michael Robotham cover art

The Other Wife (Joseph O’Loughlin #9)

Michael Robotham

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733637933

 

Description:

A secret wife. A secret life. A killer who knows.

 

Childhood sweethearts William and Mary have been married for sixty years. William is a celebrated surgeon, Mary a devoted wife. Both have a strong sense of right and wrong.

This is what their son, Joe O’Loughlin, has always believed. But when Joe is summoned to the hospital with news that his father has been brutally attacked, his world is turned upside down. Who is the strange woman crying at William’s bedside, covered in his blood – a friend, a mistress, a fantasist or a killer?

Against the advice of the police, Joe launches his own investigation. As he learns more, he discovers sides to his father he never knew – and is forcibly reminded that the truth comes at a price.

 

Fresh from the highest selling book of his career, The Secrets She Keeps, multi-million-copy bestselling author Michael Robotham returns to his beloved Joe O’Loughlin series in this compelling psychological thriller that delves into the consequences of a tragedy, exposing a lifetime of shocking cover-up that is too close to home for the famous psychologist.

 

 

My View:

I love the Joe O’Loughlin series – I am invested in the main characters, their stories and the crimes they solve.  This episode centres on Joe and his family as suspects, victims and villains, what a read! And despite this book being number nine in the series it can just as easily be read as a standalone for those who are catching up with this series and author.

 

My enjoyment of this read was enhanced when I recently saw Michael Robotham at our local Readers and Writers Festival – what a great natural story teller he is.

 

 

 

Review: Return to Roseglen – Helene Young

Return to Roseglen by Helen Young cover art

Return to Roseglen

Helene Young

Penguin Random House Australia

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143787747

 

Description:

At times like these families should be coming together, not tearing each other apart.

 

On her remote North Queensland cattle station, Ivy Dunmore is facing the end of her days. Increasingly frail, all she holds dear is threatened not just by crippling drought, but by jealousy and greed – and that’s from within her own family.

 

Can Felicity, who’s battling her own crisis as her fiftieth birthday approaches, protect her mother and reunite her family under the homestead’s faded iron roof? Or will sibling rivalries erupt and long-held secrets from the past break a family in crisis?

 

 

My View:

This is probably the best contemporary read of the year!  It resonated in some many places.  Intelligent. Brilliant.

 

Families… (Do you hear me sigh?) We may wish for the shiny, happy, well-adjusted family circle that we see on television or in the movies but it’s often not what we get. Families are made up of individuals – with flaws and traits that are unique to themselves, with their own struggles, aspirations, weaknesses and strengths.  Create a situation where all those unique individuals come together to address a family crisis or two and what do you have?  Return to Roseglen.

 

This intelligent novel has glorious remote Australian settings, well developed characters – some you will immediately love, some you will grow to love and some you would cross the road to avoid.  Sound like a family to you? It does to me J

 

 

This novel has so much to offer; Helene Young has incorporated many contemporary social issues in this read without the narrative shouting “Lessons here for all.”  This is life. The narrative is honest. I am sure this journey will resonate with so many readers, it certainly did for me.

 

My only problem with this read – it finished far too quickly, I was invested in this family and wanted more.

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: The Escape Room – Megan Goldin

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin cover art

The Escape Room

Megan Goldin

Penguin

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143785477

 

Description:

‘Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.’

 

In the lucrative world of Wall Street finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie and Sam are the ultimate high-flyers. Ruthlessly ambitious, they make billion-dollar deals and live lives of outrageous luxury. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to get ahead.

 

When the four of them become trapped in an elevator escape room, things start to go horribly wrong. They have to put aside their fierce office rivalries and work together to solve the clues that will release them. But in the confines of the elevator the dark secrets of their team are laid bare. They are made to answer for profiting from a workplace where deception, intimidation and sexual harassment thrive.

 

Tempers fray and the escape room’s clues turn more and more ominous, leaving the four of them dangling on the precipice of disaster. If they want to survive, they’ll have to solve one final puzzle: which one of them is a killer?

 

‘Fantastic – one of my favorite books of the year.’ Lee Child

 

 

My View:

With a terrific opening hook – the prologue reveals gun shots and a river of blood as the elevator opens its doors – now to find out how/who did it and why because this is a book where the why is so very important and the who will surprise you.

 

Megan Goldin excels once again with her second novel, The Escape Room, a psychological mystery told in alternating chapters; the elevator with the unravelling psyches of those who are trapped, and the protagonist, Sara Hall’s story. An engaging and disturbing read.

 

**And look what popped up in my news feed today in https://www.perthnow.com.au 

The best tricks for surviving in a falling elevator:

 

CUSHION THE IMPACT

If you’re travelling with luggage (or anything big and bulky) the best thing to do is lay or stand on top of it.

Whether it’s a suitcase, handbag or briefcase, make sure you get on top of it to cushion the blow.

That’s because it’s possible that the items you’re on top of can break the force of impact and act like a crumple zone in a car.

 

LAY FLAT ON FLOOR

The best way to survive a falling lift is to lie flat on the elevator floor with your arms and legs spread out in a starfish shape.

This means you distribute the force of impact across your entire body and there is less chance of serious injury to one area.

You need to use the part of your body with the most fat on to cushion the blow, and try to protect your head and neck.

However, experts warn that it’s important to be aware of any shrapnel or debris which may come loose and hit you as you land.

Don’t panic — the fatality rate of using a lift is only 0.00000015 per cent or one in 650,000,000 rides, so you’d be really unlucky to find yourself in that position.

But, in the very unlikely event that you do, your best bet is to lay flat.

This story first appeared in The Sun

Post Script: The Smart Baby Cookbook – Lauren Cheney

 

SmartBabyCookbook_cover_SML

The Smart Baby Cookbook

Boost your baby’s immunity and brain development

Lauren Cheney

Murdoch Books

ISBN: 9781760631741

 

Description:

A doctor-approved and parent-tested cookbook for increasing your infant’s immunity and brain development.

 

A blueprint for your child’s nutrition and brain health

 

Doctor-approved and parent-tested, the Smart Baby Cookbook helps you give your young one a head-start for a healthy life, beginning with the best first foods, through to finger foods and family meals.

 

Including:

The science behind ‘SMART’ foods and their effects on immunity and brain function

Meal planners organised by baby’s age and stages of development, plus advice for starting solids

Easy-to-make family favourite recipes designed for maximum nutrition

Budget-friendly recipes with minimal prep and no separate cooking required

 

When chef Lauren Cheney’s baby was born with a rare immunity disorder, she threw herself into researching the best foods that could help him thrive. Drawing on advice from child health experts, she developed recipes for nutrient-packed everyday meals. Now with this empowering guide, her advice and recipes are available for families everywhere, helping to nourish the bodies and brains of the little ones we love.

 

**Lauren is launching a Smart Baby food range with a national supermarket chain.

 

My View:

The world of science and nutrition is constantly being updated and I am pleased to find this cookbook is a sensible, easy to follow narrative with recipes that have been created and tested by a real mother (and chef) for her own child –  what more could you ask for?