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.”

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

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: 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: Good Money – J M Green

What a wonderful discovery  – JM Green I cant wait for your next book!

Cover Good Money J M Green

Good Money

J M Green

Scribe

ISBN: 9781925106923

Description:

Introducing Stella Hardy, a wisecracking social worker with a thirst for social justice, good laksa, and alcohol.

Stella’s phone rings. A young African boy, the son of one of her clients, has been murdered in a dingy back alley. Stella, in her forties and running low on empathy, heads into the night to comfort the grieving mother. But when she gets there, she makes a discovery that has the potential to uncover something terrible from her past — something she thought she’d gotten away with.

Then Stella’s neighbour Tania mysteriously vanishes. When Stella learns that Tania is the heir to a billion-dollar mining empire, Stella realises her glamorous young friend might have had more up her sleeve than just a perfectly toned arm. Who is behind her disappearance?

Enlisting the help of her friend, Senior Constable Phuong Nguyen, Stella’s investigation draws her further and further into a dark world of drug dealers, sociopaths, and killers, such as the enigmatic Mr Funsail, whose name makes even hardened criminals run for cover.

One thing is clear: Stella needs to find answers fast — before the people she’s looking for find her instead.

Set in the bustling, multicultural innerwest of Melbourne, Good Money reveals a daring and exciting new voice in Australian crime fiction.

 

 

My View:

What a wonderful discovery – JM Green I can’t wait for your next book!

 

What a fantastic new voice in Australian crime fiction! I loved every word written on these pages – the self-deprecating and often dark humour that is characteristically Australian, the colloquial language, and the locations – recognisable city scapes – multicultural Australia

(But really could be almost anywhere these days), the honesty and the friendships and of course, the great engaging narrative.

 

This is crime fiction at its most human level – a narrative that clearly shows the effect of acts of crime on the victims, families of the victims, the cops and the social workers. Corruption, drug use, gangs, prejudice, structural misogyny…all are highlighted in this work – but please don’t misunderstand me – this book is a joy to read (aside from the murders which are naturally, sad), the characters are so natural, the language, discussions, conversations so fresh and real, the relationships credible; everyday lives exposed but this is not an “ordinary” life, nor an “ordinary” narrative, at times it is fun, at times sad, bleak and grim and even romantic, occasionally optimistic and always with a thread of tension that pulls the narrative together tautly.

 

I really loved the protagonist, Stella Hardy and can’t wait to hear more of her adventures.

 

 

Post Script: Waterfront – Duncan McNab

Cover Waterfront

Waterfront

Duncan McNab

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733632518

 

Description:

The colourful and exciting story of the larger-than-life characters who have populated Australia’s docks, wharves and ports from the First Fleet to today – and the crime, violence and corruption that has always been present.

 

Ever since the First Fleet dropped anchor, Australia’s ports have been our opening to the world. They are also the breeding ground for many of Australia’s most notorious criminals, and a magnet for local and overseas criminal syndicates. WATERFRONT is the story of the crimes, the politics, the characters and the corruption in our nation’s ports.

 

From the time of Phillip and Bligh to today, from the gold rushes to modern-day drug smuggling, a criminal element has always found ways to profit from the rise and dominance of waterfront unions. After a century of Royal Commissions, reports, denials and crackdowns, crime and wrongdoing in Australia’s ports remains organised, entrenched and incredibly profitable.

 

Investigative journalist and former police detective Duncan McNab lifts the lid on the intriguing and chequered history of Australia’s waterfront.

 

 

My View:

Waterfront is an epic feat of research and writing that has surprised and confronted my somewhat romantic view of the history of the arrival of the First Fleet in Australia and life on the waterfront in general from then on. Before I go any further let me clarify what I mean when I say romantic view, I thought I was aware of the hardships and some of the challenges that the settlers of the First Fleet encountered – I had no idea of the reality as disclosed by McNab. My understanding of this period of history seems to have been somewhat simplified and whitewashed.

 

These were incredibly tough times, I cannot imagine how any one survived or even thrived in this environment, but some did and it is now evident to me hard work and dedication were not the only ingredients for success; manipulation, corruption, theft, coercion…lead the way. My eyes are now wide open. And so the story of corruption on the waterfront begins…

 

An intriguing look into the history, politics and the notorious larger than life individuals and members of organized crime gangs who have made the waterfront their own. McNab strikes a chord with me when he says in his final chapter “We’ve invested more time, effort and money in stopping boats full of people rather than gathering intelligence on, and penetrating the organised crime syndicates bringing in drugs like ice – labelled by the prime minister when announcing the task force as ‘a dreadful scourge’ and going on to state that ‘massive quantities of this pernicious and evil drug are coming into our country all the time.” (p.320) Well reported McNab.

 

 

 

 

Post Script: The Defence – Steve Cavanagh

Cover The Defence Steve Cavanagh

The Defence

Steve Cavanagh

Hachette Australia

Orion Books

ISBN: 9781409152309

 

Description:

The truth has no place in a courtroom. The truth doesn’t matter in a trial.

The only thing that matters is what the prosecution can prove.

Eddie Flynn used to be a con artist. Then he became a lawyer. Turned out the two weren’t that different.

It’s been over a year since Eddie vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter Amy.

Eddie only has 48 hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial – and win – if wants to save his daughter.

Under the scrutiny of the media and the FBI, Eddie must use his razor-sharp wit and every con-artist trick in the book to defend his ‘client’ and ensure Amy’s safety. With the timer on his back ticking away, can Eddie convince the jury of the impossible?

Lose this case and he loses everything.

 

My View:

Hang up your disbelief on the rack by the door, show me your membership to the thriller enthusiasts club and then take a few calming deep breaths; commence reading. But before you start I have a duty of care to warn you, take heed of my advice, it is not given lightly; this book will thrill, captivate and enthral you. Clear your diary because once you start reading this you will not be able to put this down until the last page is turned and whilst you have your diary out please make an urgent booking for the physio or chiropractor or naturopath of your choice because after you have finished reading this your neck muscles will be so tense you will need a therapeutic massage to ease the pain! Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Post Script: Once Upon A Time In Melbourne – Liam Houlihan

 

Once Upon a Time in Melbourne

Liam Houlihan

Melbourne University Publishing

MUP

ISBN: 9780522862331

 

Description:

Dirty Cops, Lying Politicians, Vampire Gigolos . . . An Unbelievable True Story

Once upon a time in Melbourne there was a gigolo who thought he was a vampire. He bit the tongue off a prostitute and was then murdered in broad daylight on a suburban street. His execution, top brass believed, was organised by police. The aftershocks of this killing—and the murder of a state witness and his wife inside their fortress

home—rocked the police force and the Parliament, vanquished one government and brought the next to its knees.

This is the story of police corruption for years swept under the carpet to avoid a Royal Commission. It is the story of a police force politicised to the point of paralysis and a witness protection program that buries its mistakes. It involves a policeman still free and living in a very big house, a drug baron who survived the gangland war only to be murdered in the state’s most secure jail, and battles royale within a police force comprised of thousands of pistol-packing members.

This is the story of Melbourne around the first decade of the new millennium: its lawmen, villains and politicians. It is a bizarre, tawdry, unbelievable tale. But every word of it happened.

 

Liam Houlihan is an award-winning journalist and former lawyer. He has reported from New York, Washington DC, from Sri Lanka after the tsunami, and Singapore for underworld figure Mick Gatto’s pursuit of missing Opes Prime money. He was the Sunday Herald Sun’s crime reporter for five years from 2007 until 2011 during the rise and fall of police chiefs Christine Nixon and Simon Overland. He is currently a News Editor at the Herald Sun. This is his fourth book.

 

 

My View:

Liam Houlihan writes a narrative that for the uninitiated in Melbourne politics, crime and corruption seems quite bizarre and utterly mind boggling – how could such events take place? I can appreciate now why a TV drama series based on these actions was such a huge success – whilst the TV series had an element of romanticism (is that the correct description – criminals often portrayed in a romantic light; affable, charming, rich… living a decadent lifestyle with a honour code of their own) the crooks in this tale are neither romantic or charming; they were greedy, arrogant, egotistical and thoroughly unlikeable – and sadly most but not all of these criminals were corrupt government officials and serving police officers. I could not read this tale without continually shaking my head in disbelief. This is a case where fact is stranger than fiction.

 

I found the style of presenting these accounts to be a little confusing at times, maybe it was my own lack of understanding of the events that made it difficult for me to piece this puzzle together though it did come together in the end. Aside from the almost unbelievable revelations the narrative exposed, a tale I found incredible, I loved the language of this book; a colloquial, no nonsense approach, I can see the author smiling as he wrote this. I will share a few gems with you; “…Brumby got out the mats and did his backflip. It was no ordinary backflip. It was a triple-pike-half in-half-out-with-full-twist-backflip- through gritted teeth.” Later Houlihan describes a detective on the stand as “…a bulky man with a touch of the latter day Elvis about him.” These descriptions make perfect sense to meJ and there are so many more gems like this to be found in this otherwise serious read. This book is a revelation, I don’t think I will ever look at a politician or a cop in the same way again.