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.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Ahhhh Romance

For the romantics or those in love or those who  just enjoy reading about love in all its shapes and forms…a give away just for you. For your chance to win a copy of this uniquely Australian voice – in the comments tell me one of the regions this novel is based in.

the-dangers-of-truffle-huntingThe Dangers of Truffle Hunting

Sunni Overend

HarperCollins Publishers Australia

ISBN: 9781460752104

Description:

True desires will be unearthed…

A delightfully sexy story that spans the Australian wine country, the French provinces and hip inner Melbourne. Perfect for fans of Zoe Foster-Blake and Candace Bushnell, and for readers who relish fabulous food and wine.
Kit Gossard’s life is neatly mapped out. A secure photographic job. A partner ready to commit. A wedding in the family vineyard for her mother to preside over. So why the apprehension? Why a hunger for something … more?
Then someone new appears. Earthy, reserved, magnetic, this new man brings out feelings Kit has long suppressed, and suddenly she can’t contain her simmering discontent.

Black truffle hunting, illicit pastry lessons, vine fruit on flesh — Kit is seduced. It feels so right. Before it all goes wrong. Should she retreat to the predictability of life before? Or is the safe option the most perilous of all?

**This giveaway is open to Australian resident only. Many thanks to HarperCollins Publishers Australia  for generously supporting this giveaway. Entries close midnight 13th February 2017.

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Lorraine Campbell

Join me in wishing Melbourne author Lorraine Campbell a very warm welcome to my blog and to congratulate her on  the release of her latest book The Butterfly Enigma, a book I enjoyed enormously. Thanks for participating and sharing with us a little of your story Lorraine.

Lorraine Campbell

When I was a child… I absolutely loved to read. Long after lights out, I would pull the bedcovers over my head and read by torch light. All the children’s classics, Enid Blyton, Grimm’s Fairytales, Folktales of Scotland (some of which were really scary!) Then on to my brother’s bookshelf. Boy’s Own Annual – stories with titles like “Rockfist Rogan of the RAF” – and all the Biggles books. I can still name most of the fighter aircraft of WWI and WWII – from the Sopwith Camel to the Messerschmitt 109. Perhaps that’s where the seeds of writing about that time in history were sown!

 

 

Lessons I learned as a court reporter…That if you’re lucky enough to have had a normal childhood, with parents who loved you, then never cease to be grateful for that. Working in the courts, you see such terrible things. What can happen to young people who aren’t so lucky. Who suffer all forms of abuse and neglect. I always think, in another life, that could have been me.

 

 

My favourite book of 2015… is Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling.) The best by far in the series. This one is much more character driven and less weighed down by too many red herrings and unnecessary detail. As a writer of historical fiction, I also want to mention The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth. A clever blending of fact and fiction and underpinned by meticulous research. This one is a real page turner, full of action and suspense. I won’t spoil the ending – save to say it’s an absolute corker!

 

Research…is one is one of the best parts of writing historical fiction. I sometimes think I could spend my life doing research. You find yourself going down all sorts of different paths and byways, endlessly fascinated by what you’re discovering. If you want to write authentic historical fiction, you need to be familiar with every aspect of daily life. What your characters wore, what they ate, how they got around. One week you might be researching the medals and uniforms of the German Army. The next week you’re reading up on French fashions of the 1930s and those outrageous creations of Elsa Schiaparelli: gloves that ballooned out to the elbows, hats in the shape of a shoe. And then, of course, the most exciting aspect of research: travelling to all the places I was writing about. Walking in the footsteps of my characters. When I was researching Resisting the Enemy, breaking the budget and splurging on three nights at the Hotel Scribe in Paris. Chatting up the desk clerk, learning all about its history, photos of how it looked during the War. More importantly for my plot, where the exits were located. How they were accessed.

 

 

The cover of The Butterfly Enigma… is a painting that was given to me many years ago. We decided to use it because it seemed to fit the story so well. Beautiful… mysterious. Even the little hair ties look like butterflies – an image which is central to Lena’s connection with her past.

Cover The Butterfly Enigma

 

I love Melbourne because… the opera house and the theatres are always full. I love the beautiful tree-lined boulevards, the trams, the State Library with its iconic dome, the cosmopolitan foodie culture, the quirky outdoor cafés that abound in all the suburbs, the crazy weather: as one visitor said recently, it’s perfectly feasible in Melbourne to get sunstroke and hyperthermia in one day. And no matter what suburb you live in, you’re always within easy driving distance of the beach.

 

 

 

The best thing about being a writer…is being able to inhabit two different worlds. The everyday one and the parallel universe of your imagination. When you become immersed in your writing, you get lost in that alternative world and you start living it. This is where the magic happens. You become your character. Bringing a character to life is one of the most rewarding parts of being a writer.

 

 

My favourite car is… a mimosa yellow Triumph TR6 sports car, one of the last series ever made. It had a hard top, soft top, and tonneau cover. I really loved that car. I drove it for about 20 years, and it nearly broke my heart to sell it. My only consolation was that it was going to a good home – a mad Triumph and classic car enthusiast who promised to love and cherish it forever.

 

LORRAINE'S TRIUMPH TR6

A typical day for me…starts with an early morning run – in one of the local parks, or along the beach front. That’s my number one priority before I do anything else. Writing is such a sedentary occupation, and for me maintaining a fit and healthy body is an important part of the whole writing process. Then a hearty breakfast to keep me going during the day. Sometimes when I’m writing I can sit at the computer for six hours straight and suddenly realise I’ve forgotten to have lunch.

 

My next book is… just in my head. It’s all there, ideas swirling around, a couple of characters taking shape. At the moment I’m caught up with all the pre-release marketing aspects of The Butterfly Enigma. But as soon as I get some free time, I’ll be able to put words down on the page.

 

Thanks for sharing Lorraine – love the car!

 

 

Post Script: The Butterfly Enigma – Lorraine Campbell

Cover The Butterfly Enigma

The Butterfly Enigma

Lorraine Campbell

McIntosh Publishing

ISBN: 9780994338723

 

Description:

A thrilling new novel from the author of the ‘Resisting the Enemy’ series. Lena, the lost child… Found wandering the streets of wartime Paris. No-one knows her real name or where she came from. Australia in the ‘Swinging Sixties.’ Lena is working in the Melbourne Law Courts. One day in court she hears a man’s voice. A voice that sounds hauntingly familiar. A voice that chills her to the core. Is it possible that this man has something to do with her unknowable past? Lena embarks on a search for more. A newspaper story. A history. A connection. And slowly, layer by layer, the past is peeled away, revealing a picture of evil involving thousands of lives and touching on Lena’s own personal tragedy. ‘The Butterfly Enigma’ ranges from the submarine-patrolled sea lanes of the Baltic to the staid courtrooms of mid-sixties Australia, to the island of Crete, to Paris, Tel Aviv and the inner workings of the Mossad, and to Rio de Janeiro. A gripping story of one young woman’s search for her lost past. Above all, her passionate and overwhelming desire for justice and retribution.

 

 

My View:

It is very interesting how two people can read the same book so differently – a good reason to have an open mind and check out books which might not necessarily be in your favoured genre – as long as the reviews are positive. I read an online review that stated that this book is about love and romance – not my view at all!

 

I read this book as a powerful narrative about a strong women embracing the beginning of the feminist movement in Melbourne in the 1960’s – a woman who wanted to and did make decisions for herself, a woman who was comfortable in her own skin, a woman striving to be self-reliant, a positive woman and overall a very determined and pragmatic woman; I could not believe the choices she made in Rio. (No spoilers here).

 

This narrative of feminism, Melbourne in the 1960’s and one woman’s strength is but one element of this multi-dimensional story. We hear the personal stories of war time 1940’s from the viewpoints of Lena’s mother as she struggles to protect her child firstly in Latvia and later in Paris as the ethnocentric war against Jewish people begins, from the captain who provided safe passage to those escaping Latvia on his ship, from Lena’s auntie in Paris and the historical accounts of war via the records of the newspapers and courts of the time, the Berlin Document Centre, trials of war criminals and other such resources. I dare you not to be moved but these accounts.

 

The stories and voices here overlap and intertwine offering the reader a rich and vibrant narrative. I loved every word on every page; such an exquisite and engaging narrative. Love story? That is not how I read this book; a multifaceted story of feminism, war crimes, retribution, courage and strength and complex relationships. Yes there are relationships in this novel – what novel concerning people wouldn’t be complete without the interactions between characters? Maybe the word lovers as opposed to love story is more fitting here? You be the judge.

 

 

 

 

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: Springtime A Ghost Story – Michelle de Kretser

Evocative, bemusing and beguiling.

Springtime

Springtime

A Ghost Story

Michelle de Kretser

Allen and Unwin

ISBN: 9781760111212

 

Description:

A rare, beguiling and brilliant ghost story from the Miles Franklin Award winning author.

 

Picking up her pace, Frances saw a woman in the leaf-hung depths of the garden. She wore a long pink dress and a wide hat, and her skin was a creamy white. There came upon Frances a sensation that sometimes overtook her when she was looking at a painting: space was foreshortened, time stood still.

 

When Frances met Charlie at a party in Melbourne he was married with a young son.

 

Now she and Charlie live in Sydney with her rescue dog Rod and an unshakeable sense that they have tipped the world on its axis. They are still getting their bearings – of each other and of their adopted city. Everything is alien, unfamiliar, exotic: haunting, even.

 

Worlds of meaning spin out of perfectly chosen words in this rare, beguiling and brilliant ghost story by Miles Franklin Literary Award-winning writer Michelle de Kretser.

 

 

My View:

Evocative, bemusing and beguiling.

 

When you pick up this delicate and graceful short story – published in a hard back, with a jacket, with internal colour plates, printed on paper that has a decidedly decadent feel, you will get more than a few surprises.

 

Firstly the quality of this publication is exquisite and the prose compliments this; the writing (and colour plates) are beautiful and evokes memories of trips I have made to Sydney and the walks I took past many resplendent and dignified older style homes with magnificent established gardens. Next I get a sense of the author’s playfulness; in the title – which really creates confusion – if you are expecting a tale of horror and things that go bump in the night – you will have chosen the wrong book – for this is a ghost story with a difference – a gentleness and a little twist to amuse, the author has manipulated both the reader and the genre.

 

There is a playfulness in the competitive descriptions and comparisons of the two cities, Sydney and Melbourne that locals will appreciate and if you do not have local knowledge you will appreciate the internal chaos created by the unfamiliar compared to the stability of the familiar; feelings experienced when moving homes, cities, states or changing relationships or jobs.

 

This book of eighty five pages has substance and finesse. I can see the author smiling as she writes her words. I found this experience entertaining, somewhat amusing and certainly not what I was expecting – Michelle de Kretser has given me an experience created by words.

 

 

 

 

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.