The lost man by Jane Harper

Ali - The lost man

This is the third book in three years by Jane Harper, her first novel The Dry only being published in 2016.

Harper’s third murder mystery is set in South west Queensland on a large cattle station where Cam Bright , one of three brothers is found dead at a remote landmark, the stockman’s grave.

Assumed to be an accidental death by the local police,  Nathan, the brother who discovers Cam’s body, cannot make sense of Cam , successful and organised,  abandoning his fully stocked land rover, to die alone in the extreme heat.

Nathan is the eldest of the Bright brothers  and  the one who and has  been ostracised by the local community for a mistake he made  ten years before. He lives a solitary life, estranged from his wife and the relationship with his son becoming weaker as Xander approaches adulthood. His property is in deep financial debt and he struggles to run the farm without the support of  his neighbours in drought like conditions.

Nathan starts to look into Cam’s death and uncovers uncomfortable truths about his seemingly popular brother, his deceased father and  events in the past that his mother has kept quiet for many years.

This isn’t so much a murder mystery as a family drama, but not in the sense of  a soap opera, more intrigue than that! The writing is  very atmospheric and descriptive and you  can feel the sun’s heat on your neck and the hot , red dirt under your feet while you follow the Bright family to the conclusion of this story.

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Life or death by Michael Robotham

Cynthia Life of DeathAudie escapes from jail a day before he is scheduled for release – why? Audie’s story is revealed to us over the next couple of days after his escape and find out there is so much more to his story. I began to cheer him on and could not wait to find out how the story would end. This is a well-paced story that grabbed me from the beginning, right to the end.

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Reasons to stay alive by Matt Haig

amy-how-to-stay-alive.jpgI have read a number of Matt Haig’s novels, and enjoyed them very much. This is a memoir, in the main, with elements of self help. In his early twenties Matt had a major episode of depression and anxiety, and they have been with him ever since. This is his story of how he has felt, and what has helped him to stay alive, and find enjoyment in life again. It’s funny, sad, thoughtful and life affirming. The helpfulness of any book depends on the reader, of course, but as someone who doesn’t struggle with depression or anxiety, I appreciate the window into someone’s experiences with them.

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The invitation by Belinda Alexander

cynthia-the-invitation.jpgThe excess and opulence of Gilded Age New York is wonderfully described here, those with more money then sense trying to out do each other and be the person to rule New York society. But of course in that setting all is not as it seems. The evilness of Caroline is slowly revealed. But the story is more than the excesses – there is love, woman’s rights, marriage rights, slums, and art. A solid historical read with a great sense of place.

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Extinctions by Josephine Wilson

Amy ExtinctionsFour and a half stars for this moving novel about the terrible mess people can make of their lives, and the power of redemption. Fred Lothian’s wife has died, and his two, adult children are largely lost to him as he sits in his retirement village apartment, full to the brim with what is left of his life. Reluctantly, he falls in with his neighbour, Jan, and while things certainly don’t become less complicated, Fred gradually makes changes to redeem what he can. It is funny and sad, disturbing and moving, and I loved it.

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Black Swan Green by David Mitchell

amy-black-swan-green.jpgBlack Swan Green is stories from one year in the life of a thirteen year old boy, in an English village during the early 80s. It’s about the common and peculiar trials of being a thirteen year old boy, friendship, family relationships, music, politics, poetry and truth, love and loyalty. It’s funny, clever, moving, sad, joyful, and with the special delight for the regular reader of David Mitchell books, the characters from his other books. He is one of my very favourite authors.

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Moby Dick by Herman Melville

amy-moby-dick.jpgWell, that was a significant time commitment! I feel so light and free, now that I have finished it, and yet, it was a surprisingly easy burden. The endless specifics of whaling are hardly a subject I am interested in, and yet, at times, I just had to read it aloud. The story of Ishmael, Queequeg, Ahab, and his crew, is often funny as well as strange and ultimately moving. I am happy to have read this, and to never have to go whaling.

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