Scrublands is Australian rural noir, set in a fictional town in the Riverina. A year ago, a priest shot a number of men dead, and was then shot himself by the local policeman. A journalist, with his own demons, arrives to write a piece about how the town is coping, only to uncover, and become entangled, in layers of secrets. There is a great sense of place; the oppressive heat and bleak landscape mirroring the tension between the townspeople, the police and the news people. The mystery is deep and complex, the characters compelling, and the plight of the small country town in drought, utterly believable.
What would you do if you knew the world was to end in just a few months? After a short, nuclear war in the northern hemisphere, the only people left alive are down south, but radiation sickness is slowly heading towards them. Less technical than many Shute novels, this is a fascinating look at what could have happened if war broke out in the sixties, and how people might have dealt with impending death. It’s thoughtful, sweet, amusingly old-fashioned (the female characters!), and ultimately moving.
Bluebottle is a quiet, leisurely paced book about the lasting power of family ties and secrets. Charlie is a difficult man to live with; his wife and children must tiptoe around his swinging moods. Something happens one Christmas that is still affecting them twenty years later. Set on Sydney’s northern beaches, the heat, ocean and rain are palpable, as is the tension in the siblings.
The landscape of Tasmania is wonderfully described in this story, being both wild and comforting. There is mystery, friendship and love in there but the overiding message is all about the environment. While this is an important message I think it could of been handled a little more subtlety and let the story and characters shine more.
Ted’s innocence is exposed and Amanda delightfully pairs with him to solve another crime. I am enjoying the character Amanda and her canny ability to expose the underbelly of crime around Cairns. This was a good continuation of the story that began in Crimson Lake and I look forward to see which direction the next story will take me.
Reading the book after seeing and loving the film version, is one of my favourite things. The book is so slim, and very spare, so didn’t take much longer than watching the movie. It’s the story of a number of women working in a fancy Sydney department store in 1959. There’s glamour, romance, awakenings, wit, and light. It was a joy to read and to watch.
Jaxie Clackton is a teenaged boy in a small town in Western Australia. His mother died, and his father beats him badly, until one day something happens, and Jaxie finds himself on the run in the most inhospitable country, with only hope to keep him going. The Shepherd’s Hut is about survival, love, hatred, strength, kindness and meaning. It’s harsh, raw, bleak, and confronting, but beautiful and deeply moving, with the strong sense of place you expect from Tim Winton, and a character whose voice will linger long after the book has been closed.
If you are a fan of Kitty Flanagan as I am, you will love her new book! It is a collection of easy to read “true stories and ill-informed opinions” written in her distinctive relaxed and familiar style that make you laugh out loud and be very annoying to your partner trying to read a serious book alongside you in bed at night!
Chapters include Yoga Guantanamo, which is about attending a yoga ashram in order to avoid going to Easter mass, The Wishbone Chicken Shop where her love of cooking definitely did NOT come from her grandmother and The Vardy Party about children’s birthday parties in the good old days when parents used to dump their kids and run.
If you want something that is light, bright and humorous to lift your spirits then this is the book for you!
4 authors, 4 stories, 1 town. The authors have succeeded in creating a flowing story by each taking a character from the local police force and carrying the story throughout. If you love your rural romantic suspense that is heavy on the romance and even a bit spicy you will love this book.
Catching Teller Crow is a thoroughly beautiful, captivating book. It’s a detective story, a ghost story, and an uplifting book about meaning, the power of our life stories, grief, Australia’s shameful history, and strength, particularly that of Aboriginal girls and women.