Dead men don’t order flake by Sue Williams

cynthia-dead-men.jpgAn off-beat, very Australian crime novel. Cass owns a takeaway shop and is Rusty Bore’s unofficial private detective and is asked to look into a road accident that took the life of Natalie. Natalie’s father believes it was murder and not an accident. We are taken into the lives of the characters of Rusty Bore and the neighbouring rural towns as Cass looks into the accident. The story was not a smooth read but contained enough to keep me reading, with a few giggles along the way.

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Big sky by Kate Atkinson

amy-big-sky.jpgIt has been a long time since we had a Jackson Brodie book, and I am so glad he’s back. Brodie is now living in a village in Yorkshire, sharing his sullen teenage son and old labrador with his ex-partner. He saves a man from jumping off a cliff, and begins to uncover something horrific. Kate Atkinson is brilliant at character development, and I loved not only the recurring characters, but many more that she introduced in this book. The scenery is gorgeous, the aging Brodie so relatable, and the numerous mysteries intriguing and satisfying. You will get more out of it if you have read the first books in the series, I have loved them all, and found them clever, funny, and moving.

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White nights by Ann Cleeves

Amy white nightsDuring summer, in Shetland, it never gets completely dark. One bright night, a stranger appears at a gallery party, and causes a scene; in the morning he is dead. Jimmy Perez and his English counterpart, work differently in the tiny community, trying to find the murderer. Jimmy is at a different stage of life to his television version, but has the same quiet strength; such a likeable character. A detective series with engaging recurring characters, atmospheric scenery, and clever mysteries.

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Scrublands by Chris Hammer

amy-scrublands.jpgScrublands 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.

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Half Moon Lake by Kirsten Alexander

Cynthia Half Moon LakeThe reader knows the truth of the story, but it is how each of the characters deal with and treat this truth, that makes the story interesting. I had to keep reminding myself that the story is set in the 1910s and crime investigation worked so differently then. Kristen adds layers to the story, dealing with race and wealth, and how each is regarded and treated. The story is based on a real case and I was glad I read about it after reading Half Moon Lake – it would of ruined the building tension throughout the story – everything had to turn out right, didn’t it?

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Still midnight by Denise Mina

cynthia-till-midnight.jpgFirst in a series that introduces DS Alex Morrow. Alex is not on the best of terms with her work colleagues and we discover the many factors contributing to this throughout the story. Alex investigates a hostage situation that is not clear cut to solve. I found it hard to warm to the story at the beginning and found the author assumed you knew about British crime and police enforcement – having to go and find explanations to some terms.
It will be interesting to see how Alex develops through the series and how her relationships develop.

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The thirteenth tale by Diane Setterfield

Amy The Thirteenth taleI thought I would like this much more than I did. There are lots of bookish elements, and many references to Jane Eyre, and I really enjoyed the beginning, but at times I found the characters painfully unpleasant, which made those sections drag. A young woman who works in her father’s bookshop is contacted by a reclusive author, who asks her to write her biography. What follows is an over the top mystery, with a satisfying ending.

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