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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The stranger by Kate Riordan

Cynthia The StrangerThree women are sent to Penhallow during the war with the Land Army, each with pasts full of secrets. A woman is found dead on the beach. We are then taken back in time, to six weeks before and find out what has happened and who the dead woman is. I was easily sucked into the story and the lives of those at Penhallow, and all too soon the story was finished – a good weekend read.

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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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Unforgotten. Series 2

Amy Unforgotten2This is a brilliant British crime show, set in London and surrounds. It starts with the discovery of a body, long dead, and introduces a series of seemingly unconnected characters and the police. As the series goes on, connections become clear, and finally the murder is solved. Like most British crime shows, I spend a lot of it identifying actors from other shows (It’s Ruth from Spooks! It’s Mrs Plornish from Little Dorrit!). The detectives are very endearing, and the mystery is clever and compelling; it’s a great show.

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The likeness by Tana French

Amy The LikenessDetective Cassie Maddox was the partner of the main character in the first book of the series, and now she has transferred out of the Murder Squad, and is dealing with the fallout of their last case. She has an opportunity to go undercover in a household of post-grad students from Trinity College, to help solve the murder of a girl who was using her old undercover identity. It’s a beguiling life she falls into, and it makes her question so much about her life. The mystery is compelling, the characters enchanting and frightening, and the resolution packs an emotional punch.

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Dead secret by Catherine Deveney

cynthia-dead-secret.jpgThe story is told through Rebecca during the week after her Da’s death. We find out that the family had lots of secrets, one of them about the death of her mother years earlier. I loved the way the story is told through Rebecca’s diary like telling, it’s more than a simple mystery to be solved. I was involved with the story from the beginning and had to keep reading to find out the ending, and though it was not the ending I expected with everything neatly tied up, I enjoyed the story very much.

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