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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Ghost wall by Sarah Moss

amy-ghost-wall.jpgA short, dark tale about a group of people on an experimental archaeology exercise. There are students and a professor from a university, and a family whose father is obsessed with ancient Briton, and the environment and immersion in the time, has unintended consequences for some. It is a creepy, atmospheric, and timely story about growing up, the abuse of power, and identity.

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The spy who came in from the cold by John le Carre

Amy The Spy who came in from the coldI never knew before that this was a novel studied at school, but I can see why. It has the twists and turns, and treachery of an adventure filled spy novel, but it relentlessly dark, bleak even, and so very clever. Alec Leamas, after years of spying in Berlin, wants out, but agrees to one more assignment, which will take him into Communist Germany. It’s about how complicated politics, war, and life itself is; complicated, cruel, seemingly pointless, yet with the glimmer of light – love, kindness and what is deeply right – to strive for. I found it enthralling, powerful, and darkly beautiful.

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In the woods by Tana French

Amy in the woodsWhen he was twelve, Adam Ryan went into the local wood with his friends, and something most terrible happened. His friends were never seen again, and Adam couldn’t remember a thing. Years later, Adam is called Rob and he is on the Dublin Murder Squad when a girl is found murdered in the same wood. I really enjoyed this story about two crimes, of course, but also about friendship, childhood and the mess we can make of relationships. It has a delightful Irishness to it, and the ending isn’t too neat.

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Mockingbird songs by R.J. Ellory

Cynthia Mockingbird SongsA slow burning thriller with an undertone of menace throughout. A story of small town USA and broken families. Henry is released from prision and is asked to deliver a letter to his cell mate’s daughter. Through alternating chapters we follow Henry’s story of keeping his promise to deliver the letter and the story of Evan (his ex cell mate) and his brother Carson and what the contents of that letter may reveal. Loved this format of storytelling as the stories, secrets and carnage are exposed.

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The freedom broker by K. J. Howe

cynthia-freedom-broker.jpgThe story began well, introducing Thea and her work. There is a large cast of character to keep a track of, particularly when you were not sure whose side they were on or what was their place in the story, and I became a little lost with the story. The author was able to regain my interest towards the end of the novel as I had to find out who would survive and how the family relationships would resolve.

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