Book talk: The dark side of Coastal living

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Jeff Popple reviews three new novels about ghosts, farming and the dark side of coastal living. More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog: murdermayhemandlongdogs.com.

The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen

Bantam, $32.99

Tess Gerritsen is best known for her popular series about homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Dr Maura Isles. In her latest novel, however, she leaves her detective duo behind and heads instead into the realm of romantic suspense. Successful cookery author Ava Collette flees her Boston apartment after a tragic event and heads to a coastal village in Maine to write her new book and forget about what happened. She rents an old, isolated seaside mansion known as Brodie’s Watch, but instead of peace she encounters a ghost and becomes involved in a modern mystery. Engaging, easy flowing and highly enjoyable.

Wearing Paper Dresses by Anne Brinsden

Macmillan, $32.99

Melbourne author Anne Brinsden makes a strong debut with her powerful novel about life on the Mallee where “droughts are as eternal … as the salt and the sand”. Urbane Elise was not meant for the harsh reality of farm life in the 1950s. Transplanted to northern Victoria when her husband returns home to work the family farm, she struggles to adjust, much to the detriment of her wild daughters as they grow up. When tragedy strikes, the youngest daughter, Marjorie, must decide where her heart truly belongs. A heart-warming and evocative tale about life on the land.

Silver by Chris Hammer

Allen & Unwin, $32.99

Canberra author, and former journalist, Chris Hammer burst onto the crime writing scene with the highly popular Scrublands set in a small, drought ravished town. In Silver he turns his eyes to the northern coast as journalist Martin Scarsden returns to his hometown of Port Silver to find his new partner accused of a brutal murder. As Martin desperately tries to clear her name, he becomes caught up in a web of corrupt land development, sex, drugs and old secrets. This bulky novel has lots of detail and good, unexpected twists and is a fulsome spring read for those who enjoy complex crime tales with a lot of heart.

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Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts