Jeff Popple reviews three new novels by Australian authors. More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog: murdermayhemandlongdogs.com
Second Chance Lane by Nicola Marsh
Prolific and popular romance writer Nicola Marsh returns with Second Chance Lane, the follow up to last year’s Long Way Home. Set in the same rural Victorian town of Brockenridge, it follows roadhouse waitress Natasha, popular musician Kody and troubled Jane, all of whom are seeking a second chance at life and love. Nicola excels at this sort of small-town romance and she delivers another engaging mix of drama, old regrets and developing relationships. The characters are likeable and Marsh’s fondness for the rural region in which the book is set is clear on every page. A pleasant, feel-good read.
Consolation by Garry Disher
Few, if any, authors do outback crime as well as Garry Disher. The first two novels in his series about struggling South Australian rural policeman Constable Paul (Hirsch) Hirschhausen were superb and the latest entry, Consolation, is just as good. It opens with Hirsch managing a range of minor crimes, from someone stealing women’s underwear to a dispute over a tree protection order to a report of child abuse. Hirsch knows that all of these cases have the potential to escalate into something more serious, and they soon do. Well written and very entertaining, Consolation cements Disher’s place as the master of outback noir.
Shore Leave by David Whish-Wilson
Fremantle Press, $32.99
David Whish-Wilson is one of the best purveyors of gritty, hardboiled Australian crime fiction and his series about Perth detective Frank Swann in the 1980s is outstanding. Shore Leave revolves around the arrival of a US aircraft carrier at Fremantle and the resultant chaos caused by the murder of two women, apparently by a US sailor, and a plan to steal a cache of guns. Caught up in it all is Swann, who also has to deal with an escaped prisoner seeking revenge and a crooked bunch of cops from the Gold Squad. Tense and very exciting, it is a thrilling ride through the dark underbelly of 1980s Perth.