Jeff Popple reviews five great Australian books for Dad this Father’s Day! More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog: murdermayhemandlongdogs.com
When She Was Good by Michael Robotham
Those dads who like gritty crime novels will enjoy Sydney author Michael Robotham’s When She Was Good. Forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven is still trying to find out the truth about Evie Cormac’s past. Six years ago, 12-year-old Evie was found hiding in a secret room in a house in which a horrific murder had occurred. Evie claims to remember nothing, but Haven is determined to uncover what really happened. He thinks that the truth will set Evie free, whereas she knows that looking for the truth will get them killed. A gripping read that holds attention all the way to the bloody conclusion and the final twist.
Golden Daze by Sean Doherty
This is a marvellous book for dads who are into surfing and nostalgia. Doherty provides an entertaining history of Australian surfing by examining the most significant year in the careers of our top local surfers. From Isabel Letham’s introduction to surfing in 1915 to Mark Warren winning the Australian title in 1976 to Pam Burridge breaking into competitive surfing in 1979 to Mitch Fanning’s famous encounter with a shark in 2015, this book captures the highs and lows of Australian surfing. Complemented by a marvellous set of photos, this is a must for any dad who once picked up a board.
Friday on My Mind by Jeff Apter
Allen & Unwin, $29.99
Also offering plenty of nostalgia and great stories is Jeff Apter’s biography of musical legend George Young. From the wild, fun days of the trailblazing Easybeats to George’s successful collaborations with a virtual ‘who’s who’ of Australian rock music, including Rose Tattoo, AC/DC and John Paul Young, Apter skilfully chronicles the life and work of one of the great figures in Australian musical history. He also provides interesting insights into George’s fruitful three-decade partnership with Harry Vanda and the unexpected success of their Flash and the Pan collaboration. This is a great book for all Australian music buffs.
Either Side of Midnight by Benjamin Stevenson
Michael Joseph, $32.99
Benjamin Stevenson’s Greenlight was one of my favourite Australian crime novels of 2018 and his new novel, Either Side of Midnight, is almost as good. Disgraced true crime documentary maker Jack Quick is in the final days of a prison sentence, when he is approached by Harry Midford to prove that his celebrity, TV presenter, brother Sam was murdered. The only problem is that Sam was witnessed by a million viewers pulling out a gun and killing himself. Desperate for the money, Jack agrees to investigate and soon finds a mystery more complex than he first assumed. A highly entertaining read.
The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku
Hundred-year-old Eddie Jaku has a simple blueprint for a happy life: smile every day, find joy and beauty and be a friend to the world. What is astonishing about Eddie’s mantra is that for seven years he was held in a German concentration camp witnessing firsthand the horrors of the Holocaust as his family and friends were killed. For 30 years he was unable to talk about his experiences, but now he travels Australia speaking on behalf of the dead and stressing the importance of forgiveness. This simple, moving account of a remarkable life offers plenty to think about and reflect on this Father’s Day. Highly recommended.
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