Book talk: Australian crime novels


Jeff Popple reviews three new Australian crime novels. More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog:

Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham

Hachette, $32.99

Robotham is one of our best crime writers and his books have deservedly enjoyed worldwide acclaim. He is probably best known for his popular series about London clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin, but in his latest book he brings another psychologist to the fore. Cyrus Haven is asked by a colleague to assess a young woman who as a child was the survivor of a brutal crime. At the same time, he is helping the police track down the killer of a teenage girl. As both cases escalate, the flawed Haven comes under pressure and finds himself in danger. Great characters and fine writing lift this above the usual crime fare.

Shoot Through by J. M. Green

Scribe, $29.99

Shoot Throughis the third novel in Green’s accomplished series about wisecracking Melbourne social worker Stella Hardy, who also has a knack for solving crimes. Wishing for a romantic retreat with her boyfriend, Stella instead finds herself investigating the suspicious death of a prisoner at a rural prison farm. Pressured by crooked politicians and crooks, Stella must keep her wits about her as she rushes to solve the killing, and sort out some mounting personal crises, while keeping one step ahead of a murderous mercenary. Very enjoyable, with a great cast of characters and some nice twists.

State Of Fear by Tim Ayliffe

Simon & Schuster, $29.99

Tim Ayliffe has followed up his impressive debut, The Greater Good, with another action-filled tale. More thriller than crime novel, State Of Fear follows battered Sydney journalist John Bailey as he becomes caught up in a series of terrorist attacks masterminded by Mustafa al-Baghdadi, who was Bailey’s kidnapper and torturer in Iraq many years ago. The story rockets between acts of violence in Australia and overseas, and reaches a dramatic conclusion in London. Requiring some suspension of disbelief, it is an exciting and fast-paced tale that also manages to make some telling points about the media and the politics around Australia’s security.

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