Book talk: Australian wilderness novels


Jeff Popple reviews three novels set in the Australian wilderness. More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog:

The Bluffs by Kyle Perry

Michael Joseph, $32.99

Kyle Perry makes an impressive entry into the Australian crime fiction arena with his debut, The Bluffs. Set in the remote wilderness of Tasmania’s Great Western Tiers, it is a richly plotted novel about the disappearance of a group of teenage girls while on a camp. Twenty-five years ago, other girls also went missing and rumours quickly arise that the legendary ‘Hungry man’ is back. Written with compelling insight into small town mentality and the power of social media, this is an atmospheric and intense thriller that quickly grabs your attention and keeps a strong hold on it until the final twist. Highly recommended.

Deadman’s Tracks by Sarah Barrie

HQ Fiction, $29.99

Also set in Tasmania is Sarah Barrie’s Deadman’s Track. Scarred by a recent tragedy on Federation Peak, wilderness guide Tess Atherton is reluctant to lead a group of young hikers on a dangerous winter trek, but events in Hobart convince her to take it on. However, she does not realise that the dangers from the city have accompanied them on the trek and that someone is stalking them. This latest instalment in Sarah’s series about the Atherton family has a good multi-strand plot that comes together in an exciting climax. Brisk pacing, likeable characters and a dash of romance makes this an entertaining read.

Croc Country by Kerry McGinnis

Michael Joseph, $32.99

Set at the other end of Australia is Croc Country, by popular rural author Kerry McGinnis. Following the death of her husband and young daughter at sea, Tilly Hillyer is making a new life for herself at an isolated wildlife sanctuary in the Gulf Country. Caring for the rangers and injured wildlife helps her forget the horrors of her past, until the police turn up asking questions about her late husband. Suddenly she finds herself battling wildlife smugglers and trying to resist the charms of an attractive botanist. A good mix of romantic suspense and evocative outback descriptions.

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