Jeff Popple reviews three new crime novels from around the world. More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog: murdermayhemandlongdogs.com
The Kissing House by Michael Pert
Sid Harta, $29.95
Canberra author Michael Pert makes an enterprising entry into the international thriller stakes with The Kissing House. Set primarily in East Timor in 2001, it is a well-paced spy novel with an evocative setting, interesting insights into the East Timor conflict and an engaging plot. Pert, a former military and intelligence officer, brings a nice sense of authenticity and credible descriptions of tradecraft to his story about an Australian intelligence officer in pursuit of a brutal militia leader. The action is well choreographed, and the ending is satisfyingly tough. I look forward to his next thriller.
Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan
Raven Books, $29.99
Eva Dolan has developed a strong reputation for writing big, complex police novels that tackle pressing social issues in modern Britain. In Between Two Evils, the fifth book in her series about Peterborough police detectives DI Dushan Zigic and DS Mel Ferreira, Dolan turns her attention to the treatment of immigrants in Britain and the run up to the Brexit election. She also takes a sharp look at domestic violence as the detectives deal with murder and a serial rapist who has been released from prison on a technicality. This well-written crime novel will hold your interest all the way to the unexpected conclusion.
The Janes by Louisa Luna
In Louisa Luna’s second novel about San Diego private eye Alice Vega, she takes her feisty detective down some very mean streets as she tries to identify who killed two young immigrant women. The authorities fear that a human trafficking ring is responsible for the deaths of the unidentified Jane Does and, as Alice tries to track down the perpetrators, she comes up against some powerful enemies. This is a gritty, pacey novel with a relentless and engaging central character and a strong social consciousness at its core. Reminiscent of the early V.I. Warshawski novels, but with more energy, this is a compelling read.
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