Jeff Popple reviews three engrossing novels by Australian women authors. More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog: murdermayhemandlongdogs.com
Where The Truth Lies by Karina Kilmore
Simon & Schuster, $29.99
Author Karina Kilmore makes good use of her newspaper background to produce an enterprising debut novel about an investigative journalist on the trail of a major story involving corruption on the Melbourne docks. The complex, credible plot moves at a steady pace and the central character, Chrissie O’Brian, is a nice mixture of determination and fragility and, like most recent crime narrators, has a dark secret in her past and a taste for guilt-relieving vices. There are some neat twists towards the end and the authentic insider view of modern day journalism helps to ground the story.
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The Banksia Bay Beach Shack by Sandie Docker
Michael Joseph, $32.99
Past secrets and family dramas dominate in this new novel by the always entertaining Sandie Docker. When Laura heads to the sleepy seaside town of Banksia Bay to learn the truth about her grandmother’s past, she does not anticipate the web of deception she discovers. Almost 60 years ago during a summer of happiness, a terrible sequence of events occurred, which would reverberate down through the years. Alternating between the present and 1961, Sandie tells an engaging tale of secrets, lies and lost loves. There is a nice flow to the story and the 1960 detail rings true as it moves to a good climax.
Sheerwater by Leah Swann
4th Estate, $32.99
This beautifully written story about domestic abuse and the power of love opens in dramatic fashion and keeps the reader fully engaged all the way to the end. Ava and her two sons are fleeing to a new home in Sheerwater, when they witness a light plane crashing in the field next to the road. Ava rushes to help, but when she gets back her boys have disappeared. Desperately she tries to find where they have gone and who has taken them, but as the hours pass she fears for the worst. This is a powerful and very emotional debut novel.