Jeff Popple recommends three novels for summer reading.
Evil Things by Katja Ivar
Bitter Lemon Press, $17.99
This is the perfect book for those who are tired of Canberra’s hot weather. Set in the remote wilderness of northern Finland in 1952, this beautifully written novel effectively evokes the coldness and never-ending snow of Lapland. Hella Mauzer was the first female Inspector in the Helsinki Homicide Unit, until she was deemed too ‘emotional’ and reassigned to the small town of Ivalo. The disappearance of a man close to the border with the Soviet Union gives her the chance to escape from dealing with urinating beggars and she journeys to the isolated village of Käärmela where she encounters true evil. Evocative and gripping.
The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Anstey Harris
Simon & Schuster, $29.99
Anstey Harris’s debut novel is a moving tale about heartbreak, remorse and getting your life back together again. Grace Atherton enjoys the rhythm of managing a violin shop and enjoying romantic interludes in Paris with her partner David. The simplicity of it keeps her happy, until an incident tips her world upside down. Depressed and lonely, Grace is gradually given a new chance at life through the efforts of a vivacious old man, a straight-talking teenager and a trip to Italy. This warm, worldly and engaging novel will lift your spirits and make you appreciate the friends you have.
Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna
Fans of briskly paced thrillers will enjoy this tough novel about the disappearance of two young sisters from a New Jersey carpark. Unimpressed with the efforts of the local police, the devastated family turn to bounty hunter Alice Vega to find the girls. Shunned by the police, Alice enlists the help of a controversial former cop, Max Caplan, and together they embark on a dark journey through lies, betrayal and complex relationships to find the girls. This tautly written thriller balances suspense with strong characterisations and insightful reflections on motherhood. The story unfolds quickly, and it will hold your attention until the end.