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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Book talk: Suspense and romance for Mother’s Day

This week, Jeff Popple reviews two novels of suspense and a romance for Mother’s Day. More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog: murdermayhemandlongdogs.com

Take Me Home by Karly Lane

Allen & Unwin, $29.99

Popular Australian rural romance author Karly Lane heads off in a new direction with her latest novel, Take Me Home. Elle is in a state of upheaval. She has lost her job and her home, and her beloved Gran has just died. Desperate to avoid moving back in with her oppressive parents, she sets off to Scotland with her grandmother’s ashes to fulfil a promise. Of course, nothing goes as planned, and Elle finds herself solving old secrets and taking new chances. Full of romance, humour and a touch of the supernatural, this is another engaging tale by the reliable Karly Lane. A great present for Mother’s Day.

The Old Enemy by Henry Porter

Hachette, $32.99

Henry Porter is one of Britain’s leading contemporary spy novelists and The Old Enemy is a terrific espionage thriller that grips the reader’s attention from beginning to end. This is the third novel in Porter’s series about ex-MI6 agent Paul Samson and opens with the murder of a former British spy on a remote stretch of the Baltic coastline. Meanwhile, billionaire philanthropist Denis Hisami is poisoned with a chemical nerve agent as he is giving evidence at a US Congressional hearing. Linking the two events is Paul Samson, who is also targeted for death. Intelligent, exciting and keenly aware of modern geopolitics, this is an outstanding spy thriller.

Girl, 11 by Amy Suiter Clarke

Text, $32.99

Also very enjoyable is Amy Suiter Clarke’s debut crime novel Girl, 11. Drawing on the current popularity of true crime podcasts, Girl, 11 follows podcaster Elle Castillo as she investigates a decades-old serial killer cold case. The Countdown Killer terrorised Minneapolis over a four-year period as he targeted increasingly younger women and girls, before abruptly stopping. Elle is not convinced that he is dead and when her podcast seemingly provokes new murders, she desperately tries to stop the killer. This is a gripping, well written and briskly paced thriller that quickly draws the reader in and keeps them engaged until the last page.

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