Book talk: Three new thrillers

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Jeff Popple reviews three new thrillers this week. More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog: murdermayhemandlongdogs.com

Last Survivor by Tony Park

Macmillan, $32.99

Tony Park is Australia’s premier adventure writer and Last Survivor once more mixes together environmental concerns with a fast, action-packed plot. Ancient cycad plants are rapidly becoming extinct in southern Africa from plant poachers who sell them on the black market for lucrative returns. Concerned that a recent theft of the plants is being used to fund a terrorist attack, the CIA hire mercenary Sonja Kurtz to track down the missing plants. Aided by a rag-tag group of conservationists, Sonja finds herself up against a deadly and desperate enemy. Fascinating background, sure-footed plotting and regular gunfire makes this one of Park’s best books.  Recommended.


The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish

Simon & Schuster, $29.99

Every morning, four travelling companions enjoy the leisurely ferry trip down the Thames to their London jobs. It is pleasant way to commute to work until the morning after the Christmas break when one of them goes missing. Kit was last seen at the group’s Christmas drinks arguing with another passenger, James. Now the police suspect that James is responsible for Kit’s disappearance. Told through James’ eyes, Candlish skilfully peels back with clockwork precision layers of deceit to reveal what really happened on the night of Kit’s disappearance. A clever thriller that will appeal to aficionados of The Girl on The Train.


Cry Baby by Mark Billingham

Hachette, $32.99

Mark Billingham’s series about London detective Tom Thorne has become a mainstay of British crime writing. It has been 20 years since the first book, Sleepyhead, appeared and now Billingham has gone back to write a prequel to that iconic novel. Cry Baby opens in 1996 and finds Thorne caught up in the search for a missing seven-year-old boy, Keiron Coyne. Traumatised by a similar case that ended badly, Thorne desperately tries to find the kidnapper before it is too late for Keiron. A professional, polished piece of detective fiction that will not disappoint Billingham’s many fans.

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