Book talk: Thrilling crime novels

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Jeff Popple reviews three new thrilling crime novels. More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog: murdermayhemandlongdogs.com

Fair Warning by Michael Connelly

Allen & Unwin, $32.99

In Fair Warning, bestselling author Michael Connelly brings back Jack McEvoy, the hero of his popular novels, The Poet and The Scarecrow. The once famous reporter and true crime author has fallen on hard times and is now working at Fair Warning, an online news site specialising in watchdog reporting on consumer issues. However, when a woman he had a one-night stand with is murdered, McEvoy finds himself on the trail of a serial killer who uses DNA data to find his victims. Fascinating background detail, strong plotting and well-developed characters moves Fair Warning into the top rank of recent crime releases. Recommended.

Sticks and Bones by Katherine Firkin

Bantam, $32.99

Katherine Firkin joins the growing band of Australian journalists making recent successful crime fiction debuts with Sticks and Bones. Set in Melbourne, it follows a rich array of characters caught up in the disappearance and potential murder of two young women. Leading the investigation is Detective Emmett Corban, who must balance the demands of his home life with the pursuit of a possible serial killer. The story moves along reasonably well, and Firkin does a good job in keeping the reader guessing as to who the killer might be. A strong debut that marks Firkin as a writer to watch out for.

Find Them Dead by Peter James

Macmillan, $32.99

A juror on a high-profile drug trafficking trial faces a terrible dilemma in Find Them Dead, Peter James’ latest novel about Brighton detective Roy Grace. If she cannot convince the rest of the jury to find the accused gangster innocent, her daughter will be killed. Meanwhile, Grace is called in to investigate a murder that has potential links to the trial. James’ skilfully manipulates the two storylines to produce a well-paced crime novel that provides plenty of tension and personal drama. It quickly grabs the reader’s attention and James delivers some good shocks along the way to the satisfying ending.

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