AUSSIE CRIME WAVE: NEW AUSTRALIAN CRIME NOVELS I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO READING IN MID 2022
I recently highlighted Michael Robotham’s Lying Beside You (Hachette, 29 June 2022) as a book I was looking forward to reading: https://murdermayhemandlongdogs.com/forecast-friday-lying-beside-you-by-michael-robotham/
Lying Beside You, however, is only the tip of the iceberg of some very good Australian crime novels scheduled for release before the second half of the year. In addition to new novels by accomplished authors such as Dervla McTiernan and Sulari Gentill, there are debut outback mysteries, a serial killer thriller, two very good second novels and, just slipping over into second half of the year, a new Dan Clements crime story by Dave Warner.
Set out below, I have picked out the books I am most looking forward to reading.
Probably the most eagerly awaited of the new books is Dervla McTiernan’s The Murder Rule, (Harper Collins, 4 May 2022).
With The Murder Rule Dervla takes a break from her popular Irish detective, Cormac Reilly, and instead gives us a standalone thriller. Set in America, it follows Hannah Rokeby who is determined to join the Innocence Project at the University of Virginia, a group dedicated to helping convicted criminals overturn their sentences. Their biggest current case is that of Michael Dandridge, but unlike the rest of her colleagues, Hannah does not want to save Dandridge, she wants to make sure that he never gets out!
Dervla is a very gifted writer and it will be interesting to see how she manages the shift of location to America and a different style of crime novel.
One of the more sparkling debuts of 2021 was Allie Reynolds’ Shiver. Set in an isolated ski lodge in the French Alps it was a terrific mix of mystery and thrills. Now Allie has shifted her attention away from Europe and snow-boarding, to Australia and surfing. Set at a remote surfing spot, The Bay, (Hachette, 15 June 2022), finds newcomer Kenna drawn into a world of secrets and extremes where everyone seems to be hiding something. As the tension mounts, one thing comes clear to Kenna about the slice of paradise known as the Bay: nobody ever leaves.
This is one to put on your ‘to read’ list!
Leading an impressive batch of outback crime debuts, is Shelley Burr’s Wake (Hachette, 27 April 2022).
Nineteen years ago young Evelyn McCreery disappeared from the bedroom she shared with her twin sister in the small outback town of Nannie. Now cold case expert Lane Holland desperately tries to solve the mystery around Evelyn’s disappearance in order to claim the reward money and satisfy his own dark motivations.
Sporting a terrific evocative cover, Wake promises to be one of the leading Australian crime debuts of 2022.
Also with an eye catching cover is Dirt Town (Macmillan, 31 May 2022) by Hayley Scrivenor.
Revolving around the disappearance and murder of a twelve year old school girl in a small country town, Dirt Town is described as being “character-rich and propulsive, with a breathtakingly original use of voice and revolving points of view.” With a strong focus on community pressures and personal demons, Dirt Town would seem to be a very emotional and powerful book.
From Dirt Town to Stone Town and another attractive outback cover.
Margaret Hickey displayed strong writing skills with her debut crime novel from last year, Cutter’s End, and Stone Town (Bantam 5 July 2022), follows the central character from that book, Senior Sergeant Mark Ariti, as he investigates the murder of a property developer in the dense bushland surrounding the small South Australian community of Stone Town.
Margaret displayed well developed plotting skills with Cutter’s End and Ariti was a good addition to the ranks of engaging policemen with troubled backgrounds. It will be interesting to see if she can expand on her promising debut.
It is almost a relief to move away from the Australian outback to urban Sydney for Matthew Spencer’s debut novel Black River (Allen & Unwin, June 2022).
The publishers provide the following description of the book:
“A long, burning summer in Sydney. A young woman found murdered in the deserted grounds of an elite boarding school. A serial killer preying on victims along the banks of the Parramatta River. A city on edge.
Adam Bowman, a battling journalist who grew up as the son of a teacher at Prince Albert College, might be the only person who can uncover the links between the school murder and the ‘Blue Moon Killer’. But he will have to go into the darkest places of his childhood to piece together the clues. Detective Sergeant Rose Riley, meanwhile, is part of the taskforce desperately trying to find the killer before he strikes again. Adam Bowman’s excavation of his past might turn out to be Rose’s biggest trump card or it may bring the whole investigation crashing down, and put her own life in danger.”
Despite Spencer’s background as a former journalist for The Australian, I really looking forward to this one. The combination of old dark deeds at a boarding school and a serial killer on the loose, sounds very promising and this should be an enjoyable read.
Sulari Gentill’s series of Rowland Sinclair Mysteries set in 1930s Australia has long been an enjoyable mainstay of the local crime writing scene. Now with The Woman In The Library (Ultimo Press, 1 June 2022) she ventures into the literary crime arena, with what seems to be a cleverly plotted novel about stories within stories.
“Hannah Tigone, bestselling Australian crime author, is crafting a new novel that begins in the Boston Public Library: four strangers; Winifred, Cain, Marigold and Whit are sitting at the same table when a bloodcurdling scream breaks the silence. A woman has been murdered. They are all suspects, and, as it turns out, each character has their own secrets and motivations – and one of them is a murderer.
While crafting this new thriller, Hannah shares each chapter with her biggest fan and aspirational novelist, Leo. But Leo seems to know a lot about violence, motive, and how exactly to kill someone. Perhaps he is not all that he seems.”
I haven’t seen a copy of The Woman In The Library, but sounds like a fantastic read. Sulari is always very entertaining and she has a real love for storytelling. It promises to be an unique and highly enjoyable read.
Dave Warner’s After The Flood (Fremantle Press) is not due out until August, but it is certainly one to put on your ‘watch list’.
Dave’s output has not been voluminous, but each of his books are carefully crafted and well worth reading. His River of Salt is one of the best Australian crime novels of recent years and Before It Breaks was a deserved winner of the 2016 Ned Kelly Award for Best Australian Crime Novel.
After The Flood follows up Before It Breaks and Clear To The Horizon, and takes us back to the Western Australian outback town of Broome and dogged police detective Dan Clement.
“A violent death by crucifixion near a remote north-west station has Detective Inspector Dan Clement and his Broome police officers disturbed and baffled. Other local incidents – the theft of explosives from a Halls Creek mine site, social justice protests at an abattoir, a break-in at a child health care clinic – seem mundane by comparison. But as Clement starts to make troubling connections between each crime, he finds himself caught in a terrifying race. In a landmass larger than Western Europe, he must identify and protect an unknown target before it is blown to bits by an invisible enemy.”
I really enjoy the strong sense of place that Dave brings to his writing and his ability to create interesting, original stories. After The Flood has an interesting premise and I cannot wait to travel back to Broome again.
So some great Australian crime reading to look out for over the next few months, with promise of more to come later in the year with new books by Kyle Perry, Megan Goldin and Garry Disher also scheduled.