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Posted by on 1 Jul, 2021 in Australian Crime Fiction, British Crime, Canberra Weekly, Crime, Thriller | 1 comment



Canberra Weekly, 24 June 2021

In last week’s Canberra Weekly I reviewed three new tales of murder and mayhem.

The Inside Man by James Phelps (Harper Collins, June 2021)

First up is The Inside Man by Australian journalist and true crime writer James Phelps. This is Phelps’ first foray into crime fiction and it is enjoyable debut full of brutal, but interesting insights, into Australia’s toughest prisons and propelled along by an exciting plot involving terrorist bomb attacks. Some suspension of disbelief is required, but overall it is an entertaining read.

In the Canberra Weekly I said:

“James Phelps is a well-known Sydney journalist and true crime author. After years of writing factual accounts about Australia’s toughest prisons, Phelps has now used that knowledge to pen an exciting action thriller.

The Inside Man focuses on Riley Jax, a former army engineer who is in prison for murder. Jax cannot remember the night of the killing and is struggling to survive in Long Bay jail. Meanwhile a series of bombings rock the outside world, and it appears that Jax may be the only person who can unravel the truth behind them.  An enjoyable, easy flowing tale that will keep you turning the pages.”

The Killing Kind by Jane Casey (Harper Collins, June 2021)

Jane Casey’s The Killing Kind, her first stand-alone novel in some years, is one of my favourite crime novels of 2021, so far. It is a well plotted and very unpredictable crime thriller that had me eagerly turning the pages all the way to the end.

In the Canberra Weekly I said:

“London barrister Ingrid Lewis thought that she had finally escaped the attentions of former client and serial stalker John Webster, but when a colleague is run down on a busy road, Ingrid suspects that she was the intended victim. The police are not convinced, and when Webster turns up at Ingrid’s door claiming that she is in danger, she does not know which way to turn.  Jane Casey does a good job of steadily ramping up the tension in this engaging crime thriller and The Killing Kind builds to taut, surprising conclusion. A smart, compelling novel that makes for ideal wet weekend reading.”

I also did a longer review a few weeks ago:

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox (Doubleday, June 2021)

Finally, True Crime Story is a very original crime novel written as a true crime account and including the author as a character.

It is an ambitious plot device and Joseph Knox largely pulls it off. The pacing is a little uneven, but it certainly sticks in your mind long after you have read it.

In the Canberra Weekly I said:

Fans of crime documentaries will enjoy this clever mashup of true crime and detective fiction. Written in the style of a chilling true crime documentary, in which the author himself features, True Crime Story follows the eight year investigation into the disappearance of 19-year-old Manchester University student Zoe Nolan, who went missing in 2011 after a party. As a pair of writers try to understand what happened that night, old secrets and new threats are revealed. Drawing on fictional police reports, interviews, letters and other sources, True Crime Story is a highly original murder mystery presented as a true crime account. Recommended.

In all, three very different, but very entertaining crime novels. They each have their strengths, but I think Jane Casey’s The Killing Kind is my favourite of the three.

Thanks to the publishers and the Canberra Weekly for copies of the books.

1 Comment

  1. I’ve just bought a copy of ‘The Killing Kind’. Your review tempts me to read it as soon as I can. Thanks, Jeff, for adding to the length of my life by suggesting such good books 😉

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