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Posted by on 29 May, 2023 in Australian Crime Fiction, Canberra Weekly, Crime, Outback Crime, Thriller | 0 comments



This week in the Canberra Weekly I reviewed three new Australian crime novels, including two which are on my list of the year’s best crime novels.

The Rush by Michelle Prak (Simon & Schuster, 3 May 2023)

As it’s title suggests, Michelle Prak’s debut novel is a wild rush of a ride from beginning to end!

Set in the Australian outback during the rare occurrence of flooding rains, The Rush (Simon & Schuster, 3 May 2023) is a fast paced and very intense crime thriller.

In the Canberra Weekly I said:

“Michelle Prak’s debut novel, The Rush, is a terrific thriller set in an Australian outback beset by flooding rains. Told through the eyes of four well-crafted female characters, it moves at a brisk pace as the women, and assorted male characters, make their way to a remote country pub before the rain hits. Included among their number is a killer who is happy to take advantage of the chaos caused by the flooding.

Michelle makes effective use of the shifting viewpoints, the landscape, and changes in the timeline to generate maximum suspense, and the book powers to an exciting climax. A great read.”

I also did a longer review a couple of weeks ago:

Along with Dinuka McKenzie’s Taken, Simon Rowell’s Wild Card and Michael Trant’s No Trace (see below), The Rush is among is one of my favourite Australian crime novels of the year, so far!

No Trace by Michael Trant (Bantam, 16 May 2023)

Also offering plenty of thrills, good writing and some memorable characters is Michael Trant’s No Trace (Bantam,
16 May 2023).

In the Canberra Weekly I said:

“Also set in a remote part of Australia with flooding on the horizon is Michael Trant’s No Trace. Skilled dog-trapper Gabe Ahern has been successfully hiding out on an isolated Pilbara cattle station since the bloody conclusion to Trant’s last book, Wild Dogs.

He seems to have dodged the bad guys that are after him, until some strange occurrences on the station make him suspect that hidden among the tourists looking for an authentic outback experience is someone with more sinister motives. This is a good dusty noir tale that combines mounting tension and violence with a neat murder mystery.  Highly recommended.”

No Trace is a very good read and deserves a wide audience.

I also recently did a longer review here:

The Signatory by Stuart Black (Glass House Books, 20 April 2023)

Corporate and business crime does not have a strong tradition in Australian crime fiction, but Stuart Black does a good job of exploring just how deadly it can be in The Signatory (Glass House Books, 20 April 2023).

With an engaging set of characters and a good sense of pace, The Signatory is an enjoyable crime novel that winds its way down some unexpected paths.

In the Canberra Weekly I said:

“Set a long distance from the outback is Stuart Black’s Sydney based thriller The Signatory. The sale of his start-up company to an international firm has made Sam Bailley very rich, but when his brash CFO goes missing, he finds himself in big trouble. On the run from the police and a faceless network of conspirators, Sam discovers that you have to fight dirty to win.

This is a fast paced and engaging thriller that makes good use of its big business setting. The plotting is sleek, and it builds to an exciting finale. An enjoyable change from the usual rural crime.”

There is are some interesting crime fiction books being released by smaller Australian presses and The Signatory is a good, enjoyable example of the breadth of the small press output. Well worth a read.

Thanks to the Canberra Weekly and the publishers for copies of the books for review. More of the Canberra Weekly book reviews, and book news, can be found here:

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