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Posted by on 30 Aug, 2021 in Australian Crime Fiction, Canberra Weekly, Crime, Men's Adventure, serial killer thriller, Thriller | 0 comments



Canberra Weekly 26 August 2021

This week in the Canberra Weekly I recommended 3 great book ideas for Dad this Father’s Day.

I also suggest another two books at the bottom of this post.

Cave Diver by Jake Avila (Echo)

First up in the Canberra Weekly was Jake Avila’s action adventure Cave Diver (Echo). Set in Papua it is an enjoyable old style thriller with plenty of action and locational atmosphere. In the Canberra Weekly I said:

“Those dads who like exciting adventure novels will enjoy Jake Avila’s Cave Diver. Set in the jungles of Papua it is an enjoyable tale about an expedition to uncover a sunken World War II Japanese submarine buried deep in a large underwater cavern.  The submarine contains gold smuggled out of Japan at the end of the war, and a motley collection of treasure hunters and crooks are hellbent on retrieving it.  Caught in the middle is Australian diver Rob Nash, who sees the expedition as a chance for redemption for a past mistake.  A gripping, action filled thriller.”

I also did a longer review of Cave Diver last week:

In Plain Sight by Ross Coulthart (Harper Collins)

For dads who enjoy books about mysteries and UFOs, I suggested In Plain Sight by Australian journalist Ross Coulthart. This is a fascinating exploration by Coulthart into the world of UFO sightings. Presented in a very readable and clear headed manner, Coulthart makes an interesting case for the veracity of many UFO sightings. I found it fascinating and particularly liked the several Australian examples that he uses. In the Canberra Weekly I said:

“This is a marvellous book for dads who are into conspiracies and UFOs.  Following the admission by the United States Department of Defense in 2020 that there have been confirmed sightings of unexplainable aerial objects over the years, award winning Australian journalist Ross Coulthart set out to investigate.  Drawing on interviews with witnesses, scientists and high ranking officials, Coulthart gives a clear-eyed and convincing account of the various sightings, including some Australian examples, and the efforts to cover them up.  A fascinating book that raises many questions and elevates the discussion about UFOs above the realm of crackpots and conspiracy theorists.”

Sweet Jimmy by Bryan Brown (Allen & Unwin, 31 August 2021)

 Due out on Tuesday 31 August 2021, Sweet Jimmy is a marvellous collection of short stories by renowned actor Bryan Brown. All of the stories have an urban crime feel to them and all unfold in a laconic, Australian way. They are a great way to pass the time. In the Canberra Weekly I said:

“Popular actor Bryan Brown makes an impressive entry into Australian literary ranks with his first collection of short stories, Sweet Jimmy. Written in a stripped down, unadorned style these crisp stories skirt the fringes of Australian noir as Brown takes the reader down some very familiar mean streets. Featuring cops, thieves, drug dealers and suburban girls of the night, these stories are full of wit, humour and heartbreak and have a strong Australian feel to them.  A terrific collection of gritty tales.   Even dads who do not read a lot will enjoy these knockabout stories by an Australian icon. Recommended.”

I also did a longer review of Sweet Jimmy last week:

A couple of books I didn’t have space for in the article, but which are also well worth considering for dad, are included below.

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix (Titan Books)

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix (Titan Books) has been out for a little while and is a good gift idea for those dads who like crime stories with a horrific touch or are fans of horror slasher movies.

In horror movies, the Final Girl is the one who is left standing when the credits roll at the end of the movie. The one who fought back, defeated the killer and avenged her friends. The basic premise of Hendrix’s The Final Girl Support Group is that a group of girls, now women, who survived the real life massacres upon which the movies are based, get together on a regular basis to offer support to each other. When one of the women is killed, it becomes clear that someone is after the Final Girls again.

This is very enjoyable mix of horror and crime, with a good dose of social commentary. Hendrix maintains a good pace throughout the book and the action builds to a suitably gruesome finale. The book’s narration through Lynnette Tarkington, one of the Final Girls, is engaging and it nicely conveys a good sense of frailty and steely determination.

The book is also greatly enhanced by the regular input of extracts from newspaper articles, movie lore and commentary on the role of the Final Girl in popular culture and society.

A clever and addictively readable book.

CSI Told You Lies by Meshel Laurie (Penguin)

Meshel Laurie’s CSI Told You Lies (Penguin) is a great book for true crime fans.

Meshel is a well known television personality and co-host of the Australian True Crime podcast. In CSI Told You Lies she goes behind the scenes at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and talks to the forensic scientists involved in some of Australia’s major crime and disaster investigations. It is a captivating look at how forensic experts play a pivotal role in headline making events, including the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and the shooting down of MH17, and major crime investigations.

Included in the book are forensic details about the death of David Hookes, the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires and Meshel’s own personal insights into the arrest of serial killer Peter Dupas. It is a fascinating book, that is made very readable by Meshel’s easy flowing style. Some of the material is distressing, but it tells an important story and gives a voice to many of the victims.

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

A link to the book reviews on the excellent Canberra Weekly site can be found here:

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