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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Reading: All Those Bright Crosses by Ross Duncan

Yet another high quality debut novel has passed rapidly before my eyes and, yes, I've added All Those Bright Crosses by Ross Duncan to the Australian Crime Fiction Database but, in all honesty it probably doesn't belong there 'cause I wouldn't class it as a crime novel. (It does contain trace elements of a mystery, though - and that's what I'm hanging my hat on).

What I would class it as is one heck of a compelling story that touches briefly (perhaps too briefly) on problem gambling and dealing with all manner of personal crises. It's about rebuilding oneself from the ground up. It's about Fiji and the fact that adversity stares everyone in the face no matter where on the planet they live. It's also about hope and reaching your goals.

Martin Flint has separated from his wife years after the accidental death of their 4 year old daughter. Their separation was sparked by his admission of a gambling addiction, putting well over $20,000 through poker machines. Alone with his grief and guilt he finally finds himself a distraction in the form of a newspaper clipping about a 19th century shipwreck off the coast of Fiji and a missing treasure that was reportedly on board. With vague ideas about gathering enough first-hand information to write a book and funded by a small inheritance, he travels to Fiji.

It's here that his journey of self discovery takes place crossing paths with a range of people, many of whom seem to be similar to himself - in Fiji to escape their former lives.

This is a thought-provoking novel that is all about the reconstruction of the life of one man. Added interest is given by the mystery surrounding the missing treasure and the unsolicited attempts of scammers and conmen to muscle their way in.

Good reading lies ahead that leaves you wondering whether Martin Flint will pull his life back together again.

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