Mystery and crime books from Australia. News, views, reviews, releases and author appearances - crime fiction in Australia. Crime novels, mystery novels, detective stories, police procedural books, thrillers and soft-boiled mysteries

Monday, May 05, 2008

May '08 New Releases

Crime fiction in Australia has been given another healthy injection in May with 4 new book releases and each of them looks to be well worth tracking down. This month I've been able to get a bit of a head start on the books, having read 2 of them and currently partway through reading a 3rd, so I can safely attest to the quality of crime fiction produced. The 4th book looks as though it could be a very interesting serial killer suitable for readers who don't mind the brutal fast-paced action thriller.

The Darkest Hour by Katherine Howell (pub. Macmillan Australia) - this is the second thriller by Katherine Howell and is the much anticipated follow up to Frantic. (Some places on the 'net still refer to this book as Panic which was the title that was originally proposed). The book features homicide detective Ella Marconi and follows a murder investigation dripping with complications. Some of those complications stem from the second strong female lead in the book, paramedic Lauren Yates who becomes crucial to the investigation. Howell works plenty of paramedic procedure into the book giving it a more interesting and unique aspect compared with other crime thrillers.

Blood Sunset by Jarad Henry (pub. Allen & Unwin) - another "2nd in a series" book. This is Jarad Henry's follow up to Head Shot which introduced Melbourne police detective Rubens McCauley. Blood Sunset takes us into the seamy St Kilda backstreets where we rub shoulders with the drug addicts, dealers and prostitutes who call the place home. Rubens is back at work after recovering from a gunshot wound but a mistake he makes when investigating a drug overdose death turns his life upside down. This is a strong hardboiled crime novel set in a searing summer heat in Melbourne. Bushfires surround the city which helps to add a menacing tone to the story.

A Deadly Business by Lenny Bartulin (pub. Scribe Publications) - this debut crime novel introduces Sydney second-hand bookseller Jack Susko in what looks to be the first book of a new series. I am reading this book at the moment and have been immediately drawn into Jack’s world thanks to Bartulin’s rich descriptive flair. Jack Susko is hired to find every copy of a certain obscure poet’s published books. It’s an unusual request that immediately flags all sorts of questions. The client is rich, the family has issues of some sort and Jack is going to get himself into bog trouble. This is shaping up as a very interesting debut crime novel.

The Silver Dagger by Jame McLean (pub. Longueville Books) - this is a serial killer novel that is set on Queensland’s Gold Coast, so immediately you know that all manner of lowlife criminals are going to be involved. Joseph Crowley is a detective whose job it is to track down a ruthless killer who appears to have only just begun. Reports are that the book is fast-paced and confronting and everything I’ve heard about it is positive. I’ll be reading The Silver Dagger soon and am looking forward to a brutal thriller. I’ll be posting my reading notes here when I’ve read it.

All up, not a bad month for reading Australian crime fiction books with the array centring largely on the police procedural sub-genre. There's a good mix of Australian locations involved here with a couple set in Sydney, one in Melbourne and one in Queensland.

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