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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Shadow Maker by Robert Sims

Just lately there has been an encouraging number of debut crime novels by Australian authors on the scene with a couple this month and, hmmm let’s see…around 5 more in the next couple of months. Fresh new voices – delightful.

Anyway, the latest to pass in front of my hungry eyes was The Shadow Maker by Robert Sims (pub Allen & Unwin), a psychological thriller set in Melbourne. The book’s protagonist is Detective Sergeant Marita Van Hassel, an up-and-coming police officer with the added bonus of having had training as a criminal profiler.

An attention-grabbing opening gives the book a great start with the introduction of an attacker who rapes and mutilates a prostitute in a city hotel. What follows is a nicely paced story that opens up to head off to a myriad of possible directions. The content ranges from the gruesome to the fascinating, all delivered by Sims’ arresting style that concentrates largely on the progression of the plot. This was an engrossing book to read.

Certainly, the book has the look and feel of being the first in a series to feature Van Hassel (and maybe we’ll become more acquainted next time around) which is good news for those of us who love the familiarity of returning to “the old gang”.

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