July is such an incredible month for crime fiction! No kidding, I had a really, really hard time picking my favourite book this month. Some of the biggest names in the genre are about to release new titles and they are all SO GOOD!
The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham is our Crime Fiction Book of the Month. It was hard to make this call given the stiff competition, but The Secrets She Keeps is such a cracking good read – it kept me totally transfixed from the first page to the last. We have signed copies for a limited time! Our True Crime book of the Month is Green is the New Black – another guaranteed bestseller from James Phelps that takes readers inside Australia’s hardest women’s jails.
We also have a stunning debut from Australian author, Pip Smith. Half Wild is an absorbing and beautifully written novel telling the story of convicted murderer Eugenia Falleni. (AKA Harry Crawford, AKA Jean Ford.) Signed copies are available for a limited time!
Enjoy the reviews below!
Reviews by Sarah McDuling
It’s been a long time between reads for all the rabid Michael Robotham fans out there (myself included). We haven’t had a new Robotham book since Close Your Eyes in 2015. Fortunately, The Secrets She Keeps is such stunning thriller that I can say with absolute honestly… it was well worth the wait!
This is the story of two pregnant women from very different walks of life. Both are struggling with family problems. Each has a secret they are trying to keep, and each is desperate to prevent the truth from destroying their happiness.
Meg lives in a picture-perfect world of domestic bliss, wealth and privilege. She’s beautiful, talented, and has a handsome husband, two gorgeous children and a third bundle of joy on the way. She also runs a popular “mummy blog” where she writes endearingly funny stories about the trials of motherhood.
Meanwhile, Agatha has a job stacking shelves in a supermarket. She has a creepy boss, an estranged mother and a much younger ex-boyfriend/baby-daddy who is not overly pleased about becoming a father. She’s haunted by a troubled past but hopeful for a happy future. She’s also in the habit of watching Meg – admiring and envying her from afar.
When Meg and Agatha meet, their lives become entwined in ways both unexpected and dangerous. At the same time, the secrets they are trying so hard to keep hidden begin to unravel at an alarming rate …
The Secrets She Keeps is another absolute cracker from Michael Robotham, certain to please longtime fans and newcomers alike. This riveting standalone psychological thriller not only kept me on tenterhooks as I frantically turned pages, it also played merry havoc with my emotions. A deeply compelling and thoroughly addictive read! Read Ben Hunter’s review of The Secrets She Keeps.
Michael Connelly introduces a brand new character in his latest book, The Late Show, and she is my new favourite fictional person!
Meet Renée Ballard – a hardboiled LAPD detective working nights in Hollywood. She was assigned to “The Late Show” (working from 11pm – 7am every night) after filing a sexual harassment case against the head of the homicide division. Betrayed by a former partner, she has been effectively banished and put in a position where she can never pursue a case. Instead, all her cases must be turned over to the day shift detectives in the morning.
However, on one particular night, Renee gets three separate cases and finds she cannot bring herself to turn them over. A case of credit card fraud, an assault against a transgender woman, and a fatal shooting spree. Renne can’t let go of these cases and so starts working both day and night, investigating them during her own time.
Renee is smart, tough, strong-willed, relentless and resilient. She’s something of a misfit, a rule-breaker in the name of justice, and a bit of a lone wolf. In fact, she is a lot like Bosch! They share quite a few characteristics. Despite this, however, Renee is more than just a “female Bosch”. She is a complex and nuanced character in her own right. She has her own compelling backstory and must face obstacles that Bosch has never had to deal with.
Michael Connelly is a master storyteller and The Late Show is exactly the kind of deftly plotted, expertly paced, utterly gripping novel that I’ve come to expect from this bestselling author. He literally cannot write a bad book, and this one is especially good. I’m totally hooked and am already looking forward to the next Ballard book!
Perfect for Bosch fans and anyone looking for a thoroughly riveting read… Learn more
I have never read a Don Winslow book before… which I now realise is a glaring oversight. I’m about halfway through The Force, and it’s taking all my willpower not to drop everything, put my life on hold and keep reading!
Set in a New York police precinct, this is a story of drug dealers, dirty cops, corruption, racism, greed and deceit. The Force is a truly excellent thriller, building tension and suspense to an almost unbearable degree. It offers so much more than your average police procedural. In fact, it’s really more of a sweeping epic set on the mean streets of New York, pitting cops against each other.
This is a world where the heroes are so loyal they are willing to die for each other, but not always willing to follow the law. Honour and bravery is at war with corruption and dishonesty. Nothing is totally black and white and sometimes the “good guys” aren’t always as good as they should be.
If the second half of this book is as good as the first, I will be devouring all of Don Winslow’s previous books as quickly as possible! Learn more.
I’ve been a fan of the Temperance Brennan series for years and was really excited to read this new standalone novel from international bestselling author, Kathy Reichs. Two Nights is amazing! It’s also quite different from what I expected, but definitely in a good way!
Sunday Night (AKA Sunnie) is a retired police officer with a traumatic past. She has been living off the grid for years when she is approached by a wealthy socialite who offers her a chance to get back in the game.
Opaline Drucker’s daughter and grandson were killed in a bombing and her granddaughter is missing. When Night agrees to take the case, she soon finds herself up to her eyeballs in life-threatening danger.
Two Nights is an action thriller rather than a forensic mystery, which is quite a change of pace for the author of the Temperance Brennan series. Readers will find that Sunnie is a very different (but equally compelling) character to Tempe. She is not a woman you want as an enemy. Tough, damaged, tenacious and full of biting sarcasm – she has an impressive skill set from her time with the military and the police force.
I really enjoyed this book and struggled to put it down. I think it’s a safe bet that Kathy Reichs fans will not be disappointed with this fast-paced and gripping read. And for those who haven’t read Kathy Reichs before, this is a great introduction to one of the biggest names in crime fiction… Learn more.
Whenever I pick up a Dean Koontz book I know that I’m about to get completely swept up in story packed full of action, suspense and amazing characters. He is such a master storyteller and knows exactly how to draw readers in and keep them dangling on tenterhooks.
The Silent Corner is the first in a new series from Koontz staring kickass FBI agent Jane Hawk. I am so on board with this series and am already looking forward to the next book. Jane is such an awesome creation. I might even love her more than I love Odd Thomas, who has always been my favourite Koontz character. Until now! (I’m sorry Odd. I still love you but Jane Hawk is just so cool!)
When Jane’s husband commits suicide she channels all her grief and rage into investigating his death. She suspects a conspiracy as her husband was a happy and successful man with seemingly no reason to kill himself. Pretty soon Jane finds herself a fugitive, fighting for her life as she hunts down the truth.
This book is a heart-stopping, pulse-pounding roller-coaster ride. From the first page I was completely sucked into the story and literally could not put the book down. No kidding – I scrambled eggs, watered pot plants, collected the mail and made a cup of tea – all while reading this book. It’s an epic pageturner!
The Silent Corner will be a guaranteed hit with Koontz’s loyal fans, as well as anyone who enjoys a gripping thriller… Learn more.
Review by Tim Rimington
With opening chapters such as Prison Sex and Smack and Speed, Green is the New Black is as confrontational as you would expect from a book with pages dripping with doses of prison-administered morphine, and sex. If you caught Phelps’ previous graphic book Australia’s Toughest Prisons: Inmates, let me assure you that Green is the New Black is a step up in the disgust and shock stakes.
As Phelps assures us at the end of the first chapter, Prison Sex, “Sex isn’t the biggest problem in jail. Naughtiest? Sure. But nothing compared to the drug epidemic”. And thus the tone of the book is set; expect sex, drugs and violence (although in fairness there are uplifting stories that help keep the book on some level of reader-ease, albeit in teased glimpses).
Green is the New Black is an education for those of us who wake in the morning, drive kids to school, shop at weekends, pay taxes, and save for holidays on the Gold Coast. Life on the inside is as alien to us as normal life is for those locked away.
Fancy learning what a ‘Hairy Handbag’ is? Curious about the lengths an incarcerated junkie will go to to cop a ‘hit’? Yes, of course you are, your curiosity demands you flick pages; Phelps’ style of opinion and interview quotes demand it… Read the full review here.