Fancy a trip to Scotland?

I came across this poster on Twitter and was surprised that there were several books here that I haven’t read.  I have read six of the fourteen displayed.  I will need to look out for the remaining eight. Have you read any of these? I enjoy crime fiction that is why the poster caught my attention.

The last book written by Andrew McGahan

What a strange book this was.

The book is set in Tasmania and I picked it up because I had read his Miles Franklin Award winning book, The White Earth.

I am not someone who would normally read books about the paranormal and at almost 600 pages, requiring some suspension of disbelief, particularly at the end, this book kept me reading right up to the end.  I will admit that the beginning had me doubting if I would continue to read as there was quite a bit of explanation of geological aspects of the setting but it wasn’t until later in the novel that I realised the importance of knowing this information.

The action chapters are interspersed with newspaper articles and scientific journal entries which interweave the history with the storyline.

“In the freezing Antarctic waters south of Tasmania, a mountain was discovered in 1642 by the seafaring explorer Gerrit Jansz. Not just any mountain but one that Jansz estimated was an unbelievable height of twenty-five thousand metres.

In 2016, at the foot of this unearthly mountain, a controversial and ambitious ‘dream home’, the Observatory, is painstakingly constructed by an eccentric billionaire – the only man to have ever reached the summit.

Rita Gausse, estranged daughter of the architect who designed the Observatory is surprised, upon her father’s death, to be invited to the isolated mansion to meet the famously reclusive owner, Walter Richman. But from the beginning, something doesn’t feel right. Why is Richman so insistent that she come? What does he expect of her?

When cataclysmic circumstances intervene to trap Rita and a handful of other guests in the Observatory, cut off from the outside world, she slowly begins to learn the unsettling – and ultimately horrifying – answers.”

Not my usual fare, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one and would highly recommend it.

More Australian authored books

Peace by Garry DisherAnother Australian book, crime fiction, this one set in South Australia.  If you have read Bitter Wash Road you will love this one as it is a follow on to Constable Paul Hirschhausen but can still be read as a stand alone book.

“Constable Paul Hirschhausen runs a one-cop station in the dry farming country south of the Flinders Ranges. He’s still new in town but the community work-welfare checks and working bees-is starting to pay off. Now Christmas is here and, apart from a grass fire, two boys stealing a ute and Brenda Flann entering the front bar of the pub without exiting her car, Hirsch’s life has been peaceful.

Until he’s called to a strange, vicious incident in Kitchener Street and Sydney police ask him to look in on a family living outside town on a forgotten back road.

Suddenly, it doesn’t look like a season of goodwill at all.”

I loved every minute of this book.  A cracking read.

Wow!  What a great read this was.  I was guessing right up to the last page.  Full of twisted plots and set in the coastal town of Port Silver, similar to many towns on the Australian coastline.

“Martin Scarsden returns in the sequel to the bestselling Scrublands. For half a lifetime, journalist Martin Scarsden has run from his past. But now there is no escaping.

He’d vowed never to return to his hometown, Port Silver, and its traumatic memories. But now his new partner, Mandy Blonde, has inherited an old house in the seaside town and Martin knows their chance of a new life together won’t come again.

Martin arrives to find his best friend from school days has been brutally murdered, and Mandy is the chief suspect. With the police curiously reluctant to pursue other suspects, Martin goes searching for the killer. And finds the past waiting for him.

He’s making little progress when a terrible new crime starts to reveal the truth. The media descend on Port Silver, attracted by a story that has it all: sex, drugs, celebrity and religion. Once again, Martin finds himself in the front line of reporting.

Yet the demands of deadlines and his desire to clear Mandy are not enough: the past is ever present.”

This novel was every bit as good as Scrublands.

Missing for a while

I just haven’t been motivated to write blog posts recently but now that we are staying at home I have no excuse.

I will start with some of my latest reads.  As we have had time at home I have had time to get some reading done. Both of these books are by Australian authors and are set in Australia.

The first is one from off my shelves.  An old book which I hadn’t read although I have already read some of this series starring Murray Whelan. This book won the Ned Kelly Prize in 1996.

The Murray Whelan crime fiction series is laugh out loud stuff. Murray is advisor to  Victorian State ALP MP, Angelo Agnelli and after a Cabinet reshuffle his boss is moved to the Water and Arts portfolio, this thrusts Murray into the cut throat and murderous world of the Melbourne arts community where he will be dealing with forged paintings, conspiracies involving prominent members of the government’s arts policy committees and some fun romantic interludes.

The turn of phrase and the colloquialisms used made me laugh out loud. It was refreshing to read a book that was set in Melbourne with many places mentioned being places I have visited. Not sure if the novel would be appreciated quite so much by those not acquainted with the city.

A light, funny and enjoyable read.

The Good Woman of Renmark is a book borrowed from my reading group.

“Adventure, romance and history combine in this thrilling 19th century journey through the South Australian bush and along the mighty Murray River in the company of a determined heroine.

Maggie O’Rourke has always had a hard head. No man was going to tie her down to a life of babies and domestic slavery, even if that man was as good (and as annoyingly attractive) as Sam Taylor. Maggie is happily earning her own way as a maid in a house on the Murray River when disaster strikes.

The novel reminded me of the tv series with John Waters and Sigrid Thornton, All The Rivers Run. The novel gives us a glimpse of the social history of the time. Women did not yet have the vote and the suffragette movement was growing every day.

Another enjoyable read.

My favourite illustrator again.

I have posted before about the Australian illustrator Robert Ingpen and mentioned a book called Wonderlands.  I was lucky enough to find the book at a much reduced price when we were in Melbourne visiting our elder daughter and her family.  A great bargain.

I just love his artwork.

From Wind in the Willows.

I am enjoying dipping into the book as it makes me happy when I look at the illustrations.


Another Peter May. . . this time a stand alone, not one of a series.

Runaway by Peter May“Five of us had run away that fateful night just over a month before. Only three of us would be going home. And nothing, nothing would ever be the same again.”
Glasgow, 1965. Headstrong teenager Jack Mackay has just one destination on his mind–London–and successfully convinces his four friends, and fellow bandmates, to join him in abandoning their homes to pursue a goal of musical stardom.
Glasgow, 2015. Jack Mackay, heavy-hearted sixty-seven-year-old is still haunted by what might have been. His recollections of the terrible events that befell him and his friends some fifty years earlier, and how he did not act when it mattered most is a memory he has tried to escape his entire adult life.
London, 2015. A man lies dead in a one-room flat. His killer looks on, remorseless.
What started with five teenagers following a dream five decades before has been transformed over the intervening decades into a waking nightmare that might just consume them all.”

As I was a teenager in the sixties so much of the storyline  from 1965 resonated with me.  The mention of various music groups, the fashion, the famous people and places brought back memories of my teenage years. 

This book was not your usual crime fiction book as the actual crime seems to take a back seat to the characters and the sense of place.  I enjoyed the portrayal of old age compared to their lives as youths and how the book shows how old age doesn’t necessarily confine your actions.

Peter May has done it again.  Another terrific read.