Today was another one of those days that required an application of retail therapy and so to the local bookstore I strolled. I feel slightly less guilty for buying books I didn’t quite need because both of them are Australian. I’m not wasting money I’m helping the economy.
Virginia Duigan’s THE PRECIPICE was released last year but I didn’t hear a peep about it until I perused this year’s longlist for the Miles Franklin Award. It sounds like it might be more of a literary suspense novel than pure crime fiction but we’re nothing if not flexible here at Fair Dinkum Crime. The publisher’s blurb says
Thea Farmer, a reclusive and difficult retired school principal, lives in isolation with her dog in the Blue Mountains. Her distinguished career ended under a cloud over a decade earlier, following a scandal involving a much younger male teacher. After losing her savings in the financial crash, she is forced to sell the dream house she had built for her old age and live on in her dilapidated cottage opposite. Initially resentful and hostile towards Frank and Ellice, the young couple who buy the new house, Thea develops a flirtatious friendship with Frank, and then a grudging affinity with his twelve-year-old niece, Kim, who lives with them. Although she has never much liked children, Thea discovers a gradual and wholly unexpected bond with the half-Vietnamese Kim, a solitary, bookish child from a troubled background. Her growing sympathy with Kim propels Thea into a psychological minefield. Finding Frank’s behaviour increasingly irresponsible, she becomes convinced that all is not well in the house. Unsettling suspicions, which may or may not be irrational, begin to dominate her life, and build towards a catastrophic climax.
I like the sound of the curmudgeonly character and I lived for a time in the Blue Mountains so I’m keen to read this one.
To achieve gender bias (and because it seems rude to leave a store with just one book) I also picked up a copy of Tony Cavanagh’s THE PROMISE released earlier this month. If the publisher is to be believed it will suit fans of Harry Bosch and Dave Robicheaux. They’re big shoes to fill but I’m happy to give the début a try. Its blurb says
Top Homicide cop Darian Richards has been seeking out monsters for too long. He has promised one too many victim’s families he will find the answers they need and it’s taken its toll. After surviving a gunshot wound to the head he calls it quits and retires to the Sunshine Coast in an attempt to leave the demons behind. But he should have realised, there are demons everywhere and no place is safe. A serial killer is prowling the Sunshine Coast area and Darian tries to ignore the fact his experience could make a difference hunting him down.
All he wants is to sit at the end of his jetty on the Noosa River and ignore the fact that girls from the area have vanished over the past fourteen months. All blonde and pretty. Youngest: 13. Oldest: 16. He knows they are all dead but the cops were saying ‘missing’ or ‘vanished . That s what you have to say if you don t have a body.
Jenny Brown was the first. She vanished sometime after 4 in the afternoon, Saturday 15 October the previous year. Except for her parents and her friends and everybody who knew her, it was thought she was just a runaway. Especially by the cops who allowed a good two or three minutes before arriving at that conclusion. By the time they d reached the gate to the front yard of her house, before they d even walked across the road and climbed into their cruiser, they would ve forgotten Jenny Brown even existed.
But then others disappeared and they couldn’t call them all runaways. Darian can t sit idly by and he decides he is going to find the killer and deal with him … his way.