Rounding up Aussie crime fiction 2013 #1

An irregular hodgepodge of reviews and snippets of news that have a lot, or a little, to do with Australian crime fiction.

awwbadge_2013Over at the new home of the Australian Women Writers Challenge I started my reading year by posting a wrap up of the 2012 Challenge as it pertains to crime writing by Australian women. The post discusses the trends I noticed when trawling the nearly 200 reviews of crime writing that were submitted as part of last year’s challenge. It was terrific to see such a variety of crime writing by Australian women highlighted by challenge participants. Of course it’s not too late to sign up for this year’s challenge or perhaps you’d like to check out some of this year’s reviews

952568-peter-templeFollowing the successful and widely acclaimed adaptations of two of his four Jack Irish novels late last year Peter Temple has been garnering more media coverage than is normal for an author who turns out novels at a somewhat glacial speed. David Prestidge, writes eloquently of Temple’s Australia; from a rain-soaked and dank Melbourne to the “deeply conservative and incestuous atmosphere of [Victoria’s] small country towns“. It might not be the stuff of tourism campaigns but it is certainly a country recognisable to me.

Reviews

TheDunbarCasePeter Corris‘ latest Cliff Hardy novel, THE DUNBAR CASE was reviewed at AustCrime where Karen said it was “a tight, punchy, enjoyable PI novel…just the thing for a spot of entertaining, escapist reading“. The novel immediately preceding this one in the series, COMEBACK, was reviewed at Crime Down Under where Damien wrote “Cliff Hardy is back and ready to continue on for quite a few more cases yet. He has been able to adapt to the modern world with the online presence and modern technologies required to survive. His old-fashioned detective skills are still relevant and equip him with the arsenal to get the job done“.

promiseTony Cavanaugh’s PROMISE was my first read of the new year and, unfortunately, not quite my cup of tea. The hero is just too…heroic…for me but the writing is good and the atmosphere suitably creepy. I know plenty of people who would like this book (the person I gave my copy to reports being “rather chuffed”) which just proves it’s all a matter of taste.

unnatural-habitsKerry Greenwood‘s 19th Phryne Fisher novel UNNATURAL HABITS has been getting a few reviews around the blogosphere since its release late last year. Marisa Wikramanayake introduces Phryne for readers who have not yet met her “Mix a flapper in ’20s Melbourne with a radically (for the time) feminist attitude and an inclination to assume that she is James Bond and you have Phryne.”   Karen at AustCrime takes the ‘cosy’ out of the equation with these thoughts

For a book that’s set in 1929 there’s something depressingly current day about the main storyline – the mistreatment, abuse and exploitation of young girls. Girls who are the victims of rape, abuse, poverty, neglect or simply girls who made a mistake, they were abandoned to systems and organisations which, whilst carefully revealed in UNNATURAL HABITS, were obviously appalling. Whilst Greenwood is cautious in her revelations of details of what went on, there is no masking the revulsion and disapproval of the institutions and facilities that treated young women, and their babies with such awful cruelty. It’s the restraint with which many of the observations are made that makes them all the more pointed.

GoodMurderAWilliamPowerM17124_fI reviewed Robert Gott’s A GOOD MURDER, depicting the travails of a wartime travelling theatre troupe who get caught up in a murder investigation in a regional Queensland town. It’s a combination satire and farce that offers a terrifically atmospheric depiction of its time and place.

TheWebOfDeceiptHowellI devoured Katherine Howell’s WEB OF DECEIT, happily discovering that despite being the sixth novel in a series the quality of storytelling and character development is as high as ever. There’s one passage in which a young, pregnant woman refuses to believe the police when they try to notify her that her husband has died that has stuck with me for weeks. Howell managed to show how heart-wrenchingly difficult this scenario would be for everyone involved, to the point that I was even imagining the poor unborn child growing up without its father, without becoming schmaltzy or manipulative.

GhostMoneyV4FINALAndrew Nette‘s GHOST MONEY, set in Cambodia in the 1990’s and featuring an Australian private detective Max Quinlan, was the subject one of Margot Kinberg’s excellent In the Spotlight posts last month. Among the highlights of the novel she noted

… through the novel we get a strong sense of what it’s really like to be in Cambodia, especially the parts of the country that the tourists don’t get to see. We see the way the people live, we see how things are done in Cambodia and we what life is like in a beautiful country that’s been torn apart for decades by war, poverty and foreign politics.”.

The same novel was also reviewed here at Fair Dinkum by Kerrie who also enjoyed the atmosphere and the way Nette “uses his principal characters and those whom they meet, to deliver a series of mini-history lessons”. I’m happy to add a third voice to this particular chorus and suggest you really ought to read this novel.

dark city blueKerrie reviewed Luke Preston’s DARK CITY BLUE – a novel about a lone honest cop amidst a sea of corruption…a not entirely fictional state of affairs in Australia’s various jurisdictions over the years. It seems he has to risk becoming the thing he despises in order to get some justice for the victims of crime which is (to me anyway) an endlessly fascinating moral dilemma to ponder.

the-bone-is-pointedIt is somewhat shameful for us Aussies that the book blogoshpere’s most ardent Arthur Upfield fan is a Canadian lawyer but perhaps Bill Selnes brings the objectivity of an outsider to his reading of Upfield’s novels. Bill chose 1938’s THE BONE IS POINTED as his favourite book read during January. It depicts the story of an investigation into the death of a much disliked stockman and through this explores complex issues such as racism and the difficulties of living as part of two cultures as Uofield’s half-Aboriginal, half-white protagonist Napolean Bonaparte must do.

the-low-roadChris Womersley‘s 2007 novel THE LOW ROAD garnered a glowing review from offshore reader Raven who says “The world ticks on around the characters, but the situation they find themselves in is suffocating with tension, despite their efforts to escape and totally immerses the reader in their trials. This is a sublime and perfectly constructed literary crime thriller that I hope many among you will discover for yourselves”.  I can’t agree with Raven’s sentiments (I’ve written elsewhere about not being able to finish this particular book because it made me want to curl up into the foetal position and weep) but of course you should all make up your own minds.

Ned Kelly AwardsBoth Kerrie and I seemed drawn to modern classics of Aussie crime fiction of late. I highlighted Gabrielle Lord’s DEATH DELIGHTS, which won the 2002 Ned Kelly Award for best novel and Kerrie choosing Jon Cleary’s DEGREES OF CONNECTION which won the same award in 2004. It seems both novels stand the test of time well.

Hopefully there’s a book or three here to tempt you to venture into the varied world of Australian crime fiction

A Fair Dinkum Round Up – Sept 2012

Time for another round up of new releases, reviews and news about Australian crime fiction from around the blogoshpere

Current/Recent Releases

Older titles getting attention

News

Both the Ned Kelly Awards (for the best crime writing by Australians) and the Davitt Awards (for the best crime writing by Australian women) were handed out in the last month. Congratulations to all the winners.

Updates…New Releases…Links (or all the things we’ve missed in recent weeks)

Things have been almost deathly silent here at Fair Dinkum HQ of late and for that I apologise. But I was moving house (and am still living in the semi-chaos of ongoing renovations) and Kerrie was gallivanting about the world on holidays so Aussie crime fiction had to take a back seat for a bit. But we’re almost back to full speed now and are gearing up for some more great reading. I have moved to a house that is a 3 minute walk away from one of Adelaide’s last remaining independent bookstores and so should have no excuse for not keeping up with my Aussie crime fiction from now on.

Recent and Upcoming Releases

June/July

  • Adrian d’Hage – THE INCA PROPHECY
  • Kathryn Fox – COLD GRAVE (Forensic physician Dr Anya Crichton is taking a break aboard a luxury cruise ship when the body of a teenage girl is discovered shoved in a cupboard, dripping wet)
  • Geoffrey McGeachin – BLACKWATTLE CREEK (the second Charlie Berlin book and the first of what I expect will be many books I bought after moving into a house 3 minutes walk from a book shop)

August

  • Sulari Gentill – PAVING THE NEW ROAD (a second Rowly Sinclair book for 2012 and one we have already received here at Fair Dinkum HQ, I intend to sit down with it very shortly)
  • Stuart Littlemore – Harry Curry: The Murder Book
  • Barry Maitland – ALL MY ENEMIES (Brock & Kolla #12)
  • Michael Robotham – SAY YOU’RE SORRY (a Joe O’Loughlin novel)

September

  • Courtney Collins – THE BURIAL (Inspired by the life of Jessie Hickman, the legendary horse thief and murderess of the 1920s, The Burial powerfully evokes the imagined life of a 22 year old bushranger whose real crime, it seems, was to have been born a woman)
  • Gabrielle Lord – DEATH BY BEAUTY
  • Tara Moss – ASSASSIN

October

  • Kerry Greenwood – UNNATURAL HABITS (Phryne Fisher #19)

Aussie Crime Fiction in the news and blogosphere

In case you missed it the longlist for this year’s 2012 Ned Kelly Awards has been announced. As always there’s no information available at the online home of the awards about the shortlising criteria or timelines for the various stages of the process but we’ll try to keep abreast of things as best we can (and no I’m not going to have another rant about this topic) (promise).

In what seems to be coming a regular feature (well I hope so anyway) Angela Savage discussed two new release crime novels from Aussie authors on the ABC’s Books and Arts Daily radio show. The audio is available here for anyone who wants to hear the discussion on YA Erskine’s second novel THE BETRAYAL and Annie Hauxwell‘s debut IN HER BLOOD.

At Book’d Out Shelleyrae has been churning through Australian crime fiction (as well as all her other reading because apparently superwoman is hiding in semi-rural Australia) and has included Aussie women crime writers in her features for the Australian Women Writers challenge, She has reviewed Malla Nunn‘s LET THE DEAD LIE and SILENT VALLEY then had a chat with Malla that you can listen to then reviewed  Y.A. Erskine‘s THE BETRAYAL and interviewed the author about the secret behind the book and has also reviewed Helene Young’s romantic suspense novel BURNING LIES just this week.

Aust Crime Fiction has also been busily reviewing Aussie crime fiction including Malla Nunn‘s SILENT VALLEY, Annie Hauxwell‘s IN HER BLOOD, Geoffrey McGeachin‘s BLACKWATTLE CREEK and Sulari Gentill‘s PAVE THE NEW ROAD

A fair dinkum month – February 2012

We reviewed five books this month

We also posted the answers to our Australia Day historical crime fiction quiz and discussed the TV adaptation of Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. 

Reviews of Aussie crime fiction elsewhere on the web

Andrew at Pulp Curry reviewed Adrian McKinty’s THE COLD, COLD GROUND and proclaims it “sharp, well written, combining political analysis with a hard noir edge.”

Crime writer Angela Savage reviews Wendy James’ THE MISTAKE calling it “a compelling, gut-wrenching novel that is not easily categorised. Part family drama, part psychological thriller, it pushes the boundaries of the crime genre”. Angela talked about this book along with Peter Corris’ THE COMEBACK on Radio National last week too.

Angela also reviewed Peter Corris’ THE COMEBACK saying that “reading Cliff Hardy novels is like sitting down with a favourite uncle in a pub and getting him to tell his best stories over a few beers”.

Sarah at Crimepieces went outside her comfort zone to read Kathryn Fox’s SKIN AND BONE and enjoyed the plotting.

Jon at Bite the Book reviewed Tony Cavanaugh’s debut novel PROMISE, which he found brutal and shocking but compelling.

Shelleyrae at Book’d Out reviewed Katherine Howell’s latest novel SILENT FEAR which she found so exciting she read it in a single sitting. Meanwhile Jason Nahrung tackled Katherine’s first novel FRANTIC for the Australian Women Writer’s challenge which he found “a methodical tale, competently told, with attention to detail — leaves in drains, the smell of food — and no grandstanding.

At Petrona Maxine reviewed Y.A. Erskine’s THE BROTHERHOOD and labelled it a “a superb police-procedural with a difference”. 

Margot Kinberg added Peter Temple’s BAD DEBTS to her thoughtful In The Spotlight series and described it as “a ‘hardboiled’ novel with depth and character, Bad Debts is also a believable group of crimes with a believable set of motives in a distinct setting”.

Australian crime fiction in the news and on the web

There’s a new free cookbook based on Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman novels available for download (click on the cookbook cover to access the PDF document) (Hat tip to Janet Rudolph)


A reminder that it’s never to late to join the Australian Women Writers Challenge or the Aussie Authors Challenge (or both) to motivate your 2012 consumption of Aussie crime fiction. 


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A fair dinkum month – January 2012 (and a bit of December 2011)

Australian crime fiction in the news and on the web

I discovered that Andrew at Pulp Curry is a fellow Bryan Brown fan when Andrew re-posted this excellent review of THE EMPTY BEACH, a movie featuring the aforementioned Brown as private investigator Cliff Hardy in an adaptation of Peter Corris‘ 1983 novel of the same name. The review was written by Dave Riley who blogs about all things espionage related at Permission to Kill

Author of the Phryne Fisher and Corinna Chapman series Kerry Greenwood answered Booktopia’s Ten Terrifying Questions and also appeared In Conversation with fellow writer Tara Moss on 13Street TV (11 minute video).

Sulari Gentill spoke to THE AGE about her new book, about how many people you have to kill to get your crime fiction credentials and how she turned her series into a family affair by setting her books in a period on which her husband is a scholar.

Here at Fair Dinkum Crime

We neglected to do a round-up for December so here are our reviews for the past two months

And in case you missed it we both listed the five Aussie crime fiction titles that most impressed us in 2011

Reviews of Aussie crime fiction elsewhere on the web

Lenny Bartulin‘s third Jack Susko novel DE LUXE was reviewed at Booklover Book Reviews where Joanne said “this story is slick and sexy – everything the very endearing protagonist Jack Susko is not”. Must drag this one from my own TBR pile very soon.

Peter Corris‘ 1998 Cliff Hardy novel THE BLACK PRINCE (number 22 in a series which is now up to 37) was reviewed at Permission to Kill and described as more accessible than the earlier novels in the series but also indicating that the series has ‘lost some of its ferocious bite’ and rough edges. Corris‘ most recent novel COMEBACK was reviewed at Book’d Out where Shelleyrae found it “an entertaining and satisfying read” and at Aust Crime Fiction where Karen, who is a long time fan of the series, thought the book continued “the fantastic resurgence in this Australian crime fiction stalwart”.

Jaye Ford‘s BEYOND FEAR was reviewed at Aust Crime Fiction where Karen found it had plot wobbles but was fast paced and might appeal to those who “are comfortable with the idea that the isolation of rural existence means that there’s just got to be a lot of nasty weirdos lurking behind the nearest gum tree”. This sentence made me laugh, not least because I, a city girl, just might occasionally be guilty of thinking that way.

Sulari Gentill‘s first novel in the Rowly Sinclair series, A FEW RIGHT THINKING MEN, was reviewed at The Banana Lounge where Tseen Khoo enjoys the author’s evocation of the 1930’s Australian art scene and well-crafted characters. Meanwhile the second book in the series, A DECLINE IN PROPHETS was reviewed at Fiction by Caroline Sully where the mix of fact, fiction and wry humour was a hit. And finally Sulari’s third book in the series, MILES OFF COURSE, was reviewed at Booktopia Blog, Aust Crime Fiction and  Authoraire where the reviewer “...loved the historical charm of the setting…and respected the gentlemanly approach to the story,  not overwhelming the reader with gore or profanity, yet still providing an intelligent, twisting tale of crime and conspiracy“. Exactly!

Kerry Greenwood‘s first ever Phryne Fisher novel COCAINE BLUES was reviewed at Aust Crime Fiction. The first then books are being re-released over the next couple of months with swish new covers featuring Essie Davis as who is playing Phryne in the upcoming 13-part TV series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, to air locally on the ABC.

Adrian Hyland‘s GUNSHOT ROAD was reviewed by Sarah at Crimepieces who loved the language of the book and who picked up on the fact that all of protagonist Emily Tempest toughness couldn’t prevent her from receiving the rough treatment often handed out to women in society.

Noel Mealey‘s debut MURDER AND REDEMPTION was reviewed at Aust Crime Fiction and Karen enjoyed the central plot that focused on illegal drug trafficking in Australia’s remote and sparsely populated north-west.

Finola Moorhead‘s 1991 feminist mystery STILL MURDER set in and around Sydney and tackling some dark themes including the notion of war as a crime was reviewed most intelligently at Petrona. It’s a complex and somewhat uneven book but Maxine gets to the heart of things in her review.

Malla Nunn‘s LET THE DEAD LIE was reviewed as part of the Australian Women Writers challenge by suspense writer Helene Young, who thought the book (set in 1950’s South Africa) depicted “a seedy, segregated world where white was right and anyone else was fair game”.

Peter Temple’s TRUTH was reviewed by ex-pat Aussie Kim at Reading Matters who got to the heart of the reason why I never did publish a review of the book as if she had been inside my own head with the line “the book feels claustrophobic — and depressing. I felt heavy-hearted whenever I picked it up and I was anxious to be rid of it”


A reminder that it’s never to late to join the Australian Women Writers Challenge or the Aussie Authors Challenge (or both) to motivate your 2012 consumption of Aussie crime fiction. 


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This work by http://fairdinkumcrime.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

A fair dinkum month – November (and some of October) 2011

Things were a bit frantic at Fair Dinkum HQ at the end of October so I neglected to do the normal monthly round-up and have included a few relevant items below.

Australian crime fiction in the news and on the web

This interview with crime (and now also fantasy) writer Tara Moss tackles a wide range of subjects including the reactions to Tara’s recent blog post which mused about gender bias in publishing, motherhood and where Tara would travel if she could access a time machine.

The Crime Fiction Lover site posted a list of top 5 debut Aussie crime writers, four of these have been reviewed at Fair Dinkum and we’d agree they’re excellent writers. Might be time for us to do some lists of our own eh?

There are two reading challenges for next year that could motivate you to read some great Aussie crime fiction. Full details of the Aussie Authors Challenge and the Australian Women Writers Challenge are available here.

The Australian Chapter of the Sisters in Crime handed out the Davitt Awards for full length crime writing by Australian women on 8 October and the Scarlet Stiletto Awards for short story crime writing by Australian women were announced on 25 November.

Reviews of Aussie Crime Fiction

Lenny Bartulin‘s THE BLACK RUSSIAN was reviewed at Page Turners where Becky enjoyed what was for her a home town book (it’s set in Sydney) and the humour of the larger than life characters.

Gary Corby‘s THE IONA SANCTION was released in the US on 8 November and was favourably reviewed at Earful of Cider where Sarah picks up on the way Corby makes ancient Greek history accessible and interesting and S.Krishna’s Books where Swapna thought it lived up to the high standards of Corby’s first novel . The book is due for release in Australia on 3 January (though I just managed to buy an audio book version which makes something of a mockery of geo-restrictions).

Garry Disher‘s WHISPERING DEATH was reviewed here at Fair Dinkum by Kerrie who said the consummate plotting and storytelling skills on display make Disher the equal of any international crime writer. Kerrie and I don’t always agree but on this point we are in total harmony. The book was also reviewed at Tas Book Lover where David thought it “a wonderfully enjoyable crime fiction novel with absorbing and interesting characters“.

Y.A. Erskine‘s THE BROTHERHOOD was the subject of one of my relatively rare 5-star reviews here at Fair Dinkum. It’s an outstanding novel, especially amazing when you realise it’s by a first time author, and one of those books that I keep thinking about long after closing the back cover.

John M Green‘s BORN TO RUN was reviewed here at Fair Dinkum. It’s a political thriller set in the US and is a great romp of a tale about a woman who wants to be President.

I reviewed Kerry Greenwood‘s COOKING THE BOOKS here at Fair Dinkum. It’s an intelligent cosy mystery which takes place on the set of a new TV drama being shot in Melbourne where someone is playing practical jokes on the show’s star.

Kerrie reviewed Peter Klein‘s RING OF FIRE here at Fair Dinkum and thought the tale of a racing steward was a nicely paced novel, attempting to get past the “who” and to explore, the “why”.

Media commentator and QC Stuart Littlemore‘s foray into crime fiction, HARRY CURRY COUNSEL OF CHOICE, was reviewed at Aust Crime Fiction which saw the 5 short stories featuring a brilliant legal mind “a gently amusing little wander around in the far end of crime process”.

Barry Maitland‘s CHELSEA MANSIONS was another book I reviewed here at Fair Dinkum. It’s an above average police procedural full of characters who invite you into their lives, if only for a while, and a satisfyingly intricate plot and it brings to life a delightful-sounding area of London.

Carolyn Morwood‘s DEATH AND THE SPANISH LADY was also reviewed here at Fair Dinkum. It’s a historical fiction novel set after the end of the First World War as Spanish Flu has its grip on Melbourne but nurse Eleanor Jones gets involved in the investigation of one death that isn’t the fault of the flu.

Arthur Upfield’s 1957 novel THE BUSHMAN WHO CAME BACK was reviewed here at Fair Dinkum by guest reviewer Bill Selnes from Canada. It’s interesting to see what Bill makes of this book from another time and place. I must admit I’ve struggle to read Upfield’s books as I find them more dated than other contemporary works and I cringe sometimes at some of the thoughts expressed. But Bill’s thoughtful review does make me think I should re-visit this author who is a big part of Australia’s crime fiction heritage.

I reviewed Nicole Watson‘s debut novel THE BOUNDARY here at Fair Dinkum and thought it a fine addition to the growing library of contemporary Australian crime fiction which examines our society intelligently and realistically while telling a ripping yarn.

Hopefully you can all find something full of Aussie goodness amongst all of that.If I missed your review of an Aussie crime fiction novel or some news you’d like us to know drop us a line at fairdinkum crime [at] gmail [dot] com.

In Decorating news we had a bit of a redesign here at Fair Dinkum. For those who read these posts via email or RSS do drop by and check out our nice new header, designed by the lovely and talented Katie at KD Designs.

A fair dinkum month – September 2011

Australian crime fiction in the news and on the web

It’s so rare to see Australian crime fiction being discussed in any depth that I was quite pleased to see The Atlantic Monthly devote a whole article to the subject entitled Down Underworld. Sadly the article is very narrow in its focus, featuring books by only a handful of writers all of whom are male, and comes at the subject of the Australian culture from a fairly simplistic standpoint. I’m not sure whether or not it was intended but the article’s author gives the impression he thinks crime fiction a bit beneath him really with comments like “Crime fiction being largely a matter of people answering doorbells…”. But is it a case of all publicity is good publicity?

Adrian Hyland appears in this short video interview with the First Tuesday Bookclub. The interview is mostly concerning his recent non-crime book KINGLAKE-350 about the devestating bushfires that swept through the part of the world he lives in a couple of years ago but as Adrian is one of our favourite authors we thought we’d share it anyway. You can see my thoughts on the book at my other blog.

Arthur Upfield‘s DEATH OF A LAKE was reviewed at Tas Book Lover

Chris Womersley‘s BEREFT was reviewed at Tas Book Lover

David Owen‘s  X AND Y was reviewed at Tas Book Lover while HOW THE DEAD SEE was reviewed at Aust Crime Fiction and Tas Book Lover

Garry Disher‘s DRAGON MAN, the first novel in the Challis & Destry series, was reviewed at Tas Book Lover as was KITTYHAWK DOWN, the second novel in the series.

Geoffrey McGeachin‘s Ned Kelly Award-winning  THE DIGGERS REST HOTEL was reviewed by fellow crime novelist Angela Savage while his spy spoof D.E.D Dead! was reviewed at Tas Book Lover

John Conway‘s HELL IS MY DESTINATION was the first book to be featured in a new column called Pulp Friday over at Andrew Nette’s Pulp Curry site. Andrew is sharing his love of 60’s and 70’s pulp fiction by highlighting these largely forgotten books and if pulp is your thing then you should be subscribed to Andrew’s blog.

Katherine Howell‘s novels were the subject of a thoughtful and insightful treatment at Petrona as part of Maxine’s contribution to the #SinC25 challenge celebrating women crime writers. Howell’s debut novel FRANTIC was reviewed at Tas Book Lover

Kathryn Fox‘s BLOOD BORN was reviewed at Tas Book Lover

Kel Robertson‘s RIP OFF was reviewed at Aust Crime Fiction

Kerry Greenwood, whose sixth Corinna Chapman mystery, COOKING THE BOOKS, is released officially today, answered Booktopia Bookshop’s 10 Terrifying Questions. You learn such surprising things in these interviews, like the fact that Kerry wrote her first book while sitting in an apricot tree!

Lenny Bartulin, whose third Jack Susko novel DE LUXE was released in August, was interviewed at Crime City After Dark.

Michael Robotham‘s THE WRECKAGE was reviewed at Blogging for a Good Book and Choose and Book while his earlier novel THE NIGHT FERRY was reviewed at Tas Book Lover

P.M. Newton shared her experiences of entering (and ultimately becoming joint winner) of a literary award for works written by women which feature an anti-war theme. The novel which won Pam the award was reviewed at Tas Book Lover

Peter Temple‘s IN THE EVIL DAY was reviewed at Tas Book Lover (I’m actually listening to this on audio at the moment so expect a review here shortly)

Philip Gwynne‘s marvellous novel THE BUILD UP was due to be adapted for television but the SBS network announced this month that it would not be going ahead with production due to its ever-shrinking commissioning budget. This is such a shame but I suppose it’s better not to do it at all than to do it badly without the required resources.

Sylvia Johnson‘s WATCH OUT FOR ME was reviewed at Aust Crime Fiction

Y.A. Erskine, whose debut novel THE BROTHERHOOD about the investigation into the shooting of a Tasmanian policeman while he was on duty was released in August (and reviewed at Aust Crime Fiction) answered Booktopia Bookshop’s 10 Terrifying Questions. Here I learned that I shared the same teenage dream as  the author (being a diplomat not an actress on The Bill) and was denied for roughly the same reasons.

Here at Fair Dinkum HQ

3 Sep – we reported on P M Newton’s shared win of this year’s Asher Award (for a literary work that carries an anti war theme). Well done to Pam

6 Sep – I reviewed Christopher Currie’s debut novel THE OTTOMAN MOTEL – a deliciously creepy mix of small town scares as a young boy loses his parents

10 Sep – We posted details of She Kilda Again, a convention celebrating women’s crime writing (to be held in a few days’ in Melbourne so you still have time to book)

19 Sep – Kerrie reviewed Katherine Howell’s VIOLENT EXPOSURE – further affirmation that Katherine Howell’s novels are both unique and of world-class.

24 Sep – we posted a quiz & giveaway (which you still have 2 days to enter)

25 Sep – I reviewed Helen Fitzgerald’s THE DONOR – a novel generating its own unique sub-genre of comic/noir/suspense which I utterly adored

30 Sep – I reviewed Garry Disher’s latest Challis & Destry novel WHISPERING DEATH – a brilliantly complex novel, surely the best of the series so far (don’t you love it when authors keep getting better?)

Hopefully you can all find something full of Aussie goodness amongst all of that. If I missed your review of an Aussie crime fiction novel drop us a line at fairdinkum crime [at] gmail [dot] com, I use google alerts and RSS feeds to supply me with news but I have been known to hit mark all as read a bit too quickly some days 🙂 

A fair dinkum month – August 2011

Australian crime fiction in the news and on the web

We found a new blog we think worth highlighting because it’s hosted by a self-confessed crime fiction tragic who lives in Tasmania. The blog is called Tas Book Lover and its host, David, flew out of the blogging box by jumping into a bunch of challenges and reviewing one or two (or 14) Aussie crime fiction novels:  Peter CorrisTORN APART, Garry Disher‘s THE FALLOUT, Kathryn Fox‘s DEATH MASK, Geoffrey McGeachin‘s THE DIGGERS REST HOTEL, Garry Disher‘s CHAIN OF EVIDENCE, Robert G Barrett’s THE TESLA LEGACY, David Owen‘s NO WEATHER FOR A BURIAL, Michael Robotham‘s SHATTER, Peter CorrisFOLLOW THE MONEY, Geoffrey McGeachin‘s SENSITIVE NEW AGE SPY, Garry Disher‘s WYATT, Adrian Hyland‘s GUNSHOT ROAD, Garry Disher’s SNAPSHOT and Adrian Hyland‘s DIAMOND DOVE. Not bad for not-quite-one-month’s reviewing eh.

And while we’re discussing websites Aust Crime Fiction has had a layout update which looks nifty and makes it even easier to find some good Aussie authors to try out. While tootling ’round the newly spiffy site I noticed Karen had posted a nice list of where to start with Australian Crime Fiction.

Karen of the aforementioned Aust Crime Fiction has also been reviewing Aussie crime fiction like crazy…Lenny Bartulin‘s DE LUXE, Barry Maitland‘s CHELSEA MANSIONS, John M Green‘s BORN TO RUN, Garry Disher‘s CROSSKILL, Boyd Anderson‘s LUDO, Robin Adair‘s THE GHOST OF WATERLOO and Miranda Darling‘s THE SIREN’S SONG.

Readings bookshop in Melbourne posted a short video review of three new works of Aussie crime fiction, giving a great wrap to Alistair Sarre‘s PROHIBITED ZONE about someone who escapes from the refugee detention centre at Woomera (as one of the few books set in the home state of Fair Dinkum HQ one of us should get around to reading this one soon). The other two books that are mentioned are Stuart Littlemore‘s HARRY CURRY: COUNSEL OF CHOICE (this one has a curiosity factor as Littlemore is one of Australia’s most high profile lawyers and QCs and was the original host of the long-running national TV show that provides analysis on the media) and Garry Disher‘s WHISPERING DEATH (more about this elsewhere)

Barry Maitland tells Readings Books about the inspiration behind his latest novel CHELSEA MANSIONS

Garry Disher‘s most recent novel, WHISPERING DEATH was reviewed by Andrew Nette at Pulp Curry who said that Disher “avoids the pedestrian nature of many police procedurals through his ability to chronicle the underbelly of life in Melbourne’s growing outer suburban fringe, including the gap between rich and poor and stress created by rapid population growth, including for the police” (nice…gotta get my hands on this one).

Michael Robotham talked to South African paper Times Live about leaving journalism, ghost writing and the amount of research that went into his latest novel THE WRECKAGE. He did an interview with Radio New Zealand too. Michael’s earlier novel BLEED FOR ME was reviewed at Mystery*File where reviewer LJ Roberts enjoyed “the balance of introspection and suspense” and THE WRECKAGE was reviewed at Mean Streets and The Mystery Reader

Normally a writer of novels exploring male angst Nick Earls has turned to crime fiction for his 12th book THE FIX (though it started life as a screenplay).

Sulari Gentill‘s A FEW RIGHT THINKING MEN was reviewed at Where the Writer Comes to Write

Here at Fair Dinkum HQ

2 Aug – we announced the Ned Kelly Awards shortlists (and our tweeting of this post was the way at least 1 of the shortlisted authors discovered the news which was a nice thing for us but had me wondering why the authors weren’t told by the Awards organisers)

3 Aug we pondered our scoring of the various longlisted titles for the Ned Kelly Awards (in particular lamenting the absence of Adrian Hyland’s Gunshot Road from the list)

8 Aug – we shared our cautious optimism over the news the Guy Pearce is to play title role in two tele movies based on the first two novels of Peter Temple’s Jack Irish quartet

11 Aug – I reviewed Geoffrey McGeachin’s THE DIGGERS REST HOTEL: With down-to-earth, very believable characters and a strong, enveloping sense of place and time this is a top notch work of historical crime fiction.

14 Aug – I reviewed J D Cregan’s THE WONDER OF SELDOM SEEN: I enjoyed the book’s originality, mixture of light hearted whimsy and dramatic moments and found it easy to forgive the places where the plot was a little over the top or the internal logic was a bit off.

17 Aug – Kerrie reviewed Chris Womersley’s BEREFT:  which she found carefully crafted, demanding the reader’s full attention, and providing some arresting imagery but noted that crime and justice take a back seat.

25 Aug – Bernadette reviewed Kel Robertson‘s RIP OFF: funny, cleverly written and delightfully playful with the genre’s conventions

31 Aug – we posted the winners of the 2011 Ned Kelly Awards; thanks to tweeting by several ceremony attendees the post was published only a few minutes after the final award was announced

Hopefully you can all find something full of Aussie goodness amongst all of that. In case you’re looking for more I’ve added some new links on the links page (naturally, where else would one add links?)

If I missed your review of an Aussie crime fiction novel drop us a line at fairdinkum crime [at] gmail [dot] com, I use google alerts and RSS feeds to supply me with news but I have been known to hit mark all as read a bit too quickly some days 🙂 

A fair dinkum month – July 2011

Australian crime fiction in the news and on the web

Adrian Hyland‘s MOONLIGHT DOWNS (also published as DIAMOND DOVE depending on what part of the world you’re in) was reviewed at Seeing the World Through Books and Adrian was featured as a guest blogger at Murder is Everywhere, writing about his experiences with fire, most particularly the horrific bushfires that spread through the part of Australia where he lives a couple of years ago. The book that has resulted from that experience, KINGLAKE-350, is published today (1 August). I’ve talked about the book at my other blog (as it is neither crime nor fiction it doesn’t really belong here at Fair Dinkum).

Sydney-based crime fiction writer Barry Maitland was interviewed for the Sydney Writers’ Centre’s regular series of podcasts in which best-selling authors talk about the secrets of their success. The podcast runs for about 30 minutes and tackles a range of issues including making the transition from a different profession (Maitland was an architect before turning to full time writing in 2000), the importance of setting in creating his Brock & Kolla novels (which take place in London) and writing his first Australian-set novel, BRIGHT AIR.

Chris Womersley is interviewed by Shearer’s Books  after winning the Australian Book Industry’s Best Literary Fiction Award this year for BEREFT (the content of the short interview is interesting but the sound quality is pretty ordinary). Womersley gave an interesting definition of what separates literary fiction from ‘the rest’. Not one I’d heard before.

Derek Hansen‘s A MAN YOU CAN BANK ON was reviewed at Aust Crime Fiction

Garry Disher‘s latest Challis and Destry novel WHISPERING DEATH got a mention in The Australian‘s regular crime fiction wrap-up by Graeme Blundell, and is also discussed in the Hastings Leader

Gary Corby’s crime novel set in Ancient Greece, THE PERICLES COMMISSION, was reviewed at Aust Crime Fiction

Jennifer Rowe‘s first adult crime novel in more than 10 years, LOVE, HONOUR AND O’BRIEN, was reviewed at Aust Crime Fiction

The audio version of Kerry Greenwood‘s DEAD MAN’S CHEST (the 18th Phryne Fisher novel) was reviewed at Aust Crime Fiction

Malla Nunn‘s A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO DIE was reviewed at Crime Scraps

Michael Duffy‘s THE SIMPLE DEATH was reviewed at Aust Crime Fiction

Michael Robotham‘s latest novel THE WRECKAGE was reviewed in the New York Times and at Crime Down Under and  Murder by Type. His earlier novel, BLEED FOR ME, scored a review at Between the Lines. Though I’ll take issue with the last paragraph in which the reviewer says Robotham does British crime writers great credit! – he’s ours 🙂

Sulari Gentill‘s A DECLINE IN PROPHETS was reviewed at Aust Crime Fiction

Here at Fair Dinkum HQ

2 Jul  –  we posted details of this year’s Ned Kelly Awards ceremony to be held as part of the Melbourne Writer’s Festival

5 Jul  –  Bernadette reviewed 2011 debut author Alan Carter‘s PRIME CUT (4.5 out of 5 stars)

10 Jul –  Bernadette posted a review of Phillip Gywnne‘s THE BUILD UP (5 out of 5 stars)

14 Jul – Kerrie posted a review of Geoffrey McGeachin‘s THE DIGGER’S REST HOTEL (4.8 out of 5 stars)

15 Jul – Bernadette posted a review of P.D. Martin‘s KISS OF DEATH (3 out of 5 stars)

21 Jul – Bernadette posted a review of Chris Womersley‘s BEREFT (didn’t give it a rating, had conflicted feelings about this one)

26 Jul – Bernadette posted a review of Kerry Greenwood‘s DEAD MAN’S CHEST (3.5 out of 5 stars)

30 Jul – Bernadette posted a review of Angela Savage‘s THE HALF CHILD (4 out of 5 stars)

31 Jul – Bernadette Posted her thoughts on this year’s Sisters in Crime Reader’s Choice award.