My #Review of the outstanding new novel #DeadMansCreek by #ChrisHammer @hammerNow published by @Wildfirebks on 05.01.2023

Newly-minted homicide detective Nell Buchanan returns to her hometown, annoyed at being assigned a decades-old murder – a “file and forget”.

But this is no ordinary cold case, her arrival provoking an unwelcome and threatening response from the small-town community. As more bodies are discovered, and she begins to question how well she truly knows those closest to her, Nell realises that finding the truth could prove more difficult – and dangerous – than she’d ever expected.

The nearer Nell comes to uncovering the secrets of the past, the more treacherous her path becomes. Can she survive to root out the truth, and what price will she have to pay for it?

First, thank you so much to Zoe at Headline for sending me the lush Proof of Dead Mans Creek.

Dead Mans Creek is the second book in Detective Nell Buchanan and Detective Sergeant Ivan Lucic series, so if you want to read them in order, The first book is Opal Country.

Upon opening the book I find a map, this always makes me excited, I’m a real sucker for maps in books, and I did indeed come back to it many times whilst reading Dead Mans Creek.

I have to say having read all of Chris Hammer’s novels I think this might just be his most accomplished and perfect crime novel. The storyline is brilliant involving present-day investigations into a skeleton being found in a reservoir where an eco-terrorist has blown up a dam, and also moving back in time throughout Dead Mans Creek to slowly give us the events that have led up to the body being found. The story is complicated and gripping, Chris Hammer has such a great way of describing his characters and making them so realistic they just jump off the page.

The setting for Dead Mans Creek is the fictional Tulong and the Millewa – Barmah Forest, and the way Chris writes the description of the Forest and its wildlife, creeks, and grassy plains is so magical, it really bought the pages to life, and you can see what a beautiful place it is in your imagination. It is a real place that Chris has visited and this tells by his writing.

The plot is intricate and involves 50 years of family history, and again this is written so so well, it’s easy to follow again to my surprise at the end of Dead Mans Creek is a family tree, which I found really helpful.

I was totally immersed in the story of Dead Mans Creek, I love Nell Buchanan’s character and Ivan Lucic, in Dead Mans Creek, we see newly promoted homicide Detective, Nell Buchanan lead the investigations in her hometown, and it gets pretty risky, in the end, she uncovers old truths that have been kept secret for so many years, and have a rippling effect on several families.

I loved Dead Mans Creek, and I loved that there are references to Martin Scarsden, and Chris Hammer’s other series of novels. I was gripped from the first page and as with every book I read by Chris Hammer, I didn’t want it to end! The ending was brilliant and I really think that this is the most perfectly written crime novel.

I will be giving Dead Mans Creek 5 stars, it’s a must-read when it’s released in January 2023.

Chris Hammer was a journalist for more than thirty years, dividing his career between covering Australian federal politics and international affairs. For many years he was a roving foreign correspondent for SBS TV’s flagship current affairs program Dateline. He has reported from more than thirty countries on six continents. Chris’s non-fiction book, The River, published in 2010 to critical acclaim, was the recipient of the ACT Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Walkley Book Award. Scrublands, his first novel, was published in 2018 and was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Debut Dagger Award, Best Debut Fiction at the Indie Book Awards, and Best General Fiction at the ABIA Awards. It has also been longlisted for the Ned Kelly Best Crime Novel of the Year. Scrublands was optioned for television by Easy Tiger (a FremantleMedia company). Chris has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Charles Sturt University and a master’s degree in international relations from the Australian National University. He lives in Canberra with his wife, Dr Tomoko Akami. The couple have two children.

You can follow Chris Hammer on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

Chris Hammer has his own WEBSITE

You can BUY Dead Mans Creek HERE

My #Review of #TheStoning by #PeterPapathanasiou @peteplastic @maclehosepress

A small town in outback Australia wakes to an appalling crime.

A local schoolteacher is found taped to a tree and stoned to death. Suspicion instantly falls on the refugees at the new detention center on Cobb’s northern outskirts. Tensions are high, between whites and the local indigenous community, and between immigrants and the townies.

Still mourning the recent death of his father, Detective Sergeant George Manolis returns to his childhood hometown to investigate. Within minutes of his arrival, it’s clear that Cobb is not the same place he left. Once it thrived, but now it’s a poor and derelict dusthole, with the local police chief it deserves. And as Manolis negotiates his new colleagues’ antagonism, and the simmering anger of a community destroyed by alcohol and drugs, the ghosts of his past begin to flicker to life.

Vivid, pacy and almost dangerously atmospheric, The Stoning is the first in a new series of outback noir featuring DS Manolis, himself an outsider, and a good man in a world gone to hell.

The Stoning by Peter Papathanasiou had been on my bookshelf for quite a while, but I finally managed to pick it up last week and make a start.

As a huge lover of Australian Crime Fiction Noir (think Chris Hammer or Jane Harper), I was eager to see what Mr. Papathanaious could bring to the table.

Well, he really hits it out of the park with The Stoning, it’s a sumptuously described novel set in the tiny hamlet of Cobb, in the outback of Australia, once a fine thriving town, now a dead-end place full of dustballs, kangaroos and drunks, and druggies plus The Immigration Centre, a stark square building plonked in the middle of nowhere. that’s a political time bomb within the community.

And this is what our novel revolves around, a woman is found apparently Stoned to death, and this has a huge impact on the fractured society of Cobb. We follow Detective George Manolis, and his quest to find the truth amongst rumors, racism, hate, bigotry, and the simmering anger of the inhabitants of Cobb.

The story was bloody gripping and I instantly loved several of the characters including George Manolis and Andrew Sparrow a local Gay Aboriginal Copper. The language is authentic, the descriptions of the setting are utterly engaging and on fire, and you can feel the heat and the flies. The dialogue between the characters is just stunning, it reads like a movie it is so vivid and gritty.

It’s a tense, medium-paced thriller that is dark and littered with Political references that make it an outstanding debut.

I look forward to the follow-up once it arrives, suffice to say this is a 5-star read, and Peter Papathanaious is on my favorite author’s list!

Peter Papathanasiou was born in northern Greece in 1974 and adopted as a baby to an Australian family. His debut book, a memoir, was published in 2019 as “Son of Mine” by Salt Publishing (UK) and “Little One” by Allen & Unwin (Australia). His debut novel, a work of crime fiction, was published in 2021 as “The Stoning” by MacLehose Press (UK) and Transit Lounge (Australia), and in 2022 by Polar Verlag (Germany). Peter’s writing has otherwise been published by The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Seattle Times, The Guardian UK, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Good Weekend, ABC and SBS. He holds a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from City, University of London; a Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences from The Australian National University (ANU); and a Bachelor of Laws from ANU specializing in criminal law.

You can follow Peter Papathanasiou on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

You can BUY Peter’s books HERE

My #Review of #TheBay #AllieReynolds @AuthorAllieR published by @headlinepg on 23.06.2022

The waves are to die for. It’s a paradise they’d kill to keep.

There’s a darkness inside all of us and The Bay has a way of bringing it out. Everyone here has their secrets but we don’t go looking for them. Because sometimes it’s better not to know.

Kenna arrives in Sydney to surprise her best friend, shocked to hear she’s going to marry a guy she’s only just met. But Mikki and her fiancé Jack are about to head away on a trip, so Kenna finds herself tagging along for the ride.

Sorrow Bay is beautiful, wild and dangerous. A remote surfing spot with waves to die for, cut off from the rest of the world. Here Kenna meets the mysterious group of people who will do anything to keep their paradise a secret. Sky, Ryan, Clemente and Victor have come to ride the waves and disappear from life. How will they feel about Kenna turning up unannounced?

As Kenna gets drawn into their world, she sees the extremes they are prepared to go to for the next thrill. And everyone seems to be hiding something. What has her best friend got involved in and how can she get her away? But one thing is rapidly becoming clear about The Bay: nobody ever leaves.

I absolutely loved Allie Reynolds first novel , Shiver so I have been impatiently waiting for The Bay to arrive and when it did (thank you Headline Books) I let out a little scream!

The Bay is an exciting, tense, claustrophobic and gripping novel. Set in Australia the descriptions of the surroundings really made me feel like I was there ( I’ve never been), and I loved the claustrophobic feel to this novel. It is a rare talent that a writer can make you feel penned in within the words of a novel, Allie Reynolds does this perfectly dare I say it her talent for this is is almost Agatha Christiesque! ( I made that word up!)

The novel is set amongst a group of people and revolves around surfing, now I have no knowledge of surfing but in The Bay, the language is easy to understand and indeed the spectacular way Allie Reynolds describes the feelings when surfing a wave or being under water were so vivid I can still see them in my minds eye now days after reading The Bay.

The cast of characters are all well written and easy to believe in, as is the storyline and plot…. There are many red herrings until we get to the final climax at the end, and I didn’t see that ending coming!

If you like your crime fiction to be vivid in its depictions and you like a locked room mystery, then you will love The Bay… I’m sure this will be a Summer Bestseller when it comes out on June 23rd.

An all round exciting and brilliant read, 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️,s from me!


About Allie Reynolds
Allie Reynolds’ debut thriller SHIVER is about a small group of former snowboarder friends at an isolated mountaintop reunion, high in the French Alps. SHIVER has sold in 24 territories to date and will be translated into 23 languages. The TV option has sold to Firebird Pictures.
Her second thriller THE BAY (UK, ANZ) / THE SWELL (USA) is set on a remote Australian beach and will be published in June 2022.
Born and raised in Lincoln, England, Allie moved to Gold Coast, Australia in 2004. She lives near the beach with her two young boys.
Many years ago she competed at snowboard halfpipe. She spent five winters in the mountains of France, Switzerland, Austria and Canada. These days she sticks to surfing – water doesn’t hurt as much as ice when you fall on it.
Her first ever job was a Saturday job in a bookstore, at age 14. She taught English for many years and became a full-time writer in 2018.

You can Pre-Order The Bay HERE

You can follow Allie Reynolds on TWITTER. INSTAGRAM. FACEBOOK

My #Review of #OpalCountry by @hammerNow published by @Wildfirebks….OUT ON 6th JANUARY 2022

OPAL COUNTRY BY CHRIS HAMMER

Opals…

In the desolate outback town of Finnigans gap, police struggle to maintain law and order. Thieves pillage opal mines, religious fanatics recruit vulnerable youngsters and billionaires do as they please.

Bodies…


Then an opal miner is found crucified and left to rot down his mine. Nothing about the miner’s death is straight-forward, not even who found the body. Homicide detective Ivan Lucic is sent to investigate, assisted by inexperienced young investigator Nell Buchanan.

But Finnigans Gap has already ended one police career and damaged others, and soon both officers face damning allegations and internal investigations. Have Ivan and Nell been set up, and if so, by whom?

Secrets…

As time runs out, their only chance at redemption is to find the killer. But the more they uncover, the more harrowing the mystery becomes, and a past long forgotten is thrown into scorching sunlight.

Because in Finnigans Gap, nothing stays buried for ever.

I’ve loved every book so far by Chris Hammer, and am so thrilled to have been given the opportunity to review Opal Country by the publishers Wildfire Books. Thank you so much. 🙏

We start the story in the outback of Australia, at night, with a team of ratters entering a mine in the dead of night, what they find is a hideously crucified, Christ-like, corpse instead of Opals and makes them retreat pretty sharpish!

We then follow Detective Sergeant Ivan Lucic, who as a homicide, detective has travelled from Sydney to investigate the horrible murder.

Chris Hammer manages to weave a really complex storyline involving Opal mining, family, murder, corporate espionage, revenge and the ending of Police Careers, into a phenomenal story, that had me guessing right up to the end as to whom the culprit was, and more importantly why?

The way Chris writes about Australia, the shimmering heat, the oppressiveness of a small town, the community divided by gossip, fears and history is without a doubt brilliant. I could feel myself getting sweaty and anxious in some parts with the relentless sun beating own onto Finnegans Creek.

There are some players from the previous novels in here, even though it’s a standalone, but that just makes it all the better!

And the inclusion of a Map always means it will be a great book in my experience!

Another fantastic 5 ⭐️ start slice of Aussie Noir from the master or Australian Crime Writing, in my opinion.

Finnegans Gap

CHRIS HAMMER – is a leading Australian crime fiction novelist, author of international bestsellers Scrublands, Silver and Trust.

His new standalone novel, Treasure & Dirt, will be published in Australia and New Zealand in September 2021 and internationally, as Opal Country, from early 2022.

Scrublands was an instant bestseller upon publication in 2018, topping the Australian fiction charts.

It was shortlisted for major writing awards in Australia, the UK and the United States. In the UK it was named the Sunday Times Crime Novel of the Year 2019 and won the prestigious UK Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award.

Scrublands, Silver and Trust all feature troubled journalist Martin Scarsden and his partner Mandalay Blonde, while Treasure & Dirt follows Homicide detectives Ivan Lucic and Nell Buchanan.

All four books are notable for their atmospheric Australian settings, range of colourful characters, intricate plots, descriptive language and emotional depth.

Before turning to fiction, Chris was a journalist for more than thirty years. He reported from more than 30 countries on six continents for SBS TV. In Canberra, roles included chief political correspondent for The Bulletin, senior writer for The Age and Online Political Editor for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Chris has written two non-fiction books The River (2010) – winner of the ACT Book of the Year – and The Coast (2012), published by Melbourne University Press.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Charles Sturt University and a master’s degree in International Relations from the Australian National University. He lives in Canberra, Australia.

Chris Hammer

You can follow Chris on Twitter @hammerNow

Chris Hammer’s website – https://chrishammerauthor.com/

My Review of #TheInheritance by @gobergmoser published by @FaberBooks

OUT ON 4TH NOVEMBER 2021
The Inheritance locks the reader in the trunk and puts the pedal to the metal for twenty-two blistering chapters.’ Jack Heath The author of the bestselling The Hunted returns… A young woman is hiding out in a sleepy North Queensland tourist town, trying to stay under the radar, when she stumbles across a dangerous drug cartel. Anyone else might back away, pretend they haven’t seen anything, keep quiet, but Maggie is no ordinary girl. She has to get out of town – fast. She heads towards Melbourne, where she just might find the answers she needs: about her mother, her past and the sins of her father. With a dubious cop as her ally, the police tracking her and a dangerous biker gang on their trail, Maggie’s troubles are doubling down fast. ‘A heroine you can’t look away from, pure thrills and wallop, wilder and gamier than your average Aussie noir, this is fierce storytelling.’ Kyle Perry
Publisher: Faber & Faber
ISBN: 9780571372362
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 240 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 17 mm
Edition: Main

Thank you so much to Faber Books for my early copy of Gabriel Bergmoser’s new Thriller ‘The Inheritance’

A new author to me, and I wasn’t sure what to expect but Holy Moley this book is amazingly gripping and what a bloody thrill ride! ( when I say bloody I mean bloody!)

The main character, Maggie, is a fantastically written woman, she’s damaged and on the run with no one to trust but herself and I loved her! She is the woman I would be if I was in the same situation,kick arse, downright mad, bad and dangerous! A true loveable anti-heroine!

The plot is twisty and keeps you thinking, what can happen next, it doesn’t let you go, it beats you over the head with theories and surprises, and twists, that I never saw coming! And in all that action some wonderful writing, on damaged human beings, and the impact of abuse, trauma and a loveless childhood, which I didn’t expect, very very cleverly written I’m my humble opinion!

For those of you with a weak disposition, I will warn you there are some chunder moments 🤮, BUT they fit in the story perfectly and it runs like a movie, and although I did gag a couple of times, I love that writers can give us such real feelings!

Overall a brilliant, explosive, thriller set in Australia, bent cops, bikies, double crossing people, chasing the same thing and then the final twists, I really loved The Inheritance, so much so that I NEED to read The Hunted immediately!

10 out of 10 stars from me! ⭐️🤩

Gabriel Bergmoser is a Melbourne based author and playwright. After starting out in the youth theatre scene with his early plays Windmills, Life Without Me and Hometown, Gabriel completed his Masters of Screenwriting at the Victorian College of the Arts. He co-founded the independent production company Bitten By Productions, entering the Melbourne theatre scene with the one-act comedy Reunion and the futuristic Babylon Trilogy of noir thrillers. Gabriel’s 2015 Beatles comedy We Can Work It Out opened to sell out shows and rave reviews – it has also been performed in Queensland and returned to Melbourne stages for the 2018 Fringe Festival.

In 2015 he won the prestigious Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award for his pilot screenplay based on Windmills and was flown to the International Emmys in New York to accept. The same pilot was later nominated for the Monte Miller Award. In 2016 his first young adult novelBoone Shepard, was published by Bell Frog Books; it was later shortlisted for the Readings Young Adult Prize the day after the sequelBoone Shepard’s American Adventure was released. The third book, Boone Shepard: The Silhouette and the Sacrifice, was released in 2018.

His 2016 plays The Lucas ConundrumRegression and The Critic opened to excellent reviews while his early 2017 play Springsteen sold out its entire season. His play Heroes was nominated for the 2017 Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama Writing and went on to win several awards, including five for Best Production and three for best script, on the 2017 VDL One Act Play Festival circuit. His first musical, Moonlite (featuring original songs by Dan Nixon) was performed as part of the 2018 Midsumma Festival; it received rave reviews, sold out its entire season, and was later selected for the highly sought after Home Grown Grassroots development initiative. His 2019 play, The Trial of Dorian Graysold out its entire season, was extended, then sold out again. Several of his plays have been published by Australian Plays. 

In 2019 Gabriel signed a two book deal with Harper Collins, with the first, The Hunted, published in July 2020 and the second, The Inheritance, following in July 2021. The Hunted was published in the UK by Faber and to date has been translated into Greek, French, Italian, German, Bulgarian and Danish. The film adaptation is currently being developed in a joint production between Stampede Ventures and Vertigo Entertainment in Los Angeles, with Gabriel writing the screenplay. He has since signed a second two book deal with Harper for his YA coming of age novel The True Colour of a Little White Lie and a follow up – The True Colour of a Little White Lie is also currently in development as a feature film with Pirate Size Productions

Gabriel has worked in writer’s rooms for Beyond Entertainment, Werner Film Productions, Pirate Size Productions and Balloon Tree Productions. In 2020 he wrote an episode of the pre-school ABC TV series Pencil Pals and created the web-series The Pact, which was produced entirely remotely during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

Twitter: @gobergmoser
Instagram: @gobergmoser