February 2020

Crime/Mystery

The Holdout by Graham Moore

Reviewed by Ian Lipke So much like a re-make of Twelve Angry Men in literary form and so very, very different, Graham Moore’s thriller, with its devious, unexpected ending is likely to stand amongst the classics of suspenseful writing. Moore has published two other works, but neither of them has the impact that The Holdout

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Non-Fiction

The Girls by Chloe Higgins

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Some people believe that it is important for children to have pets as they get the opportunity to experience death and learn about the grieving process and that this will prepare them for the experience of losing a family member. Others believe that the grieving process is somehow innate in us

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Crime/Mystery

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

Reviewed by Rod McLary A father is stabbed to death in his bedroom by one of his two daughters – both of whom are in the house at the time, both have blood on them, both have their fingerprints on the weapon, and both call 9-1-1 and accuse the other of the crime.  Who is

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Crime/Mystery

The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Another detective series has now spawned a third volume featuring the trials and triumphs of its hero, Cormac Reilly, a sergeant, now in his early forties working in Galway, Ireland. The reading public, especially female, seems to have an unflagging attraction for thrillers, mysteries and police procedurals. When they have an

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Crime/Mystery

A Silent Death by Peter May

Reviewed by Gerard Healy Peter May’s crime thriller kept me engaged to the final scene on the rugged Rock of Gibraltar.  Most of the story is set, however, in nearby southern Spain where expat villain Jack Cleland is living under the radar.  After a fatal shooting, he comes to the attention of the local police

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Non-Fiction

How the Brain Lost its Mind by Allan Ropper and B.D. Burrell

Reviewed by E.B. Heath The title of this book belies the depth of intriguing knowledge therein.  Mind, brain, sex and hysteria!  My brain leapt towards Freud, without any bidding from my mind, and that is the last location I want either to visit.  How the Brain Lost its Mind: Sex, Hysteria and the Riddle of

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General Fiction

Great Australian Outback Trucking Stories by Bill ‘Swampy’ Marsh

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The author of this collection of tales has the pedigree of a raconteur and performer who has lived the life of the outback Australian. He has built a solid reputation as an authentic writer of tales of that part of the country, and has earned high regard as ‘a portrait painter

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General Fiction

The Helpline by Katherine Collette

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend A glum week, followed by a rainy weekend, is surely the best time for a lighthearted read.  Serendipitously, Germaine Johnson, a senior mathematician recently fired from Wallace Insurance, turned up.  She was on her way to an interview for a new job, carrying an enormous umbrella and wearing a disposable hooded

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Crime/Mystery

Bitter Wash Road by Garry Disher

Reviewed by Patricia Simms Reeve Reality, lacking glamour, is made stark with fine descriptions of heat, dust and struggling poverty. Wry humour softens the often-brutal honesty. Altogether this makes Bitter Wash Road an excellent example of Garry Disher’s writing. It was with alacrity that I began to read.  Having recently read and enjoyed the ironically

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Crime/Mystery

Without a Doubt by Fleur McDonald

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke For devotees of Fleur McDonald, the novel, Without a Doubt, may cause a slight confusion as the key character, detective Dave Burrows, has featured in many of her other books and in this one, things readers have previously learned about Dave, don’t seem to fit. The author explains this by clarifying

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Non-Fiction

The Neuro-Generation by Tan Le

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve This title, in itself, arrests the attention of the reader who is interested in the human brain, the most complex and unexplored area of the body, if not the planet. The book is a thriller of a very different nature, and, in under 300 pages, gives a glimpse of the advances

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General Fiction

Jane in Love by Rachel Givney

Reviewed by Ian Lipke People remain fascinated by a spinster with no apparent redeeming qualities who failed to fit in with her society’s Number One requirement of any woman of the time viz that she find herself a husband. She compounded her objectionability with her preference for reading and walking, and became the cynosure of

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General Fiction

Good Dogs Don’t Make It to the South Pole by Hans-Olav Thyvold

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The unusual title, Good Dogs Don’t Make it to the South Pole, might be considered a statement of the shortcoming of being a good dog. Reading this book, one realises that, in fact, a good dog is most fortunate in not attempting a polar expedition, especially if it shared the fate

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Young Adult

Euphoria Kids by Alison Evans

Reviewed by Rod McLary Towards the end of this book about gender and queerness, two of the characters have the following brief conversation – Do you know about gender euphoria? Is it just like, good feelings?  About gender? It’s like … the opposite of dysphoria. [201] Dysphoria is defined as ‘a state of unease with

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