August 2020

Health/Medicine

How to Survive a Pandemic by Michael Greger MD

  Reviewed by Ian Lipke I expect a dry treatise. Instead, I find a warm, welcoming publication, chockfull of information that is free of esoteric jargon. This is a book written for the general reader. There is no hint of a patronising tone, yet the subject matter is deep. I understand virtually everything I read

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2020 International Booker Prize

  The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar and translated by Anonymous  is shortlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize, the only Iranian-Australian author to ever be nominated for this huge achievement. The prize money is divided equally between the author and translator. The novel is published by Wild Dingo Press and has

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Non-Fiction

The Awful Truth by Adrian Tame

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders Talk about culture shock. A young man arrives from England and immediately goes to work with a bunch of hard drinking, hard swearing journalists who make no bones about their dislike for poms. Nevertheless, by lunchtime on the first day he has managed to sink below their low standards and become

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Crime/Mystery

Still Life by Val McDermid

Reviewed by Rod McLary The title of this latest thriller from Val McDermid may conjure up for a new reader images of paintings of fruit and flowers by the Old Masters.  If that is what has happened, then it is not entirely wide of the mark.  Paintings and artists do appear in the novel but

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General Fiction

State Highway One by Sam Coley

Reviewed by Rod McLary It is always exciting to read the first published book of a new author.  Sam Coley is the author of this book describing a road trip undertaken by Alex and his twin sister Amy following the sudden death of their parents.  The circumstances which lead to the road trip and the

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Crime/Mystery

The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve More than thirty novels later, Ann Cleeves has presented her millions of followers with another thrilling tale – this time featuring, for the ninth time, Vera Stanhope. Her skill does not seem to falter.  With apparent ease, Ann Cleeves has written an engrossing crime novel which, although it has the time-honoured

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Non-Fiction

Fake Law by The Secret Barrister

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Fake Law opens with astonishing examples of the vagaries of recent legal outcomes.  Courts in the UK had ruled that babies afflicted with rare medical conditions could not be kept alive on life support because their treatment would be exorbitant to the NHS, according to media reports. News outlets also reported

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Crime/Mystery

The Dirty South by John Connolly

Reviewed by Ian Lipke New readers of John Connolly, if such exist, will find the writer’s style annoying, even frustrating. He uses a multiplicity of words when fewer would have done the job. Born in Dublin in 1968, John Connolly’s first book Every Dead Thing launched his career in a spectacular start. He was in

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Non-Fiction

GriffithReview69 – The European Exchange

Reviewed by Gerard Healy The overall theme of this collection are the many connections between Europe and Australia from cultural, historical and artistic viewpoints. Many of the writers reflect on their families’ immigrant experiences and the perspectives they’ve gained from that. This Griffith Review, like most previous ones, includes essays, memoirs, fiction and poetry as

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Crime/Mystery

When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Fiona Cummins has produced a winner with the publication of her When I Was Ten. She shows that somewhere in a society like ours – or indeed in ours – evil flourishes beneath the bland, smiling faces of people we would never suppose to be anything but good. In like vein

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History

Hitler’s Northern Utopia by Despina Stratigakos

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Hitler’s Northern Utopia addresses a hitherto unresearched aspect of the already extensive literature on Nazism, and that is architecture in a distant place like Norway. A decided paucity of exposure in the literature is undoubtedly due to a lack of specific knowledge among the relatively small number of mainstream historians whose

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Crime/Mystery

The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The Girl in the Mirror has been described as ‘an addictive thriller about greed, lust, secrets, and deadly lies.’ You’d better believe it. And I mustn’t give too much away. It is that type of yarn that makes readers want to share its secrets. This story is about a set of

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Memoir/Biography

Paul Kelly by Stuart Coupe

Reviewed by Rod McLary I came to this biography of Paul Kelly knowing only a little about his music – as in From Little Things Big Things Grow – and even less about the man.  The subtitle of the biography is ‘The man, the music and the life in between’ but it doesn’t entirely meet

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Buried by Lynda La Plante

Reviewed by Ian Lipke In the longevity stakes Lynda La Plante has no equal. I remember reading the first volume of Prime Suspect as a young man, never realizing that it would be the first of a gripping series. Before we knew it, there were televised versions of most of the Prime Suspect series. Lynda

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The Viennese Girl by Jenny Lecoat

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke The author of this novel, Jenny Lecoat, is a veteran writer. Yet, The Viennese Girl (Hedy’s War), is her debut novel. Since the 1990s, Jenny Lecoat has been a professional screen writer in various formats. Prior to this time, she made a name for herself as one of the first female

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