January 2021

Crime/Mystery

The Last Thing To Burn by Will Dean

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rites gave her readers a bleak, contrasty, horror-filled tale set in an unforgiving Arctic landscape, peopled by men and women as unbending as a frosty mountain spur. Now Will Dean, who lives in Sweden, has written a tale in the same vein, but set this time

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General Fiction

Memorial by Bryan Washington

Reviewed by Rod McLary Michael and Benson are two young men in Houston Texas and are struggling still to understand their relationship.  Are they a couple?  Should they even be together?  Mike and Ben don’t know the answers to these questions but before they can work them out, their world is turned upside down.  Mike

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Crime/Mystery

Dead Letters by Michael Brissenden

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Michael Brissenden: Output: two novels; Quality: awesome. Brissenden’s latest novel is a gem – an intellectually stimulating, satisfying, emotionally engaging crime and politics novel that attaches to the brain and, like some rabid dog, never lets go, until its provocative ending. The novel opens with a dramatic scene involving a hunted

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Crime/Mystery

Shiver by Allie Reynolds

Reviewed by Rod McLary Shiver is an apposite title for this debut novel by Allie Reynolds – evoking as it does fear, terror, fright, sexual tension and suspense.  Set in the French Alps, the novel sets out a short period of time in the lives of eight young people – Milla, Curtis, Brent, Saskia, Heather,

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Memoir/Biography

Like Father, Like Son by Michael Parkinson

Reviewed by Ian Lipke This book is regarded as more than simply a collection of reminiscences about Michael Parkinson’s father. The author sets out to record his father’s sporting obsessions, his sense of humour and his determination to produce a cricketer worthy of playing for Yorkshire. The book is intended to contain two viewpoints to

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Fantasy/Science Fiction

The Awakening by Nora Roberts

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Ms Roberts’s foray into a new trilogy is to be commended, given the high quality of her earlier works. The Awakening maintains the high standard we have come to expect. In this book, her command as the puppeteer is more evident than usual but in no way diminishes the quality. She

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2021 Indie Book Awards – Shortlists

SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED FOR THE 2021 INDIE BOOK AWARDS Celebrating the best Australian writing  Australian independent booksellers are thrilled to announce their Shortlist for the Indie Book Awards 2021, their favourite Australian books published in 2020. Two of the category shortlists for the Indie Book Awards 2021 are:  FICTION All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton

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Fantasy/Science Fiction

Hollow Empire by Sam Hawke

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Sometimes I wonder why authors decide to write sequels to a story that has already won a major award and gained acceptance by the reading public. I suppose some writers cannot help seeking more and more recognition. Others become slaves to their own publicity. (I wonder what drives Nora Roberts). In

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Memoir/Biography

The Puzzle Solver by Tracie White

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Tracie White, award winning journalist and a science writer for Stanford University, has used her skills to present the story of a scientist and his desperate hunt to cure Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) in the hope to save his son. The first four chapters of this book introduce the

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General Fiction

The Shearer’s Wife by Fleur McDonald

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke In her latest novel, The Shearer’s Wife, Fleur McDonald has once again given her readers an insight into life in Australia outside the big cities. First the readers are taken back to the 1980s where Rose and her Irish shearer husband Ian pull up at the Golden Fleece roadhouse in their

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Crime/Mystery

The Frenchman by Jack Beaumont

Reviewed by Ian Lipke To the ordinary reader the world of espionage is a world of mysterious characters, with extreme action and danger at every turn. Reading The Frenchman is an exciting experience that does little to dispel our preconceptions. The book’s structure is simple indeed. It consists of a series of episodes linked together

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General Fiction

The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr

 Reviewed by Rod McLary The Prophets is the debut novel by Robert Jones, Jr – a novel which at the same time explores the joy and the vicissitudes of love, the harsh cruelty of slavery and the significance of the wisdom and folk lore of ancestors. Set in Mississippi on a cotton plantation during the

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Non-Fiction

The Ways of the Bushwalker by Melissa Harper

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders Apparently, over five million Australians go bushwalking, so we must know what a bushwalker is…. well, don’t we? As it turns out, defining a bushwalker – let alone what he or she actually does – is not trivial. For some people, it is a heated topic. Even deciding the distance of

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Historical Fiction

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

Reviewed by Gerard Healy A great story by Paulette Jiles, set in Texas in the 1870s and featuring two captivating main characters. We follow the long, difficult journey back to her surviving relatives of ten-year-old Joanna Leonberger and elderly widower Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd. She has spent four years with the Kiowa tribe, who abducted

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General Fiction

Elizabeth & Elizabeth by Sue Williams

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Two powerful women – one the wife of the Number 1 man in the colony of New South Wales, Governor Lachlan Macquarie; the other married to the greatest landowner of the time, a man wined by Colonial Secretaries and blessed by bishops, John Macarthur. There should be plenty of scope for

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