July 2021

Crime/Mystery

The Inheritance by Gabriel Bergmoser

Reviewed by Rod McLary When Gabriel Bergmoser’s previous novel The Hunted was reviewed in July 2020, and in these pages, the reviewer concluded his review by saying ‘I await impatiently the freshness of his new book’.  And now, here is the author’s new book The Inheritance continuing the story of Maggie as she hides out

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The Booker Prize 2021

The longlist for the 2021 Booker Prize was announced on Tuesday 27 July 2021. The 13 books on this year’s longlist were chosen by the 2021 judging panel: historian Maya Jasanoff (chair); writer and editor Horatia Harrod; actor Natascha McElhone; twice Booker-shortlisted novelist and professor Chigozie Obioma; and writer and former Archbishop Rowan Williams. The

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Crime/Mystery

The Last Guests by J. P. Pomare

Reviewed by Rod McLary J. P. Pomare has now written four novels – each a psychological thriller – and while different from each other in critical ways, they also have elements in common. Not the least of which are the protagonists’ subterfuge and obfuscations, and their blurring of the line between truth and fiction. The

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Children

Backyard Birdies by Andy Geppert

Reviewed by Richard Tutin Spending time in our backyards or going out into the parks and walkways have become the current pastimes for many people particularly with the Covid-19 restrictions that have come into force at various times over the past twelve to eighteen months. Adults as well as children have taken up these pursuits

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Crime/Mystery

The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding

Reviewed by Rod McLary Leo Tolstoy in Anna Karenina famously said ‘All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ The family in The Perfect Family – Thomas and Viv Adler and their children Eli and Tarryn – are one very unhappy family.  Confirming Tolstoy’s observation, the Adlers’ unhappiness is

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General Fiction

The Shut Ins by Katherine Brabon

Reviewed by E. B. Heath Loneliness Seeping into the rock Cicada’s voice Matsuo Basho Understanding yourself is hard enough but within the confines of a rigid culture, it becomes an exercise in excavation. It takes considerable effort to separate out deep inner aspirations and emotions from the norms of a culture and language in which

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Memoir/Biography

Daughter of the River Country by Dianne O’Brien

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The loss of her identity and its roots in her cultural heritage did not prevent Dianne O’Brien from rising above the trauma of her early years of life. She has become highly regarded for her work with struggling and disadvantaged people. Dianne, and those like her, hold the key to our

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General Fiction

The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin

Reviewed by E. B. Heath This novel is deceptively simple. It begins gradually, without drama or intrigue. You think about making a cup of coffee, unaware that momentum is piling up. Before you know it, you’re sitting on a roller coaster of compassion, caring, really caring, about Lynette. You follow her actions for two days

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Memoir/Biography

Gun to the Head by Keith Banks

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The title of this book would lead the reader to assume that, given the career of Keith Banks, the reference is to the dangerous work he assumed during his career, that he is referring literally to some gangster holding a gun to his head and threatening to shoot him. There is

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Psychology

The Devil You Know by Dr Gwen Adshead and Eileen Horne

Reviewed by E.B. Heath “Over the years, I’ve come to think of my patients as survivors of a disaster, where they are the disaster and my colleagues and I are the first responders.” The cover reeks of sensationalism – the title, embossed starkly over the face of a sad little boy, gives the impression of

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Non-Fiction

Mother of Invention by Katrine Marçal

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Armed with formidable research, which exposes repetitive examples throughout history where society’s attitude to gender roles has shaped or altered the economy, Katrine Marçal has provided fascinating evidence to support her book’s title. Karl Benz’s wife Bertha was the first to demonstrate the potential of her husband’s horseless-carriage. This was the

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Memoir/Biography

The Countess from Kirribilli by Joyce Morgan

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend Reading The Countess from Kirribilli is akin to falling into a rabbit hole situated within an elegantly landscaped garden, overlooking Sydney Harbour. The ‘fall’, through said rabbit hole, takes the form of a three-month voyage, after which readers and three-year-old Mary Annette Beauchamp step from La Hogue onto English soil in

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Upcoming Author Events

For those readers who like to meet their authors face-to-face, there are some upcoming events which offer you that opportunity. Avid Reader at West End offers a chance to meet two authors whose books have been reviewed in these pages. Mark Brandi – author of The Others as well as Wimmera and The Rip –

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General Fiction

The Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The title alone captures attention. The other side of beautiful could be many things, and in her fourth novel, Kim Lock has suggested some with a deftly assured and sensitive touch. Mercy Blain, a young woman in her thirties, has imprisoned herself in her home for two years, suffering crippling anxiety

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General Fiction

The Paris Collaborator by A. W. Hammond

Reviewed by Ian Lipke It’s an unusual opening to say the least. Auguste Duchene, former schoolteacher and proud Frenchman, in Paris in 1944, searching for and finding a missing baby, a German baby, offspring of a senior Nazi. It turns out that Duchene has found a means of survival, for he finds both French and

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