September 2022

General Fiction

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve It is an exceptional ability in an author to be able to convincingly and seamlessly blend fact and fiction in order to produce books as brilliant as the late Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy.  Maggie O’Farrell, with her latest novel, The Marriage Portrait, has demonstrated that she too possesses this to

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Non-Fiction

August in Kabul by Andrew Quilty

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders The withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in August 2021 left a vacuum that was instantly filled by the Taliban – intimidating militia who had been forcibly ousted from government two decades before. In the preceding days and weeks, many of the 5 million residents of Kabul lived with unremitting chaos

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General Fiction

A Million Kisses in your Lifetime by Monica Murphy

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Told from dual first-person perspectives (Crew and Wren) this book follows a developing relationship between Lancaster Prep Boarding School eighteen-year-olds Crew Lancaster and Wren Beaumont. Crew Lancaster belongs to a family that owns the school. (I know of no situation where a school is owned by a family – I could

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Non-Fiction

If Nietzsche Were A Narwhal by Justin Gregg

Reviewed by E. B. Heath Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil. Nietzsche, F. W. (1894) As far as this reader is concerned Justin Gregg is preaching to the choir in his conviction that cognition and the subjective experience of animals are much the same as humans, albeit not as complex. 

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Fantasy/Science Fiction

Fairy Tale by Stephen King

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Another story by Stephen King – a tale of an ordinary boy who is an average student academically but something of a legend at sport. It is his misfortune that his mother was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and his father attempted to drown his grief in

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Crime/Mystery

My Darling Daughter by JP Delaney

Reviewed by Rod McLary As he did with his previous novel Playing Nice, JP Delaney confronts the intricacies of the child welfare laws.  This time though, through telling the story of Anna, he deconstructs adoption law in England and adopted children’s right of access to their birth parents’ history through what is called a ‘Later

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Academic

The Church of Saint Thomas Paine by Leigh Eric Schmidt

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Thomas Paine, though discarded somewhat these days, was a seventeenth century philosopher with an interest in the church, the place of God in people’s lives, and an upstart crew of religious people who threw down a challenge to the clergy and their traditions. The latest book to appear on the shelves

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Academic

Whispering Jack by Graeme Turner

Reviewed by Richard Tutin  John Farnham is one of the most respected and popular musical artists in Australia. Many of us have grown up listening to his music and enjoying his live concerts. Yet, as Graeme Turner explains in his book Whispering Jack, there was a time when Farnham, though popular, was not taken seriously

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Crime/Mystery

Desperation in Death by J. D. Robb

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke According to the Media Release, Nora Roberts published her first novel using the pseudonym J. D. Robb in 1995. Since then, the In Death series of books has sold over sixty-six million copies. Each new novel in this series usually reaches the number one best seller charts the world over. I

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Crime/Mystery

Exiles by Jane Harper

Reviewed by Rod McLary Where does one start with a review of a Jane Harper book?  Each of her previous novels has been hugely successful – both critically and commercially.  Each has been plotted meticulously and suspensefully with engaging characters [largely] and denouements which often catch the reader unawares.  Jane Harper’s latest novel Exiles is

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Crime/Mystery

Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Robert Harris’s new book has at its centre The Indemnity and Oblivion Act 1660, an Act of the English Parliament.  It was a general pardon for everyone who had committed crimes during the English Civil War and subsequent Commonwealth period, apart from certain serious crimes that were identified, and people named

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General Fiction

T by Alan Fyfe

Reviewed by Rod McLary T [or Timothy] is a tweaker – a slang term for someone who is addicted particularly to methamphetamines [or meth] – and is the protagonist of this uncompromising but lyrical novel describing the world inhabited by those who are dealing in or using – or both – illicit drugs.  Just as

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Memoir/Biography

Living in Hope by Frank Byrne

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Bruce Pascoe reminds Frank Byrne’s readers that “this is a very strong story of survival. A tragic reminder of the harshness and unfairness of the mission era but also the toughness and determination of our people”; while Jo Dutton writes that “Frank Byrne was a gentleman in every sense. He spoke softly

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Children

Dead Good Detectives by Jenny McLachlan

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The chief characters Sidonie (Sid) and Zennor (Zen) are good detectives- but definitely not dead, as the title suggests. It is a clever play on words, where ‘dead’ means, in current vernacular, excellent; but, at the same time, the clients for Sid and Zen are actually dead and fast fading away.

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