October 2023

General Fiction

The In Between by Christos Tsiolkas

Reviewed by Rod McLary Christos Tsiolkas is a powerful writer – his prose is often strong and confronting and he does not shy away from vivid descriptions of sexual desire.  One needs only to consider Damascus in which the author unflinchingly sets out Saul’s lusts and society’s cruelty towards women and children; or his first

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Non-Fiction

The Locked-Up Country by Tom Chodor and Shahar Hameiri

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders COVID, it seems, is back on the political agenda. The Australian government in September 2023 announced an “independent” and ”eminent” panel to review the Commonwealth’s handling of the recent pandemic. Hot on those heels is the release of a book which assesses in depth the totality of Australia’s COVID response. The

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Children

Eddie Woo’s Wonderful World of STEM

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke This 224-page book, which resembles a textbook in size, has a busy cover in blue and yellow. As well as presenting the title of the book in large letters, it is decorated with science and maths symbols with a picture of the author tucked into the bottom lefthand corner of the

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Crime/Mystery

The Drowning by Bryan Brown

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke In 2021, Bryan Brown, a well-known Australian actor, published a book of short stories, Sweet Jimmy, which was also available as an audio book narrated by Brown. His first novel, The Drowning, is to be published in the latter part of 2023. As an actor he has performed in over eighty

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Children

Walk With Us by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Inspired by the Uluru Statement from the Heart this book is an invitation to go on a journey together with family, friends and First Nations people. It is one of a set of children’s books belonging to a Welcome to Our Country series to connect young children, parents and teachers with

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Crime/Mystery

The Secret Hours by Mick Herron

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Mick Herron has become synonymous with brilliant depictions of British bureaucracy at its most farcical, politicians egregiously self-interested and the ever looming presence of MI5, sometimes wielding its sway over ministers or turning its destructive eye on its own operatives. The world he has created is dark, cynical, and alarming at

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History

Hands of Time by Rebecca Struthers

Reviewed by Richard Tutin There is an old hymn that describes time as being like an ever-rolling stream that bears all of us away. Rebecca Struthers captures this neatly as she takes us on a journey through the history of time. Her experience and expertise as a watchmaker put her in a unique position to

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2023 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

Creative Australia has today announced the 2023 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlists, which recognise and celebrate the outstanding literary talents of established and emerging Australian writers, illustrators, poets, and historians. The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards acknowledge the contribution of Australian literature to the nation’s cultural and intellectual life. This is the first year that the

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Crime/Mystery

West Heart Kill by Dann McDorman

Reviewed by Rod McLary From the title of the front page through to the last word on the last page, this is a novel which bends the genre of crime novels in all directions without once losing its momentum or coherence.  Even the title itself – West Heart Kill – is a mystery.  What exactly

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Crime/Mystery

Stop Them Dead by Peter James

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Peter James is enormously successful. His crime fiction has been translated into 37 languages and together have sold over 21,000,000 copies. This most recent novel, featuring detective Roy Grace stationed in the county of Sussex, is an example of how he continues to attract a worldwide legion of admirers. It begins

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General Fiction

Stone Yard Devotional by Charlotte Wood

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Charlotte Wood has won accolades for her previous work and her tenth novel will surely win superlatives too. It is set in the harsh landscape of the Monaro, where she spent her childhood. The narrator remains unnamed but a complex thoughtful woman emerges nonetheless. She abandons her marriage to husband, Alex,

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Non-Fiction

grandparents by Michael Carr-Gregg

Reviewed by Gerard Healy This a handy guide for those fortunate enough to be expecting or already have grandchildren. It covers a comprehensive range of topics and is written in a clear manner by an experienced adolescent psychologist, Michael Carr-Gregg. The book is well structured with sequential chapters focusing on a child’s development. We go

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Non-Fiction

Grounded by James Canton

Reviewed by Richard Tutin Have you ever visited a place where, on arrival, you feel completely at home? If so, then you could be said to have become grounded. The idea of finding a place or places where the busyness of everyday life can be put to one side in favour of some quiet solitude

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Crime/Mystery

The Rescue by Andy McNab

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders There is something gripping about a true story that is hard to match in fiction. Knowing that the events took place and that real people experienced them, brings an edge to the narrative. The more so for The Rescue because it is recent history and many of the central figures are

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Crime/Mystery

Past Lying by Val McDermid

Reviewed by Rod McLary After two books in a new series featuring journalist Allie Burns [1979 and 1989 ], Val McDermid has returned to a favourite protagonist Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie head of the Historical Cases Unit of Police Scotland.  DCI Pirie has been the primary character in six previous books.  The author has

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