There’s no better time of year for a good crime novel than winter, with a chill in the air and the dark settling in quickly at night making the perfect atmospherics for reading a good murder story.
The incredible success of Australian Jane Harper’s debut crime novel The Dry over the past year is one example of the fantastic new Australian crime authors being published at the moment.
Three recent debut Australian books getting great reviews are Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey, Mark Brandis’ Wimmera and Get Poor Slow by David Free.
Dark Lake and Wimmera are set in rural Australia and focus on things from the past coming to the surface again. In Dark Lake, the body of a young teacher is found murdered in a lake and local policewoman, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock, is put in charge of the case.
What she is hiding, however, is the fact that she knew the victim from when they were in high school together. As the investigation continues, other things she is keeping hidden start to emerge, making for a deeply suspenseful and thrilling read.
The district of Wimmera is the setting for Mark Brandi’s book of the same name, the manuscript of which won the 2016 Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award.
This taut and vivid crime thriller, set in 1989, follows the adventures of two young mates growing up in a small country town. Both are dealing with some tough issues at home and then a stranger comes to town, unsettling their lives even further.
One of the boys, Fab, stays living in town as he gets older, and when a body is found in the local river, he finds himself unable to ignore the past. Brandis does a great job in creating the feel of living in a small rural community, especially when dark secrets come hurtling back to haunt Fab later in life.
The debut crime novel by literary critic, David Free, comes with a fantastic endorsement from Clive James, who gives Get Poor Slow a terrific wrap. This witty and sharp thriller is based around the character of literary reviewer, Ray Saint, who is drawn into investigating the murder of a woman, a young publishing assistant, who he was the last person to see alive.
Maybe some of these new authors will in time become as successful as our most celebrated crime writer Michael Robotham, who crime-reading fans will be delighted to know also has a new book just out, The Secrets She Keeps.