Five new release books to get you through winter
PREY by L.A. LARKIN
CLAN DESTINE PRESS, RRP $29.95
This thriller is awash with blood and gore but it's also a must-read as investigative journalist Olivia Wolfe takes on a chilling international assassin and a syndicate of rhino poachers who have a lot to lose. Appropriately named Wolfe, who goes above and beyond her journalistic calling, can usually cover her back, armed with martial arts skills, knives, guns and cyber hackers on her team. As far-fetched as that may sound, Wolfe pushes the gripping action along at pace as she probes four murders and links in South Africa, England, Russia and Vietnam between politicians, billionaires and even a poor teacher. Apart from the bloodshed, this book will make you think more deeply about the cruel trade in southern Africa's rhino horns. This is the second book in Australian-based Louisa Larkin's Wolfe series - after her heroics in Afghanistan, Antarctica and a military base in Nevada - but it works well as a stand-alone novel too. Just let your stomach settle after dinner before tackling the gruesome bits.
VERDICT: MORE WOLFE WITH BITE
reviewed by Carina Bruce
THE DEAD LINE by HOLLY WATT
RAVEN BOOKS, RRP $30
The debut writer who won the CWA Steel Dagger for best thriller published in the UK in 2019 is back with a second book featuring investigative journalist Casey and her team, Miranda and Hessa. This time, they confront some of the worst abuses of the fashion industry, and the lengths some desperate couples will go to to have a baby. In both cases, the trail leads to Dhaka in Bangladesh. Casey's task is to connect a desperate message for help found sewn into a fashion garment made in one of Bangladesh's worst clothes factories, to a powerful Harley Street specialist who helps British couples desperate for a baby. The investigation takes her into the Rohingya refugee camps, where girls are stolen to become surrogates. Not all survive. The journalists also have their own issues - Miranda wonders what she will do to save her marriage, Casey deals with the fallout of a relationship that collapsed, and Hessa connects with a heritage she never knew. The sections that deal with the Rohingya women are the most moving in what is a dark story of the underside of Western gloss. CORINNA
reviewed by Corinna Hente
ON SECRETS by ANNIKA SMETHURST
HACHETTE, RRP $17
When News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst answered a knock at the door on June 4 last year, her life was turned upside down. Instead of the carpet cleaner she was expecting, five Australian Federal Police officers stood on her landing waiting to raid her apartment in connection to a story she had written 13 months earlier about a proposal to expand the powers of the Australian Signals Directorate. What ensued was a seven-hour examination of her apartment, where even her freezer and every page of her cookbooks was examined for any notes connected to the story. The raid thrust Smethurst into the unenviable role of poster girl for press freedom. And while the AFP may have recently ruled out charges, Smethurst spent almost a year with the threat of a possible jail term hanging over her head. It had a profound effect on her. This is a must read for anyone who believes in the value of press freedom.
VERDICT: READ ALL ABOUT IT
reviewed by Shelley Hadfield
BEACH READ by EMILY HENRY
PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE, RRP $16
Don't let the colourful cover or generic title fool you - Beach Read is a romantic tale of two very different writers, filled with humour, chemistry and true heart.
January, an established romance author, lives for swoony contemporary stories that end with happily-ever-afters. While Gus, a published literary author, is intent on documenting all the hardships and hurt life so often dishes out.
When the two meet (or I should say re-meet given they were college rivals), January is wrestling with writer's block after a family betrayal and Gus has long retreated into his own world to battle complications from his past.
In order to tackle their problems, the pair issue each other a challenge - write a novel in the other's genre.
Don't let the heavier subject matter plaguing our protagonists put you off. Beach Read is exceptionally funny and grounded in authenticity, providing the perfect counterbalance to Gus and January's life drama, and has all the light and bright interactions you expect from a love story.
Beach Read is a fully formed romance that should be added to your to-be-read list yesterday.
VERDICT: RELATABLE ROMANCE
reviewed by Elouise Tynan
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Another picture of MYSELF and MY BOOK to remind you that 1) beach read is officially out in the US tomorrow. You can get it just about anywhere, but might I recommend either your local indie bookstore, my local indie (link in bio), or bookshop.org where you can generally support indies across the country! I know full-price books aren’t an option for everyone. I get it. That’s one reason I was so glad this book would go straight to paperback and thus be at least a bit cheaper. Request from your library! Use up those audible credits! (Is that how audible works? I don’t know anything about anything except MS word). 2) tomorrow night at 7 Pm EST, one of my very best friends and occasional co-writer @skippingstones and I will be going live on insta to celebrate. We’d love for you to join in. Get fancy for no reason and come hang out. Describe your outfits to us in the comments or post a selfie with or without your copy of beach read and tag it #beachreadparty. Let’s pretend we’re on the sand and there’s a wonderful smelling bonfire going. 3) on wednesday at 12 PM ES, the lovely @laurahankin and I will be chatting over on the @booktrib Facebook page about my book and hers, HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT, and whatever else we have time for! Laura’s book is a current pick for @bookofthemonth so if you picked it, or are considering picking it up next month, come stop by!!! Over and out.
BURN by PATRICK NESS
WALKER BOOKS, RRP $25
Sarah Dewhurst is an ordinary girl living on a struggling American farm in the 1950s, when her dad employs a dragon. Soon she discovers it's not a random event: she's the focus of an ancient dragon prophecy that places her at ground zero for the start of a war that will destroy humankind. And the dragon's not the only one with an agenda - an assassin and the FBI are both rushing to intervene. The local racist Deputy is paying close attention, though that's more about her mixed race parentage and her friendship with a local boy from a Japanese family. The Cold War is at its height, and the world has just discovered the Russians are putting up a spy satellite. Dragons and humans have an uneasy peace, but all that hangs in the balance. When the fiery confrontation comes, it has explosive consequences. Ness, who has won a host of awards for his young adult writing, is best known for the fantastic Chaos Walking trilogy. He says this is a stand-alone book at this stage, though I'm expecting a series.
VERDICT: FAST AND FURIOUS
reviewed by Corinna Hente
Originally published as Five new release books to get you through winter