Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2023 Cover design Luke Causby/Blue Cork Cover photos Alamy
The Seven is a slow burn, a novel that might be described in the jargon as ‘sweeping’, with its historical time crimes and that of the modern day held together by ties of lineage, power, privilege, land and water.
We move into this book in the same way we might make our way into a new community; there is a gradual uncovering of place, of personalities and the way things are done. While this is a crime fiction story with a non-police investigator in the persona of an ex-journalist, it is the picture of personal lives and the connecting embrace of community that first commands our attention.
This is the fourth of Suzanne Leal’s adult novels, and as with previous works it explores complex moral issues. Told in the voice of the female lead Ellen Wells, it begins with a dramatic early morning visit by the police who have come with sexual misconduct allegations against her teacher husband Gordon O’Hanlon.
Hodder & Stoughton, a Hachette UK company, 2023 Cover design unacknowledged Cover photographs Getty Images and Shutterstock
Ali Lowe’s second novel is a wickedly clever commentary on the lure and trappings of wealth. It is a story of secrets and lies – as indeed all crime stories are. And in the end this is a crime story, although our attention is taken up for most of the book by both the peccadilloes and the direst flaws of the author’s cast of characters.
Red Door (Ember Press UK), 2023 Cover design by Clare Connie Shepherd)
Alison Booth’s Bellevue is at once a personal and domestic drama and an incisive social commentary on its temporal and geographical settings, the New South Wales Blue Mountains in the 1970s. It is a mystery, a crime novel of sorts, a story of loss and the finding of renewed hope and happiness through community connection.
University of Queensland Press, Australia, 2023 Cover Design by Christabella Designs Cover photograph by Terry Cooke, AusStock Photo/Shutterstock
In this debut crime fiction novel Nikki Mottram delivers a refreshing and interesting point of view, not just on the nature of crime but also in the persona of her main investigator, child protection worker Dana Gibson.
Harper Collins, Australia, 2023 Cover design by Louis Maggio Design Cover image Maria Petkova/Arcangel
Taken is the sequel to The Torrent, but, as with all good series, it is not essential to have read the first to fall immediately into this story and its people. This is a book with motherhood at its heart and most of its cunningly intertwined strands come back to this in the end.
Text Publishing, Australia, 2022 Cover design by Imogen Stubbs Cover images by Frank Tokluoğlu/Pexels and Shutterstock
You need not have read the first in this series, The Night Whistler, to make sense of The Carnival is Over, but if, like me, you have become rather fond of some of Greg’s book people, you will want to check on the back stories and what led them to their current dilemmas.
Harper Collins, Australia, 2023 Cover design by HarperCollins Design Studio
This is a book about the disjunct between law, our society and justice for the victims of domestic crimes. Its title points to the central injustice, the ancient stories of the seven sisters fleeing the unwanted attentions of an aggressive male.
Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2022 Cover design Luke Causby/Blue Cork Cover photograph Denham/Adobe Stock
Chris Hammer’s fifth crime novel is a satisfyingly complex work with three points of view and three timeframes, which eventually converge. It’s pacy, character rich and delivers the immediacy of the contemporary as well as the interesting detail of the historical worlds.
Echo Publishing, Australia, 2022 Cover design by Lisa White
This cleverly constructed novel is narrated in the first person by its main character, ambitious young radio journalist Amy Rhinehart, the plot also advancing via the transcripts of interviews for her true crime podcast Strange Crime.