Tagcrime fiction

The Origin of Evil – film review

Palace Electric Canberra
From Thursday 19 October 2023
Thriller, French with English subtitles
123 mins, rated MA15+

The Origin of Evil (L’Origine du Mal) was shown in the 2023 Alliance Française French Film Festival. It is billed as ‘wickedly funny’, though we found it to be wickedly clever and not funny at all.

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BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival

State Library of NSW
1-5 November 2023 and live streamed nationally 

 BAD Sydney celebrates Australian crime writing with a program of author panels, entertaining social events, writing workshops, guided walks and the opportunity to pitch to a publisher.

Barbie spoke to BAD Sydney’s Catherine de Peloux Menage
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Susan Duncan– Sleepless in Stringybark Bay

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2023

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.

Susan Duncan talks to Barbie about Sleepless in Stringybark Bay
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Lenny Bartulin – The Unearthed

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2023
Cover design Sandy Cull
Cover photograph Ryan Jorgensen/Alamy

Lenny Bartulin’s luscious, richly poetic prose is so beautiful one feels drenched in the pleasure of words, words perfectly chosen and placed.

Lenny Bartulin talks with Barbie about The Unearthed
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Suzanne Leal – The Watchful Wife

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2023

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.

Barbie talks to Suzanne Leal about The Watchful Wife
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Ali Lowe – The Running Club

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.

Ali Lowe talks to Barbie about The Running Club
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Alison Booth – Bellevue

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.

Barbie speaks to Alison Booth about Bellevue
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Nikki Mottram – Crow’s Nest

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.

Barbie spoke to Nikki Mottram about Crow’s Nest
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Dinuka McKenzie – Taken

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.

Barbie spoke with Dinuka McKenzie about Taken
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Greg Woodland – The Carnival is Over

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.

Barbie talks to Greg Woodland about The Carnival is Over
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Katherine Kovacic – Seven Sisters

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.

Barbie talks to Katherine Kovacic about Seven Sisters
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Felix Francis – Hands Down

A Dick Francis novel
Simon & Schuster, UK, 2022
Design www.nickcastledesign.com
Cover images Getty Stock

One does not need to be a racing devotee to enjoy Hands Down. Neither need one have read the many previous Dick Francis crime stories to immediately comprehend the milieu of this story.

Felix Francis talks to Barbie about Hands Down
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Chris Hammer – The Tilt

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.

Barbie speaks with Chris Hammer about The Tilt
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Kate McCaffrey – Double Lives

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.

Barbie spoke to Kate McCaffrey about Double Lives
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