Don’t be deceived by the title…this is not a guide to playing cricket.
To quote Serong (from an interview with crime writer Sandi Wallace) http://bit.ly/2dh0gJp … “It’s a story told in the first person by a guy locked in a car boot, and headed for his own execution.”
From the first passage on the first page, I was drawn into this narrative as into no other. I love a good crime story, yet the structure of this is unusual for the genre. It is a fictional biography of Darren Keefe as he relates his cricket playing years with Walter, who rises to the top. It’s the tale of him becoming embroiled in a match-fixing scandal as he follows his more talented elder brother through the ranks to national representative level.
Entertaining, and a fascinating insight into the workings of the manipulation of players for match-fixing or side gambling. Darren’s fall from grace after a match accident (look for Squiggly) is secondary to his seeming naïvety when choosing friends and what he tells. But he’s content to see Walter rise through the player ranks, remembering how everything they each know about playing they learned together playing in their childhood back yard.
Then, things go seriously wrong, and the finale is awesomely disturbing. I mean, seriously unsettling, disturbing, uncomfortable, and not for the queasy. I loved it.
Published 2016 by
Australian Paperback (288 pages): 9781925355215
UK Paperback: 9781911231035
Serong’s first novel, Quota, published 2014 by Text Publishing Co., 2014, (earning the Ned Kelly Award), drew on his career as a criminal barrister. He’s since written a screenplay The Ship Thieves, and is now working on his third novel with a working title Lassitude.
A piece of tagging, appearing any and everywhere among the streets of Paris, seems innocuous enough…its meaning obtuse, but not overtly offensive; more a puzzle, really, or a code, with no meaning – yet.
Not exactly a top priority for either the Paris La Crim force or the Private Paris agency.
Jack Morgan arrives in Paris from Berlin, but what was a routine office visit becomes a case involving a girl kidnapped or missing, who may or may not want to be found. Rescued yes, but not detained.
While tracing Kimberley, Jack discovers Paris’s hidden world of crime, murder, cultural clashes, arms trading – all among the idolatry of its cultural icons of the arts, fashion and culinary expertise. The missing girl’s case becomes secondary to a world of pseudo terrorism, and Kimberley is pivotal to both.
There are many characters for the reader to keep track of as they come and go, but the plot easily meshes together all the elements of a conspiracy undreamed of. This is the eleventh of the Private series, another I’ll have to pick up on at number one, and was written with Mark Sullivan.
Publishing in 2016 by Century, for Penguin Random House
In this mystery cum crime novel, Karjel takes us back and forth between 2004 December in Thailand and 2008 in the US. Ernst Grip serves as security for the Swedish Security Police, but occasionally is called back to his former role as an agent. This time his boss sends him for the Swedish Foreign Ministry to work with the Justice Department of the US about a crime committed in Topeka .
Before the latest assignment, he worked with five people who met after the Tsunami of 2004 in Thailand. This group carries a grudge against the loud-speaking leader of a conservative church, and Grip assists them in taking revenge for his outrageous public derogatory spume against the tsunami victims.
His current assignment takes him to the US, then to a remote secure island in the Indian Ocean, under the “management” of an FBI agent. His task is to try and confirm whether a captive of the US security is a fellow Swede. The captive will not speak, but Grip manages to break through and learns enough of his background and suffering to put together the full picture.
Grip’s own risky position is resolved, but only in the final chapter do we realise the disturbing link between them all.
Karjel uses time swapping to good effect. We gather the bits and pieces of the mystery as each part of the twisted plot is revealed. His dialogue reflects the thought processes of the characters, conveying their urgency, their doubts, their dreams. And we, the reader, become intent on sorting out the tangled threads that form a tight knot. And when the final end of the last thread is pulled out–what is on the end we probably will not have seen coming.
Karjel original published this as De Redan Döda in 2010. This translation (by Nancy Pick) has been released in June 2015.
There’s a right mix of personalities among the crew and passenger list on a cruise ship such as the Beautiful Dreamer – along with the usual “beautiful people”, boozers and habitual cruisers are two women planning a double suicide, an addicted ship’s doctor, a couple in which the wife is a player, a murderer, a cheesy cruise director, and a “mystic” whose charismatic appeal to fans seeking messages from “the other side” is the central focus.
What could go wrong? Nothing – for the first three days.
We follow individual characters, passenger or crew, as they move about the ship, coping with the sudden shut-down of the cruiser. No Wifi, no radio, no contact with the rest of the world. No power to the engines. No working sewerage system. No power in the kitchens for cooking or keeping food fresh.
A virus breaks out, disabling more and more as it rampages among those on board – except for the mystic – Celine del Rey – and her followers. Her personal assistant, Maddie, has her loyalty stretched as Celine affects more and more passengers. A blogger intent on exposing her as a fraud creates in Maddie questions about her loyalty to Celine.
A body is found, assumed choked to death on her own vomit. Although a crewman reviewing security footage spots the vague figure of a man leaving her cabin, he cannot convince senior crew to follow up. The cruise company has a history of unusual events, and of covering them up.
As the virus spreads, and living conditions worse, there comes the inevitable disastrous storm. The cruiser, with no power and adrift without communication is tossed in the storm, and the crew panic and abandon ship. Passengers also abandon ship, but none are ever recovered.
Why did the ship shut down? What happened to those who abandoned ship? What happened when the ship, restored to working order, nears land. What has happened in the city during what seems to be months of decay or worse?
And what happens to the few who stay on board, after the cruiser takes Celine and her followers to an island she reassures them will be a safe haven from the disaster on shore, and are finally rescued and taken off the ship?
“Transcript extracts” of interviews with these last remaining people raise more questions for the reader than provide explanations. Warning: the closing chapter is an even more unsettling closure of this supernatural thriller.
Oh, Ms Holman – let this be the first of such a series, puh-lease? I have not enjoyed such a story before, and I want more like it.
The way you have used your research of historic events and created a parallel history, also a crime story, also a warm romance, to create this thoroughly and beautifully crafted story, has resulted in a thought-provoking and enjoyable read.
Your characters are so well developed and believable, the plot twists so unexpected, the subtle intertwining of the two New Zealand cultures of the day so empathetic – it is almost a shock to read in the Preface and the Postscript the true historic facts which form the foundation on which this story is constructed.
I am writing this after my first read. And after I have posted this to the distributors, I am going to read it again, while I await a possible follow-up. Thank you for this wonderful work!
A HISTORY OF CRIME – The Southern Double-Cross is available in paperback from:
Dinah Holman, nationally known as a heritage planning consultant, historian and biographer, who has prepared inventories of historic buildings throughout New Zealand, earned the QSO for Public Service to Heritage in 1987 and the N.Z. Planning Institute Distinguished Service Award in 1992.
She has an M.A. (English Hons) and a Diploma in Town Planning. Her previous books, all non-fiction are:
·Newmarket Lost and Found (2001 and 2010), which received Highly Commended in the J.M. Sherrin Awards in 2001;
·Fairburn and Friends (2004);
·Bloody Marvellous, a memoir of George Haydn, (2006)
This 216 page novel counts down the twelve hours to a potential metropolitan disaster, as John Graves, working with Decker of Special Projects Division and Venn of Bell Labs, frantically attempts to use his close knowledge of mad man Wright to prevent the timed release of a binary nerve gas into the air of Los Angeles.
The technology dates the tale – no microcomputers in the general population, and those used by large departments all text-based (no Windows in ’72!) – but it moves at a good pace. It’s a chemical or physics student’s dream, made readily understandable by Crichton’s attention to explanatory passages which read easily.
Lots of “red herrings” to be followed, errors of judgement to foul up proceedings – as the clock counts down.
And all aspects of the intended crime feasible – which makes it scary when the reader realizes “precautions” today still could allow it to happen.
A lovely light read, easily digestible. The front cover illustration bears no relation to any part of the plot – a typical men’s novel from the era of first publication.
a Hard Case Crime novel published by Titan Books
(c) 1972, renewed 2000 ISBN paperback 978-1-78329-125-0A
Available in New Zealand from Booksellers NZ outlets.
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If asked to produce a televisions documentary on the 1981 Springbok tour of New Zealand, how would you go about putting a new spin on it when it’s been hashed and rehashed in news media so many times?
That’s a quandary faced by Rebecca Thorne, television journalist, in a gripping story of sleuthing, old case files, stalking and personal danger, as she strives to find not only a ‘new angle’ but once found, to follow it up and learn how it was resolved.
Paddy Richardson puts us in Rebecca’s place, and we follow the leads, interview the relevant parties to the acts of rebellion and hostility during the tour, read police interview files from the time, and meet some of the families and people who took part in the tour protests (or in the police Squads).
This was a thoroughly enjoyable, “not putting it down till I’ve finished” read. Richardson’s intriguing plot line allows her to use the technique of slipping “old files” into the current story linesmoothly and realistically; no sense of a producer calling “cut” between takes old and new. And the “old files” are so realistically like a police report they are utterly believable.
Her unique twist on an historical event is conveyed in such a believable style I’ve caught myself Wiki’ing the tour and the police squads and protests. She has sparked something – I have a question I can’t mention here as it would be a spoiler if I did. And this is one book I’d suggest parents bought for their offspring too young to have been aware of how that tour affected New Zealand. It’s fiction, sure – but Richardson provides real food for thought better than any History teacher ever could!
I don’t usually “rate” with my reviews, but for Cross Fingers I will – 10 out of 10, for readability, for a well-told twist of crime vis á vis community, for writing a crime story in a unique style.
2013, Auckland, Hatchette New Zealand ISBN: 978-1-86971-307-2
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